A fried pig’s head surrounded by a sausage and potato display|
- Seasoned, clay-fried pig head
- 4 long cow liver sausage links
- A few pinches of rosemary and thyme
The Stubborn Paeg is a culinary masterpiece of Highland Ceardian culture and one of the few regional dishes to see significant proliferation outside of the borders of Gallovia. It integrates Gallovian animal husbandry culture and wild forage to create a stunning edible display. It is as much a witty art piece as it is a meal, and its genesis can be found in Gallovian folk-lore. As Regalian chefs catering to upper classes have begun to more readily look to the Regalian Empire’s provinces for culinary inspiration, the Stubborn Paeg has been adopted as a dish of high visual impact. Thus, while the Stubborn Peag remains a common sight at the grand feast-tables of Gallovian aristocracy, it also appears increasingly commonly at the legendary banquets of the Regalian Imperial peerage.
The Stubborn Paeg’s origin story is heavily rooted in Gallovian mythos. According to this simple myth, a powerful Gallovian Ceann came upon a pig during visitation to a home in his village holdings. Upon entering the home, most of the nearby herds cowered away - one pig, however, charged him instantly, to comical effect. The Ceann, in the jovial manner of the Gallovians, admired its spirit and was inspired to honor the pig at an upcoming banquet. He ordered it presented as the centerpiece of a harvest meal. Hence the dish’s namesake: the stubborn pig, or “paeg” in the Gallovian Common dialect. In reality, the Stubborn Paeg began as a great display by the chef of a particularly powerful Gallovian noble looking to impress an eligible visiting dowager. The chef was commissioned to develop a meal whose preparation featured techniques both traditional and visually appealing. He settled clay kiln cooking, where the final product was shattered at the table as a creative method of presentation. It was such an impressive display that it was then copied by rival Ceanns seeking to outdo their political opponents, and continued to proliferate through the high social circles of Gallovia rapidly.
The Stubborn Paeg today remains pure Highland Ceardian culture, and its earthy and gamey flavors are reminiscent of life in the highland steppes. It is a common sight at the tables of Gallovia’s village Ceanns, as well as the ritual meal taken by competitors before Lecgaen wrestling tournaments. The cooking technique presents a surprisingly high level of difficulty, and the tips and tricks of the culinary technique are orally passed through family tradition and the high-impact Gallovian chefs catering to wealthy clientele. It was first proliferated to the Regalian Empire after Regalian contact and has been imported as an impressive highlight of the feasts of Regalian aristocracy featuring “exotic” food platters.
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 the chefs of the Regalian Empire’s aristocrats. The dish requires a pig’s head rubbed with the oil of pressed vegetable seeds and seasoned with handfuls of salt and ground pepper. However, the Stubborn Paeg also features a Gallovian cooking 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 highland 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 surrounded by intricate designs of sausage and roasted potatoes on a large platter and presented by cracking the clay with a hammer-blow.
- 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. Its visual novelty comes from the clay cracking technique used in its presentation at the start of a feast.
- The dish presents an aroma of mixed meats and baked herbs - at the beginning of the meal, when the main piece of the dish is shattered open, the Stubborn Paeg releases a rush of scents that fill the feast-hall.
- The components of the Stubborn Paeg feature the hearty flavors of roasted meat, sweet liver sausage, and bitter potatoes. Additionally, the combination of baked clay, oil, and spices grants the pig an earthy, savory flavor that is far richer and more complex than normal pork.
- In the Regalian Empire, the traditional “liver sausage” featured in the Gallovian dish is often considered to be too “dirty” for upper and even some middle-class people. As a result, it is frequently replaced with more expensive cuts of sausage.
- 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 clay casing was cracked to reveal a seared pig’s head.
- Deep in the Gallovian mountains, far from the coast and in the midst of the few remaining villages still following the Oldt Fayth, the head of a Gallovian Geep often replaces the normal fried pig’s head.
HydraLana on 09/23/2018.|
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