A fried pig’s head surrounded by a sausage and potato display.|
- 1 seasoned, clay-fried pig head
- 3 or 4 lengths of sausage (bovine meat ideal)
- 4 to 8 pounds of roasted potatoes
The Stubborn Paeg is a culinary creation of the ancient Ailor inhabitants of what is now Gallovia, and one of the few regional dishes to see proliferation outside of the borders of the Cultures which make up the remains of the Ceardian identity. As Regalian chefs catering to the upper classes of agricultural regions start to more readily look across the borders of the Regalian Empire for culinary inspiration, the Stubborn Paeg has been adopted as a dish for its high visual impact. Thus, while the Stubborn Peag remains a common sight at the grand feast tables of Gallovian aristocracy, it also appears with increasing frequency at the banquets of other-cultured nobility.
To the surprise of most outsiders, the Stubborn Paeg dish is not as young as many assume it is. What they do not realize is that the dish has morphed over time from a much similar origin point into including later key components that make up its presentation. The dish has an origin myth, though its general structure and lack of names has meant it is largely disbelieved by others, and even some among the Dunbrae. They claim that centuries ago, among their ancestors, a powerful chieftain came upon a pig during a visitation to a farm in his village holdings. Upon entering the animal pen, most of the nearby herds moved away, but one pig did not; it charged him, to comical effect. The chief, in a jovial manner, admired its spirit and was inspired to honor the pig at an upcoming banquet. He thus ordered it presented as the centerpiece of a harvest meal, which it was, giving the dish its name: stubborn pig, or “paeg” in the regional dialects. Many believe the reality is that the Stubborn Paeg began as a great display of a chief’s power and wealth. As the centuries wore on, however, the Caeren oddly dropped the tradition around the time they and the Dunbrae divided. Why is not exactly clear but, from that point on, the dish has been iterated with exported ingredients ever since into a much more lavish, albeit crowded, dish served at festivals and parties given its nature as a communal dish, but only within Dunbrae lands. Today, the dish remains local to the Dunbrae, rejected by the Caeren, but it has spread to other areas like Anglia, resulting in its popularity outside of its homeland to remain steady but positive.
The Stubborn Paeg, despite the simplicity of its concept, is a surprisingly difficult dish to create - the deceptive intricacy of its preparation has often blindsided unprepared chefs. The dish’s central piece is a pig’s head rubbed with the oil of pressed vegetable seeds and seasoned with handfuls of salt and ground pepper rubbed along its surface. However, the cooking method for this head is a Highland method known as Creáith, or “clay kiln,” a culinary technique with a high learning curve. This technique involves coating the pig’s head in gray clay, baking it under a teepee-like wood structure, and digging it out afterward from the remaining wood ash. The clay-baked pig’s head is then cracked out of its prison and laid on a simple design of cooked sausages and roasted potatoes on a large platter. It is then presented for public consumption, each person ideally taking part of the sausages, part of the potatoes, and part of the pig head.
- The Stubborn Paeg is a dish meant to capture attention. At the center of the dish’s platter sits a roasted pig’s head surrounded by tangled spirals of sausage and herb potatoes.
- The dish presents an aroma of mixed meats and baked herbs. When the Stubborn Paeg is cracked open, it releases a rush of scents that fill the feast hall, hence why this is often done mere moments before it is rushed out and presented.
- The components of Stubborn Paeg feature many hardy flavors whose culprits are sure to clog an artery, though there is the added taste of the various seasonings used.
- This dish was the centerpiece of a celebratory victory feast thrown after a successful defensive campaign against a Skagger invasion by a well-traveled Regalian lord. At that feast, two female aristocrats fainted in surprise when the seared pig’s head was presented.
- Deep in the Highland mountains, far from the coast and in the midst of the remaining villages still following the Highland variation of the Old Gods, the head of a Gallovian Geep often replaces the normal fried pig’s head.
HydraLana on 12/11/2021.|
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