Most people don’t know where their Easter ham or Easter lambs come from – they just order the meat from the butcher or pick it up already packaged at the grocery store. If you go that route, at least go to Whole Foods or the local co-op. At Whole Foods they sell a boneless natural ham a person can feel good about. Bloggers on the food-review website Chowhound voted Beeler’s brand a best bet.
Roast Suckling Pig for Easter
Go down the road less traveled with a lechon, or Latin American roast suckling pig. Friends and family who’ve been waiting at the Easter table for a traditional ham or lamb to come out of the kitchen momentarily will be agape. The roasted fresh ham requires presentation and showmanship. Bring it out whole on a platter and no one will ask what it is and where it came from.
Serving A Whole Pig
Lechon is so obviously a small pig, the whole animal – from snout to trotters – and it came first and foremost from a farm. It’s how food has been served for hundreds of years. It’s spectacularly back to basics, great for a Latin American-style holiday fiesta. Many Spanish immigrants pine for the lechon of their home countries around the holidays.
Holiday Feast for Carnivores
Roast sucking pig is not for the family’s vegans or vegetarians. Obviously, this is a meal for meat eaters and the people who love them.
Where to Buy A Whole Pig
If your neighborhood Whole Foods is a large one, it’s possible to order an Easter lechon from the butcher there. Other options for where to buy a whole pig include:
- Amish markets
- Nearby livestock farms, check your state’s listing for community-supported agriculture (CSA’s) for meat and eggs
- Lucky enough to live in a neighborhood with a big Cuban, Brazilian or Latin-American population? Cruise the local markets for excellent butcher shops, sometimes specializing in lechon, which is traditional for fiestas.
How To Cook Lechon
A tried and true method of brining and roasting a suckling pig can be found in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. More traditional Latin-American lechon recipes can be found online at The Food Network.
Whichever method you choose, with whichever spices (lots of garlic is a definite) you choose, this Easter dinner will be different from all the ones that have come before. Invite the neighbors, parade the lechon through the house, and revel in the delicious taste of fresh roasted Easter ham. Leftovers? There won’t be any.