Roasted Suckling Pig at Home: the Easiest Recipe
Roasted suckling pig: flavor, rusticity and tradition. These are the three traits that define one of the world's most popular Spanish recipes. Every year, thousands of foreign tourists go on the hunt for a good restaurant in Spain in which enjoy this dish – where the quality of the raw materials is the undisputed star. A Spanish company has now managed to bring this gastronomic experience within reach of foodies all over the globe. Its name is Tabladillo, and it sells vacuum-sealed roasted suckling pig that needs only to be put in an oven in any kitchen in New York, Shanghai or London.
Text: Rodrigo García Fernández / ©ICEX
"Al horno y punto” (put in the oven and serve). It's just that simple. That's the only thing consumers that acquire this delicious Spanish product in specialty shops have to do. This is only one of the innovations to come from Tabladillo, a company located in the gastronomic mecca of roasted suckling pig: Segovia (Castile-León). The package contains a hermetically sealed bag with a perfectly seasoned, fresh suckling pig quarter inside. Three steps is all it takes to turn this item into a delicious meal: preheat the oven to 200ºC /400ºF and place the bag on the rack inside, cook for two hours and then carefully remove the piece of meat from the bag. Strain the juice and serve. The resulting dish is worthy of any traditional asador, or roasting house.
Roasted suckling pig and nothing more
This Segovian company has spent more than five decades exclusively dedicated to making roasted suckling pig. They raise, slaughter and select the best pieces themselves, and prepare everything in the company's own facilities. Tabladillo uses an innovative traceability system to monitor and control all the preparation stages used for its products.
David de María, the director of operations and the third generation of this family company, explains that what sets his product apart is mainly the outstanding quality of the meat: "The optimum age of the suckling pig is 21 days and its ideal weight is from 4-5.5 kilograms (around 9-12 pounds), the exact moment when the animal has still not acquired a lot of fat, meaning that it maintains excellent nutritional values. At Tabladillo, the suckling pigs are only fed their mothers' milk for the duration of the 21 days, and they are not injected with any type of hormones or medications. Additionally, the breeder pigs are also given completely natural feed with a special and exclusive composition made by our veterinary team," he remarks.
Tabladillo has traditionally been dedicated to the distribution of top quality cochinillo from Segovia to the Spanish restaurant and hotel industry. But over the past few years, it has doubled down on its efforts to earn more of a starring role with consumers themselves and in international markets.
In an interview with Foods & Wines from Spain, David de María points out that, in this sense, Tabladillo's products are already present in more than 20 countries, most notably Italy, Portugal, France, Lithuania, Malta, Germany, England, Ireland, Denmark, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Japan, the Dominican Republic and Angola. The goal for the coming year is to introduce our products into Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Canada and some Asian countries, including Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam."
Innovation, a keyword for Tabladillo
Among Tabladillo's most notable, immediate plans is the opening of a new facility exclusively dedicated to the production of merchandise destined for third countries that have special regulations for meat products. This is a necessary element in Tabladillo's export strategy. The company has also proposed increasing its total production by 60% over the next 5 years.
David de María adds, "we are working hard to develop new freezing processes. The goal is to be able to package and freeze the merchandise on the day of slaughter, thereby allowing us to offer our clients a superior quality product and a longer shelf life. These innovations will allow us to expand from 2,000 to 10,000 suckling pigs a day."
International recognition quickly found this company. In 2017, the prestigious "Great Taste Awards", created and organized by the Guild of Fine Food in the United Kingdom, gave two stars to Tabladillo's most innovative product, the “Al horno y punto” roasted suckling pig. The same year, this product received another international recognition in the form of a "Superior Taste Award" – an annual competition organized by the International Taste & Quality Institute – thanks to the 93.8% score it received from the members of the jury, who represent the most prestigious culinary institutions in Europe.
And of course this interview with David de María could not end without asking him what wine he would drink with roasted suckling pig from Segovia. His response was a surprising departure from the traditional wine pairing of a crianza red wine: "At Tabladillo we recommend a white wine from here, Segovia, the same place where we make our famous roasted suckling pig. A good option would be a white Verdejo wine from Rueda, which has a crisp acidity that enhances the flavor of the suckling pig, without masking its delicate flavor." We can't wait to try it!
Translation by Adrienne Smith /@ICEX.