Apple and Squash Stuffing, made the day before or dressing of your choice
- Put the rack in the lowest level of the oven; preheat the oven to 450°. Generously oil the roasting pan.
- Place the thawed pig in the sink and check it all over for any remaining bristles or hairs. Shave or singe them off. Rinse the pig very well inside and out and pat it thoroughly dry with paper towels. Move the pig to a clean, large work surface. If you want to stuff the pig, stuff it loosely, then truss with kitchen twine or skewers, about 2 inches apart. If not stuffing, liberally season the inside with salt and pepper.
- Skewer the legs (and ears) into position and place the pig in the roasting pan, with the front legs pulled forward and the hind legs in a crouching position. With a very sharp knife, make slashes just through the skin on either side of the backbone. (This prevents the skin from swelling and cracking while cooking.) Put a small block of wood or a ball of aluminum foil in the mouth to hold it open. (Use a screwdriver to help hold the mouth open to get the ball in there.)
- Rub ½ cup olive oil all over the pig, and sprinkle the skin with 2 tablespoons salt and 1 tablespoon pepper. If the pig wants to lean, prop it up with balls of aluminum foil (so it will brown evenly). Cover the ears and tail with foil. Place the pig in the oven, uncovered. Roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350° and pour 3 cups white wine into the pan. Baste the pig all over with the remaining ½ cup olive oil. w Roast until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the rump reads 150° to 155°, which should take about 3 or 4 more hours. Place the pig on a platter and let it stand for 30 to 60 minutes.
- Pour the juices into a large pot, skimming off the fat. Over medium-high heat, add 2 cups chicken broth and bring to a boil. You can serve the juice as is, or make a gravy by adding ¼ cup cornstarch that has been dissolved in 3 tablespoon cold water. Whisk in the dissolved cornstarch and bring to a boil to thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove the foil from the pig’s mouth, ears and tail. Gently roll the pig on its side and remove the string or skewer trusses (spooning stuffing into a separate dish makes for easier serving). Put it back upright and place an apple in its mouth and grapes in the eye sockets. Garnish the platter with sprigs of herbs.
Adapted from Joy of Cooking