This is a splendid way to celebrate any laudable occasion really worth of a feast. Dirty rice is an art form with the proper treatment of the right ingredients. When paired with gospel truth, succulent, young, and tender cochon de lait, you are living large. That said, pork and stewed fruits were very elegantly served together to great effect on our mothers and grandmothers tables during celebration feasts. Our approach merges the three in a plateful of sublime fusion that adds a new dimension to the concept of celebratory food. The following allows instructions for a feast to feed 20; you can scale it down to oven size to feed fewer, or up to feed more.
1 whole small pig, 10 to 25 pounds, cleaned with hide on
Black pepper, ground
Sage, dried and ground
Enough dried pecan, hickory, or white oak hardwood to cook hog
SWEET LITTLE DIRTY RICE
4 cups uncooked Delta Belle or Missimati Fragrant White Rice, or Beulah Land Tan, Medley, or Missimati Fragrant Brown Rice- your preference
5 cups chicken stock, divided
2 cups apple juice, divided
Extra water for rice cooking
3 pounds bulk sausage
1 pound ground beef chuck
2 pounds chicken livers
10 ribs celery, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
2 large yellow onions, chopped
2 bunches scallions, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
¼ cup garlic, minced
½ cup fresh sweet basil, chopped
8 ounces pimento peppers, diced
4 tbsp butter
5 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced in 1 inch thick sections
10 carrots, each cut in 3 sections
1 tsp allspice
Olive oil to coat sweet potatoes and carrots
1 cup yellow raisins
1 ½ cups (8 oz) dried dates
1 cup (5 oz) dried tart cherries
1 ½ cups (9 oz) dried plums
2 apples, peeled and chopped
1 ½ cups pecans, chopped
½ cup sorghum
½ cup brandy
If one were to place all the mechanisms in the South built to cook our beloved BBQ in an 80 acre field, they would undoubtedly have to stack grill on top of grill to make them all fit. A fine grill here is the sign of a very personal marriage between man and meat, and the grill is the ring. Everyone’s is unique. I have a few, but my favored default grill is a version of a large scale water smoker built with firebrick and stone. On its bottom is a fire-pit fed with fine dried hardwood and calibrated oxygen, in the middle is a stainless pan of water that slowly emits steam, and on top are racks for the meat. It feeds multitudes, and yours surely does as well.
In a large fire pit, smoker, or other favored outdoor cooking contraption, light a few sticks of the hardwood and allow to burn down to some coals. Prepare the meat by lightly applying cooking oil to the meat inside and out (helps seasoning adhere better to the hide), and then sprinkle the cayenne, salt, sage, and black pepper to your degree of deliberation. Wrap hooves, ears, and snout with foil to prevent burning or overcooking in case temperature get too hot. Spread hind-quarters apart and flat on the grill rack; fore-quarters shall be fixed so that they slightly prop pig up. If presenting at table with apple or vegetables in mouth, pry open mouth and place stick the size of the desired presentation fruit in mouth. If able, place aluminum pan on rack below pig rack to catch drippings (these can be used with astounding affect in the dirty rice recipe). Cook the pig slowly at temperatures between 225 and 275 degrees Fahrenheit. A couple hours before perceived finish time, douse pig with apple juice (this can be repeated) and remove foil. It is finished when it a light tug on the hind quarters has meat to fall off easily, which likely will take 4 to 8 hours depending on pig size and temperature. Remove stick, and place fruit or vegetable in mouth if desired.
Meanwhile…for Sweet Little Dirty Rice
These set of procedures can be effected in about 2 hours, so plan ahead to time with the pig’s finish.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In large Dutch oven, bring 4 cups chicken stock to boil. Cook chicken livers in boiling broth for 15 minutes. Remove, finely chop, and set aside.
Measure chicken stock remaining from #2-the liver cooking procedure (some stock will have evaporated). Add water to make up the difference between 6 cups and the measured stock, and add one cup apple juice. The sum of stock, water, and apple juice shall be 7 cups. Bring to boil and add 4 cups rice, cooking 15 minutes for white rice or 35 minutes for brown rice according to your preference of doneness. When finished, set aside.
Lightly coat sweet potatoes and carrots with oil and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle allspice on sweet potatoes. Bake in oven for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove and set aside.
Leave oven on to bake rice blend.
In large stockpot, brown sausage and ground chuck. Drain in separate vessel and set aside.
In medium sized microwaveable bowl, heat sorghum and brandy until just to boiling point. To this add the raisins, dates, cherries, and plums. Mix well, and every few minutes mix again. If fruit completely cools, microwave the lot for 3 minutes to reheat. The warm fruit will imbibe the liquid. After 15 minutes add apples, mix, and reheat for 3 minutes. Set aside.
If applicable, check for drippings in pan placed below pig. Harvest this for use in next step.
In large stockpot, melt butter, then lightly brown garlic. Add celery, onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño and sauté until onions slightly translucent. Add sweet basil, scallions, and pimentos, blend well. To this, add the browned sausage, ground beef, chopped livers and gathered drippings from grilling pig and mix thoroughly. Cook slowly for 10 minutes, then add remaining 1 cup chicken stock and 1 cup apple juice. Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, until liquid is nearly evaporated. This may take an hour.
9) To the large stockpot with vegetables and meats, add the macerated fruits (along with any remaining sorghum/brandy liquid) and blend well. To this, add the rice, pecans and half of the sweet potatoes and half of the carrots and blend well.
10 Transfer the Sweet Dirty Rice blend back to the Dutch oven or to a large baking pan, garnish with remaining carrots and sweet potatoes, cover, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Remove from oven for serving.
Move the cochon de lait to a very large serving platter. Place the Sweet Little Dirty Rice alongside, either depositing it next to the pig or leaving it in the cooking vessel. Commence to pull the hide back from the pig, and remove the well cooked meat from the bones and place alongside the Rice. This is a splendid, unparalleled blend flavors, textures, and delightful display. Bon Appetit!