Monday, February 23, 2009

Headcheese, part one

This is my little story about making headcheese. This kinda thing always raises eyebrows in the kitchen; whats the pig head for, where is that on the menu, or that's disgusting are all responses we know so well. I've come across different versions of headcheese recently by way of Cory and Daniel on hulu. It was time for me to give it a try. I already had a cow tongue in the freezer for some added bulk, and a skinless pig head cost us only $9 from the butcher. Shoot, the parsley to finish it cost almost that much. Pictured here is the cooked pig's head. As you can tell the bottom jaw bone comes away from the rest, while the cheek meat is rather plump and stands out as the prize. I say this in spite of the fact the tongue will make up a good percentage of the total take of meat off the head.

This the the head picked clean. I'm sure I sorted the meat from the fat far better than need be, but I really wanted a dense meaty end product. Since the head was skinned when we recieved it there was no snout, but the eyes did hide a nice little treasure chest of meaty goodness.

This was our take of the meat off the head. The large tongue on the right is the calfs tongue from the freezer I added for bulk. The meat is all very succulent and moist at this point. I started the head in about 3 gallons of water, mire poix, and a sachet of cloves, cinnamon, allspice, and black peppercorns. After removing everyhing I reduced that liquid down to about one quart.

Here is our final product pre-molding. I chopped the tongue into a nice 1/4 inch dice, and minced the rest up rather fine. This blend was annointed with about a cup of very rich stock, parsley, sherry vinager, salt, and a heavy hand of black pepper.


Rachel said...

While I really am all about using every part of the animal and I have an adventurous palate, seeing those pictures made me a little freaked-out. From a sciency perspective it is interesting, but I might be haunted by them for a bit....

Michael Walsh said...

I know what you mean. I deliberatly left out the uncooked head as that kinda crosses the boarder for some people. You know the first time i cooked calf's tongue and peeled it i was totally turned off and disgusted i couldn't barely taste it afterwards. Luckily someone bought some from a deli and i had it then and it was great, so i got over it. Peeling the tongue is still a little stomach turning though.

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