Mrs Sergi's Guinea Pig Recipe
Firstly understand that I last ate this when I was about 8 years of age which is over 40 years ago now so allow me some literary licence. I will explain the technique more than an actual recipe. From memory and guesstimation I think the Sergis probably got rid of their guinea pigs about this time as their financial situation had improved and supermarkets were opening their doors and meat prices were falling. I would have eaten guinea pig over the previous 3 years but probably didnt know what it was.
The guinea pigs lived in half a rainwater tank. We kids would catch the guinea pigs and pass them to Mr Sergi who would kill them by cracking the backs of their heads on the edge of the water tank. We probably killed 8-10 at a time.
The guinea pigs were cleaned and split with the head removed. Mrs Sergi would lift the top off the wood stove and using a steel skewer she would brown them indiviually. These were then cooked in a light tomato sauce and from memory simmered for about an hour. She held the guinea pigs on the skewer by way, from memory, with a bike clip. If you remember they were worn around the leg to stop long pants catching in bike chains.
The tomato sauce was already cooking and reducing. The sauce was homemade to a standard recipe. Juice your tomatoes and get as much through the strainer as possible. Decant into sterilzed 26oz beer bottles, put in 1 teaspoon of salt, one basil leaf and cap. The bottles were then put into a 44gallon drum and bought to a brisk boil this was then left overnight to simmer and cool. It kept for months. The meal was invariably served with pasta and beans and anything else seasonal. Mrs Sergi also cooked guinea pig along the lines of a chicken noodle soup but left the heads on. This was definitely a meal I would dodge where possible. 1960s Aussie fare did not include 'heads'!!
Someone can perhaps help me here but the Sergis called guinea pigs 'rikune' [phonetic calabrian]] which seemed to be used generically for rabbits and guinea pigs..
Guinea pigs taste like, well comparable to rabbit but the meat is not as dense maybe because they were 'farmed' and not wild caught as the rabbits were. At this point in time my family ate a lot of rabbit, hare and kangaroo so guinea pig didnt seem too out of the ordinary for me. I cannot say I enjoyed it because at that time Italian Fare was so out of the ordinary for me. Garlic, olive oil, olives, capsicum, bitter lettuce, eggplant etc were so very foreign to my anglo-aussie 'meat & 3 veg' diet.
Sadly, I cannot remember the herb mix Mrs Sergi used, I could really only recognise parsley at that age.
mike, Katherine NT in the hot dry tropical savannah bit of Australia.