Lechona Tolimense -- Not to Miss Cuisine
When talking about the food of Tolima, there is probably nothing more Tolimense than their signature dish -- LECHONA. In fact, the production of Lechona for fiestas in Tolima dates back several centuries. It really IS what's for dinner in Tolima at just about any big celebration -- weddings, baptisms, Christmas, New Year's etc.What is Lechona? In a few words, stuffed roasted pig. How is it made? First, you take the 50 pound pig and debone it and clean it out --making sure to leave the skin intact. Next, you take all of the ribs and meat and chop them up with an axe and add them to about 10 pounds of pork meat (cut in small chunks) and marinate (adobar) it all in a mixture of garlic, green onions, cumin, salt and pepper. Then, you cook the meat in lard. You also prepare rice, peas, and potatoes to add to the mixture.
When all the stuffing ingredients are mixed together, you stuff the pig and then sew it up. You cover the skin with bitter orange juice and cook it all for about 15 hours. Serves: 50
Lechona Tolimense is delicious, heart clogging, but so worth at least one try. It is typically available in at least one restaurant in any medium to large city in Colombia. Ask your driver to take you to try some, and of course, if you are in Ibague -- don't miss the opportunity to try authentic Lechona Tolimense.