Lechon de Leche with Black Truffles a la Marketman!


Superb! An experiment with wonderful results! The finest and thinnest crispy lechon skin with the aroma and crunch of truffled salt. The ribs redolent with flavor and so incredibly juicy. Sweetness and pungency from slowly roasted garlic; truffle puree coating all of the stuffing items and walls of the pig’s cavity. The meat was well-seasoned and aromatic. An unusual variation on lechon that is probably going to become a MM household favorite. The idea started when I found a bag of fresh cranberries at the newly opened S&R Cebu in the reclamation area. I bought it and some oranges with the intention of making cranberry sauce/compote. Then I thought, why not do a version of Thanksgiving dinner where the main course was lechon, but served with cranberry sauce and potatoes…


A roughly 3.5-4.0 kilo cleaned weight lechon de leche was prepared for seasoning. Into the cavity went some garlic, onions, salt, black pepper,thyme, rosemary, olive oil and roughly 4 teaspoons of black truffle puree.


A friend brought back the pureed black truffles in a the small bottle a few months ago from a trip to Rome.


Another friend sent the truffle salt over. And we had some truffle oil as well. So why not use as many forms of black truffle as we had on hand? :) We sprinkled some truffle salt inside the cavity.


I remembered to put some peeled and cut up potatoes, hoping they would absorb all of the pig juices and truffle flavor inside the cavity.


Before it was expertly stitched up by Arnold, our master lechonero.


We didn’t give this piggy the “accupuncture” treatment because I was afraid it was too small and the skin too thin. We also didn’t add coconut water which would have helped to caramelize the skin a little more evenly.


So while it doesn’t get a prize for best looks, I can assure you the taste certainly made up for that minor shortcoming…


The skin was crisp and wafer thin. Hardly any fat whatsoever on this mini-beast, and the meant was amazingly succulent and tender. A last minute sprinkle of truffle salt meant there was a salty crunch to each bite, and the heat on the skin surface released the aroma of truffle bits in the salt. The potatoes were superb! A bit soggy, but soaked with flavor. Some would like more roasted color on their potatoes, but these ones worked well with the rich meat and skin. The cranberry sauce was a good accompaniment, but many of the crew seemed to find it a bit new or a little strange, my explanation that it was a bit like “their” version of acharra in the West. I liked the pairing of sweet/tart cranberry with lechon, but it wasn’t necessary really.


The final verdict? Two thumbs up, definitely. The crew, who are used to my messing around with odd ingredients, have had their first taste of black truffles and they loved it. Black truffles don’t appeal to everyone, as they have an unusual aroma and flavor. But in this instance, the pairing of young pork and truffles worked very well indeed. :)


96 Responses

  1. urrrghhhh…

    Must remember not to read marketman’s blog when i’m on a diet..

    Awesome pig you got there sir ;)

  2. Just the phrase “young pork with truffles” is the stuff fairy tales are made of (at least in my opinion)! Can I apprentice? Heeheehee :)

  3. Incredible! Hats off, Marketman. Seems like you are back in your element. And such great timing, too, as it is truffle season.

  4. Sometimes, looks can just take a backseat. What matters is that it tastes great. Sarap naman. I wonder what’s the next lechon experiment will be. :)

  5. Bourdain should try this! I can only imagine that this is better than the “best pig ever”!

  6. Oh I’d like to be part of your crew, especially when taste testing is done! :)

    Congratulations MM, for the successful experiment…. Am drooling as I type this :)

  7. White truffles are now in season and are available here for a mind boggling 300k per kilo, with a 50 gram minimum order. I bought some fresh black summer truffles last July at a more affordable 15k per kilo, but I have to say that it wasn’t as aromatic as I expected. For the price, the cheaper truffle oil had more punch even though there is no truffle in “truffle” oil. It’s just a chemical additive that simulates some of the taste and aroma of the true truffle.

    The truffled lechon sounds like pure genius, though I do hope the truffle flavor permeated through the meat.

  8. Gerry, I agree most truffle oils are misleading. In the lechon’s case, the aroma and flavor of truffles was noticeable but not extravagantly so… :)

  9. After reading your blog, my husband just grumbled behind my back saying…”paano ba natin makakaibigin yang si marketman???” :) i hope i dream of roasted pigs and truffles tonight.

  10. I hope this is on the menu on your next EB, MM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    MM…they said that truffles are cultivated now in Oregon….www.truffletree.com
    I was thinking maybe you can try it over htere ….on second thought maybe not….I think you need OAK trees. But then who knows maybe some kind of tree can be subbed for Oak trees over there.

  11. If you’ve ever been to Rome or anywhere in Italy in the Fall, you know it’s the height of truffle season. In posh hotels and restaurants, you’ll often come across displays of the largest harvested truffles and the air is redolent with the distinct aroma. Wild boar hunting season must also be at its peak, because that is a very common menu choice alongside all sorts of truffle-flavored dishes. It may be a bit ironic that a pig (the traditional truffle gatherer’s “sniffer”) gets stuffed with the very flavor that it loves so much. Of course, these days, they usually use trained dogs since they don’t like to eat the harvest like the pigs do. I wish I could have had a sampling of that lechon. Sounds heavenly. Truffles are one of my favorite treats — shaven, over al dente buttered pasta or over a simply baked potato with olive oil and sea salt.

  12. Dear MM I’m so glad this experiment worked. I know you’re a master of serendipity but this is almost identical to a traditional Frennch dish cochon de lait perigourdin from the truffle rich Perigord region. It’s popular because you can use the less expensive truffle pieces or truffle peelings (fresh or preserved) rather than expensive whole truffles. One variant includes sausage meat mixed with the truffles, garlic, herbs etc and bound with raw egg as the stuffing. It would be interesting to try this with an authentic longanisa – hubad of course and not too sweet. For those like us who don’t often have a suckling piglet on hand, another variant is called enchaud perigourdin which is a whole loin of (mature) pig with or without bone. With the bone, you make a pocket between the ribs and the flesh and insert the stuffing, or the whole fillet can be stuffed and rolled. I prefer the bone-in version (with skin!) and while this won’t be as great as lechon, can be cooked in a domestic oven. By the way, the French never throw out the fat from this, well strained of solids it keeps in the fridge and is great for frying potatoes or indeed any vegetable – it would cheer up any humble ginisa! For the truffle-less, a version is also made using chestnuts. Also, cranberries being American, the French add a fruity touch with apples, grapes or prunes.

  13. I hoard truffle oil when I see them at a decent price. I have a bottle each black and white. Can’t seem to detect the difference though… Truffled scrambled eggs, Truffled mac and cheese. Happy times. =)

  14. Oh my mm! Wow! That first photo really made me drool.
    Oh gosh, This is making me hungry…… at 2am. Makatulog na nga!

  15. AYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY SARAPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!! I can just imagine how good that lechon is 2 of my favorites Truffle and Lechon what a combo indeed!!!

  16. The most expensive lechon ever! Glad that it worked. Suwerte your family and crew!
    For breakfast this A.M. I’m having poached eggs sprinkled with truffle salt,yum!

  17. Josephine, those dishes SOUND AMAZING… I have never been to truffle country and would love to do a trip there during the height of truffle season. I have read elsewhere that pork and truffles were a good pair, hence the experiment. Having a roast suckling pig with truffles was a natural evolution… and a delicious one! Now I know what to look out for when in that part of the world… Oh, one question, is the sausage meat infused with truffles then stuffed into the suckling pig? Amazing.

    No, Zubuchon does not have this on their menu.

    EGR, Zubuchon has no outlet in Manila. But we ship lechons airfreight for pick up at the Manila Domestic airport.

  18. What a delightful twist on your Thanksgiving spread. I loved how the lechon was expertly stiched up — pretty cool. Loved everything else but have a feeling that the potatoes inside the lechon came out pretty soggy with all the absorbed pig fat/oil.

  19. MM Come to my place anytime. I was one of your lurkers till you threatened to leave us… I spend roughly half my year in Manila and half in France – I eat bagoong and manggang hilaw to get over the foie gras….

  20. PS The sausage meat is optional – otherwise you make a kind of embutido like our old dear departed cook used to do in my childhood.

  21. I’m not much of a lechon de leche fan – bad experience from childhood… but this looks delicious! =)

  22. congrats for another successful lechon.. i love the way the pig is stiched. good job for your lechonero..

  23. OMG!!!! Drooling now and craving for lechon… I can just imagine how wonderful that lechon de leche tastes… I volunteer myself as a taster the next time you need people for your lechon experiments :D

  24. I rarely use this expression but I really need to now: OMFG! I am salivating. Truffles and animal fat is proven to be an excellent combination.

    Thank you very much for the information ms. Josephine from France as I might visit France next year.

    A less expensive substitute for pureed black truffles is salsa tartufata (tartufo sauce that contains 1% black truffles) costs P1k at Bacchus in Power Plant.

    I really need to get my hands on those pureed black truffles!

  25. oh that picture just made my lunch seem pathetic….wishing for a zubuchon right now, even without the truffles

  26. The Italian white truffle is considered the queen of the kitchen, but the black truffle is considered the diamond. What many people dont know is that the black truffle is being farmed in Spain & many other countries of the world. Black truffle farms are a great way to make a living.

  27. OMG! nobody does this things and I think it’s just pure genius. lechon with truffles…lechon with aioli lol…the combinations are endless.

  28. My gads.. what a decadent spin to lechon de leche… I am ABSOLUTELY drooling at this! good work, MM!

  29. Just by the pictures alone, you already had me salivating for zubuchon… MM you should start a branch here in Manila ASAP!

  30. Wow… really wow! Thanks for sharing MM. As consolation to myself, I feel like adapting this idea into truffle-flavored oven-cooked crispy pata or truffle pork belly inihaw since we don’t cook lechon in the house. Hmmm, I wonder…. with lots of garlic, olive oil, sea salt, red & black peppercorns perhaps…

  31. Yvette, we NEVER baste the ZUBUCHON while it roasts on the coals. It bastes itself. When we made a lechon de leche once, I basted with butter twice during the cooking process, but that is unusual…

  32. oh my, i envy Artisan Chocolatier and the crew for tasting… really yummy!!!!!

    special request MM, it’s Christmas season you might give in to all our request for a ZUBUCHON outlet here in Manila…. please :)

  33. omg….i am drooling MARKETMAN..i really love your blog and i am so glad to know that i can order zubuchon and they will ship it to manila thru airfreight. kindly send me the details and pricelist, i can’t wait…will order one now and more for the upcoming holiday season! Finally…..=)

  34. @Mary Lee, actually, the truffle dogs eat truffles too. But they are easier to train than pigs.

    Marketman, this was a good year for white truffles. But even in Italy you have to be careful that you’re not buying truffles sneaked in from other regions. Truffles and eggs…mmm!

  35. Based on your verdict and the enticing pictures, this one has earned its place in your upcoming book. And one day when I can find an pig as small as the one you used in your experiment, I will duplicate your recipe. Finding the pig is the new challenge for me.

  36. The Pacman vs. Margarito fight is currently on but all I could think of is my chance to replicate your recipe tomorrow. I found the baby pig at Half Moon Bay this afternoon. And the Gourmet corner store in San Mateo sold me the black truffle oil and salt. He had no pureed black truffles. Instead he had black truffle peelings he suggested I puree. I hope my result will be close to yours.

  37. mary, good luck with the roasted pig and please leave a comment to let us know how it turns out. Make sure your pig is fully defrosted. Wash inside and out. Dry carefully with paper towels to remove any lingering moisture on the skin. Season generously and add more aromatics than you think necessary. Be careful with truffle oil, it can overpower, and often it is made with no truffles at all. Happy cooking…

  38. My crew called me aling Mila the lechonera while we had a great time roasting our 20 pound piggy. I was the commander in chief while I guzzled down the bottle of Vacqueyras I purchased from the Gourmet corner. My only regret was that I gave in to my mother in law who insisted on stuffing piggy with too many potatoes. The lechon was still juicy and the skin much crispier than the first lechon we made last month. But I still wonder if the truffles were overpowered by the potatoes. Bottom line: lechon devoured in less than 2 hours.

  39. MM,

    Yes i understand with the zubuchon, considering all the pin pricks, it bastes itself. But what about the regular lechon? How often should that be basted? and with what? Im amazed with the crispness and look (nie dark caramel ) of lechon family’s product, but the skin was bland and the meat was likewise not as tender as i would have liked…

  40. Hey marketman, been reading some of your posts here and there for a few years now and all i can say is: I WISH I COULD LIVE IN YOUR KITCHEN FOREVER AND EAT ALL THE YUMMY FOOD YOU COOK! but anyway…i guess ill just have to try cooking these recipes on my own. Thank you for being so generous (with your recipes)!



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