Food Culture, Recipes, Traditional Food

Roast Baby Pork (Lechón), the Food of Todos Santos

Lechón, Special Dish of Todos Santos (Photo: Walter Coraza M.)

One of the traditional feasts of Cuzco is the day of Todos Santos, the 1st of November and the 2nd. People celebrate those who remain in this earthly world, as well as the departed. They go to the cemeteries to visit the dead, living them abundant chicha and beer, as well as placing on their tombs food, fruit, and all that they enjoyed in life.

One of the traditions that is lived during these days every year is to enjoy a lechón (roast pork). This is a typical dish that is served in the company of two tamales. The two are of different flavors; the one is sweet and the other salty. They also include the delicious moraya ( a white, freeze dried potato), and bread.

In order to prepare this dish you need various condiments. These include garlic, cumin, pepper, red aji, salt, and onion.

Tamales Ready to Enjoy (Photo: Walter Coraza M.)
Tamales Ready to Eat (Photo: Walter Coraza M.)

The most important thing, however, is to buy pork from a young pig. You want one that weighs some 3-15 kilos. Pork is best when the animal has recently passed from the state of being a baby. When the animal is older the meat is tougher. As a result, in order to prepare a delicious lechón you need a baby pig, a piglet, with the proper weight.

You mix all the condiments and Spreads them over the whole surface of the pig. Before this, you poke some holes in the arms and legs of the animal into which you introduce the seasoning paste, as well as onion bulbs that have been halved.

Next you squeeze the juice of several limes and Spreads it over the skin on the back of the piglet so that it will have a delicious flavor.

Lechón for Sale (Photo: Walter Coraza M.)
Lechón for Sale (Photo: Walter Coraza M.)

Then you leave the entire animal to rest with the seasoning in place for a whole day. Now it is Ready to enter into the oven.

On the main day of this feast, our caseras (vendors) get up early. From the first hours of the morning they take into the streets and markets the typical dish of lechón to offer to Cuzco’s public. In this way they please all the palates of Cuzqueños who pass by their stands.

Many of Cuzco’s families make the same preparations in their homes in order to spend a special day with their loved ones and enjoy a delicious lechón.

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