This week and next, we'll be featuring the holiday food traditions of L.A. chefs. Today, Canelé's Corina Weibel tells us about her holiday pig roast.
"We have a couple of different holiday traditions. I guess it depends on our mood. Us being the flock of orphans that find ourselves in L.A. with little immediate family, although relatives are welcome and are often involved. But always a motley and ever changing crew.
"We roast a whole pig in La Caja China. Once you get the pig it's a no brainer. The Caja China cooks the pig with very little involvement from ourselves. The hardest part is procuring a juicy young pig (not too hard if you know a farmer). Once we get the pig we marinate it over night in a cooler, between trash bags full of ice. We make the marinade of things that we love ... garlic, fennel seed, fennel fronds, orange zest, lemon lest, garlic, thyme, parsley, chili. We rub that into the pig ... really we massage it into the pig. It smells good.
"The day of the event, in the morning, but not too early, say around 9:30 or 10 a.m., we get the pig into the box. Then we follow the directions on the side of the box. Truly a no-brainer, just keep the coals burning on top of the box ... by 4-ish a golden, succulent pig with crackling and juices is ready to carve. It falls off the bone ...
"Oh, and perhaps an hour before the pig is ready, we get out the big paella pan, put it on the coals and sauté some cavolo or kales with garlic and chili, and then mix them with some beans that we cooked the day before. Everybody brings something. It's a party ...
"Sometimes we just build a big fire outside and make paella over the embers all night long. Drink is taken, but that's another story. If we are really lucky Justine will turn up and dance flamenco by the fire. olé! it's a party ..."