My first grandfather, Eugen Stein, was born in 1913. He was head stable master, horse trainer and soldier. He died in 1944 in the Ukraine when my grandmother was only 26 years old, my father was 4 and my aunt Helga was 7. My grandmother eventually re-married. My second grandfather, Walter Krumnow, was a journalist and editor at the Stuttgart newspaper. She only met him because she felt obligated to go to a blind date that her friend did not want to attend.
My grandma “Oma Ludwigsburg” was a very creative and gifted woman. She was a talented cook, artist and wonderful seamstress. She had such a captivating laugh. She invented this Christmas roast for our family and grandpa Krumnow named it. I used to love my grandmother’s stories about her life. She was an amazing storyteller. She told me that one Christmas, when she could not get a Christmas goose, my grandfather came into the kitchen drawn by the wonderful smell wafting through the house and quizzed her about what was in the oven. She explained her creation and he announced that to him it did look like a goose - hence the name “Schweinegans” which means “pigs-goose”.
It was amazing! Since then, Oma Ludwigsburg made a Schweinegans for my family every year on the 2nd day of Christmas, until it became too much work for her. My aunt Helga took over her role and has made it ever since. And I have been missing out...
about 4 pound piece of pork belly with the skin
3 pounds of ground meat (I use 2 pounds beef and 1 pound pork)
3 cups of dried bread cut into cubes
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups of homemade or low sodium stock
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
I made my first Schweinegans this year and it turned out beautifully. This is one of my grandma’s many recipes that was never written down. My grandma always just made it. And then my aunt made it. I was most concerned about cooking time. I ended up calculating 20 minutes per pound and that worked out perfectly.
To make the filling: Soak the dried bread in water for about 10 minutes. Finely dice one of the onions. Wash the parsley and mince. Sautee the onion together with the parsley in a little olive oil or Schmalz.
Squeeze as much water out of the soaked bread as possible. Combine the ground meat, egg, parsley and onion, bread, salt and pepper. I always fry a small amount of the meat to check if my seasoning is correct.
To prepare the roast: Use a very sharp knife to cut a pocket into the pork belly. Try to cut it as close to the edge as possible. Score the skin of the pork belly in a diamond pattern. Rub coarse salt all over the inside of the pork belly pocket.
Stuff the filling into the pork belly pocket. Do not overstuff! Use a cotton kitchen twine to sew the pork belly pocket shut. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the roast.
Set your oven rack to its lowest position and preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC). Coarsely chop 2 onions and place them into the bottom of a roasting pan. Peel and cube a carrot and add it to the roasting pan as well as the tomato paste and one cup of stock.
Roast for 2.5 hours (for a 7 pound roast), basting with stock every 30 minutes or so. Watch the pan drippings. If the roasting pan seams dry, add some more stock.
The final internal temperature should be 160ºF (70ºC). Pull the roast out of the oven when the temperature has reached 150ºF (65ºC) and rest it for 10 minutes before carving. The temperature will continue to rise to 160ºF during the resting period.
Place the roast on a carving board to rest. Deglaze the roasting pan with a bit of hot water. Strain the pan drippings through a fine mesh sieve into a stock pot. Mash the solids through the sieve a bit to give the sauce a little more body. Bring the sauce to a simmer and season with salt to taste.