Headcheese. The tender meat from the pig’s head and trotters, slow braised and suspended in meat jelly. Sounds challenging, fun to make, and utterly, indulgently, delicious. The question is, where do we get the head? And the feet?
How about the whole hog.
At Jake’s suggestion, we decided to get a whole piggy, and drove to pick up our pig and butcher it in the kitchen at home. All 75 pounds of it. I had never broken down a whole pig before, and was really excited about the whole endeavor. Plus, in addition to the head and feet for the monthly Charcutepalooza challenge, we would be supplying ourselves with fresh cuts of pork, a plenty.
We started by breaking down the head and feet to get them braising for the headcheese. On the stove were stockpots for the Consomme that would eventually suspend the meat in the terrine.
We liked our pig, and took silly pictures with it. This is an event, afterall, butchering a whole pig in the comfort of our studio apartment! Pork portraits were necessary.
This was a days long event, with precious time on our hands to get the pig broken down and refrigerated, stocks going around the clock, head and feet roasting, Consommes a clearing… it was an adventure to say the least, in home cooking.
The consomme took a good day to make, having to make the stocks, reduce them, then clear them through the raft. In the end, it was worth the time because it yielded a dark, rich, clarified stock that was striking in the terrine. Once the consomme was done, we layered the terrine.
Then into the fridge, to set up. Fingers crossed!
And lo and behold…the Headcheese:
Absolutely decadent. Delicious. I have to say, while I have seen some truly amazing pictures from other bloggers this month, the two day extravaganza that started with an entire pig, and ended in this first bite was a satisfaction and accomplishment like no other. Cheers!