Thanksgiving in Paradise

Inspired by Gaugin, this pork recipe is an exotic alternative to turkey.


Pioneering French painter Paul Gauguin was the guest of honor at many meals while living and working in Tahiti in the late 19th century. The following recipe (interpreted for American kitchens by Chef James Babian) was taken from the menu of a party thrown for Gauguin and is an easy and exotic alternative, or addition, to the traditional Thanksgiving turkey. Here, the Tahitian oven is simply a roasting pan lined with cabbage leaves. Adapted from The Artist's Palate (DK Publishing, $30).


Wild Pig (Pork) in Tahitian Oven

5 pounds pork butt, cut in thirds
1½ tablespoons liquid smoke flavoring
2 to 3 tablespoons Hawaiian sea salt
10 green cabbage leaves (or 10 banana leaves, if available)
3 cups chicken stock


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Rub the pork with the smoke flavor and sea salt.
3. Take an appropriate-size roasting pan and line the bottom with half of the cabbage leaves. Place the pork in it.
4. Add chicken stock, being careful not to pour it over the pork. Cover with remaining cabbage leaves.
5. Cover tightly and roast for approximately 2½ to 4 hours. Cook the pork until a meat thermometer inserted into it reads 165°F.

Serves 6-8.

Note: When done, the pork should shred easily and be very moist.

Wine Enthusiast recommends pairing this dish with a full-bodied Riesling or a fruity, low-tannin Zinfandel.

Sponsored by Terlato Family Vineyards



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