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Colombia Independence Day is July 20th, and in essence it’s more or less the same as Independence Day in the U.S., or most places, I imagine: lost of food, lots of beer, and an amped-up dose of nationalism. Colombian Independence Day does of course involve music and dancing as well, as all Colombian celebrations do, and instead of doing the typical, weak-sauce American cookout, many people will clean, stuff and roast a whole piglet. (Don’t forget to decorate it afterwards!)
Because I like to spend my free time making life difficult for myself in the kitchen, I’ve spent the past two July 20ths making lechona, a.k.a señor stuffed piglet, seen above, for a Colombian Independence Day party we put on here in Rio de Janeiro for 500 people.
Everybody likes lechona. The pig is stuffed with rice, peas and spices, and it is (unsurprisingly) a very rich, fragrant dish. To serve, the rice is scooped out of the pig and the crispy skin is cut into big squares and served alongside, many peoples’ favorite part. In Colombia, those not up to roasting up a whole piglet themselves can find lechona in restaurants that will advertise it as a specialty—nobody just kind of casually whips up lechona, so it’s a pretty special special-of-the-day.
I won’t tell you how to make industrial quantities of lechona, though, as I assume you are saner than I. I can, however, highly recommend this more doable recipe by Erica over at My Colombian Recipes if you’d like to try it out for yourself.
So next time you’re thinking about special occasion dishes, consider the lechona. My only suggestion: make sure you have some heavy duty kitchen shears for the skin, because crispy, crackly, occasionally chewy deliciousness will annihilate that random pair of scissors you had lying around the house. Not that I would know from personal experience or anything like that…