Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pig head two ways (part 1)

wash your head
Originally uploaded by EatingVideo
I bought a share of a cured hog with my brothers from La Quercia (acorn edition 3), the first instalment of the organic berkshire acorn finished hog included two heads (I volunteered for extra if one was available), the trotters, the tail, the heart, ribs, leaf lard, and loin. I decided to make a head cheese with the first head and a porchetta de testa with the second. This is the tale of the first head.
These dishes were greatly inspired by the following videos

Sky Full of Bacon 04: A Head's Tale from Michael Gebert on Vimeo.

along with other sites. For an interesting overview of La Quercia's acorn edition watch this...

Sky Full of Bacon 10: Prosciutto di Iowa from Michael Gebert on Vimeo.

We received a 70lb box full of pig parts

Acorn edition

Inside vacuum packed were the pig parts

Pig Head

I washed the head in the sink paying particular attention to the ears and nose

wash your head

I cut the ears off for a separate dish and wrapped the head in cheese cloth so it was easier to retrieve from the pot after cooking.

wrapped and ready to cook

the ears I braised in a simple syrup with soy sauce, for 2 hrs, I will then chop thinly and fry,


but that's another post. The wrapped pig head was covered with water in a large pot and two onions, carrot, garlic salt sugar, a bit of pimenton, black pepper, rosemary, and thyme and brought to a boil then simmered for 4 hrs.
I removed the head onto a baking sheet and let it cool, and then further reduced the stock by half.
No pictures, but after cooling I removed the meat from the jowls, temple, neck, and face trimming the fat and skin off. this was rolled in cheesecloth a bit of the stock added then wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in the fridge to cool.
The next day we sliced it

head cheese crop

and breaded one side and browned it on both sides

Crisped head cheese

The result is an incredibly rich dish, fatty and full of pork flavor. It will benefit from an acid sauce, a chimichurri or other citrus based sauce to cut the fat.
The next head I am going to bone out and roast.

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