Head cheese

So one thing about cooking and products we are surrounded with daily is that sometimes it can get very monotonous ,for a cook at least, tenderloins and steaks and salmon filets etc in the beginning it is awesome to cook everything but at the end of the day a steak is a steak is a steak. It takes a while to truly appreciate all the awesome products out there . Then as you progress culinary wise it becomes so much more interesting when you order a whole hog and the head comes with it. So naturally when looking at the head in the box the first thing that comes toons is ….. Head cheese ! The second thought is why they call it that? I still don’t know but it is as far from cheese as you can get . So here I am culinary skills tuned to be the best they can be so I decide to make a head cheese with the one head that I have staring back at me from that box. Tingling in stomach ensues and I get excited just like a kid at Christmas. And this is how I did the head cheese today.. My version might differ from others but my version is as true to the original as yours!. This is what you need..
1 pig head
2 onions peeled
2 carrots peeled
4 stalk celery
1 bunch parsley
1 cups of small diced smoked ham
Pot lathe enough to fit head in
Sherry vinegar
Start by covering the head with cold water in the pot large enough to cover the head , add a handful of salt and one onion and one carrot and two stalks celery.
Boil the head for at least two hours or until meat starts easily to come off.
While the head is boiling, dice the onion , carrot and celery in brunoise& Sauté without color and deglaze with two tbl spoons of sherry vinegar and cook out the vinegar. Remove and place in a bowl and cool. Needless to say always season every step !!.
Chop parsley and place on top off vegetables cooling off add the ham as well on the same bowl .. I do t know about you but doing dishes is not my favorite so therefore all in one bowl. Just make sure the bowl is large enough for the meat from the head and to able to mix everything!!.
Once determined that head is cooked and meat can easily come off , remove head from pot and place in a pan. The liquid that was water is now hog stock and reduce that rapidly until about two cups remain let it cool. While wearing a pair of latex gloves start removing all edible meat from head. You will see which is usable and which is not! The reason for wearing gloves is simple, it is super sticky! . The ears, snout ,skin and skull have gelatinous properties. By reducing the hog stock you will get a very gelatinous stock the will solidify once cold. Now take the cold sautéed vegetables , ham and parsley and pour the chilled hog stock over and mix thoroughly adjust seasoning if needed. It is a very rich concoction and that’s why I like to add sherry vinegar to give it a little bit of acidity to cut the fattiness down a bit.
Once mixed line a terrine mold with cling film and place mix inside and cover with cling film. Refrigerate for at least six hours or until firm. To serve I like to eat it with cornichons , toast Melba and whole grain mustard.. And a few tums afterwards …. It is delicious and dangerously so ….love it when I can get my hands on some of this delicacy.. My version of course!




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