Head Cheese

KD recently saw some Headcheese at the market and couldn’t resist.  Yes, it’s really made from head, but surprisingly it contains no cheese.  Usually, it’s made from parts of a pig or calf’s head and set in aspic.  The brain, eyes and ears are often left out (too bad) while conversely, tongue and sometimes feet and heart might be included.  The “Rules” of Headcheese seem pretty flexible, head meat + spices + whatever’s lying around = Headcheese. It’s usually eaten as a luncheon meat.

Really, it’s nowhere near as gross as it may sound.  It’s got a cool see-through thing going on with the aspic, or gelatin or whatever it is, and fun random chunks of meat.  Head skin? Tongue? Who knows!  At least you can see all your mystery meat and red chunks (I’m thinking peppers?) you can’t say that about a hot dog, or slice of bologna.

Bologna plus Ham is a good way to describe the flavor.  The texture is obviously a little different, alternating between deli meat, Ham-ish and um, “Gelatin-esque”.  We had it on toast with some mustard (EA is German, and insists that mustard is the proper condiment for pretty much everything). EA liked it quite a bit, going back for thirds, while KD thought it was “Fine”.  Honestly, if you like some of the funkier Pates like Liverwurst, this stuff will seem pretty benign.  The name “Headcheese” and the rather strange appearance of the stuff are far scarier than actual taste.  EA has since acquired quite a taste for the stuff, going so far as to order it in restaurants.

Here are some great books on making sausage, terrines and patés…
Books on Charcuterie

Hungry Native Martha's Vineyard

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