I spent some time in Corsica recently and fell in love with the delicious fromage de tete there, known as head cheese here in English-speaking lands. Head cheese is bits of meat from a simmered pig’s head, covered in gelatinous broth and cooled to make a solid mass. It is delicious, and full of healthy collagen and gelatin.
I wanted that French head cheese flavor, so I used the fromage de tete recipe from @huntgathercook. You can find it by searching for “honest food fromage de tete” in your search engine of choice.
I followed the ingredients in the recipe exactly, including the optional star anise, which was incredibly fragrant. I modified the process slightly. Believe it or not, head cheese is really quite easy to make.
Here are my steps. I added the spices and vegetables exactly like in the recipe, so I will not write those here.
First, we skinned the pig’s head. This was very easy, much easier than skinning pig’s feet. Then, you put the head into your huge stockpot, add veggies and spices, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, skim the foam, and and lower heat so that it simmers. Cover the pot with a lid, and simmer overnight.
You will wake up the next morning with your whole house smelling like star anise. Now comes the fun part. Remove the head (it will fall apart into pieces) and set it aside to cool a bit. Pour about half the broth into a smaller stock pot, add wine, and bring to a rolling boil. I used red wine. Boil until broth is down to a quarter of its original volume.
In the meantime, pick all the yummy meat off the head, chop it up, and put into your terrine dish (or loaf pan, or bowl). Line the dish with plastic wrap first, for easy unmolding. Add spices and salt and mix. Once your reduced broth has cooled a bit, pour it over the meat in the dish.
Cover and cool in the fridge overnight. Unmold, serve, and enjoy! I love eating head cheese with pickles, sauerkraut, and potatoes. Use your leftover broth for soup. Bon appetit!
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