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Theodore Roosevelt’s Roast Suckling Pig

Theodore Roosevelt’s suckling pig

  • 1 suckling pig, about 3 weeks old, cleaned and prepared by butcher (about 10 to 12 pounds, dressed, is the best size)
  • 6 cups or more, dried bread crumbs
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sage
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium-sized onion, minced
  • 1 tart apple, peeled and grated
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1 carrot or lemon or apple, to put in mouth
  • cranberries
  • watercress
  • red cinnamon apples or spiced crabapples

For the stuffing, simmer heart and liver together with seasoning in 2 cups water, until tender. Chop fine. Sauté onion in some of the butter. Grate apple. Mix chopped heart and liver with crumbs, seasoning, apple, and onion, and moisten with stock. Fill pig with stuffing being careful not to overfill, as it will split. Sew opening together.

Insert a small block of wood in mouth to hold it open. Lower the eyelids and fasten shut. (The butcher should have removed eyeballs.) Skewer legs firmly in place, the forelegs forward and the hindlegs in a crouching position. Rub whole pig well with melted butter, dredge with flour, salt, and pepper. Cover ears and tail with foil, to prevent burning.

Place roast on rack in uncovered oven in 450°F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325°F and roast until tender, allowing 30 minutes to the pound. Baste every 15 minutes with drippings, do not use water. For the final 15 minutes, remove foil from ears and tail.

Place roasted pig on a large platter or board. Place cranberries in eyes, a carrot or lemon or apple in mouth. Drape a garland of cranberries around the neck. Garnish platter or board with bed of watercress and/or parsley and red cinnamon apples or spiced crabapples.

-- The First Ladies Cookbook (New York: GMG Publishing, 1982), 166.