A Head of the Game


As I’ve mentioned many times on this blog  I belong to a community garden and we have a small pig co-op. The pigs come as weeners and the co-op looks after them for several months until they reach the desired size and then they’re sent off to be turned into the Sunday roast and bangers. I don’t belong to the co-op so I don’t benefit from the meat except the occasional pig’s head comes my way if its not wanted. This week saw the poor beasts sent off on their way, I say poor beasts as this last lot of pigs were real characters and I often used to watch them and their antics. I have been given one of their heads, a bit like John the Baptist. I made some zalatina or brawn for the first time earlier in the year and was asked if I would like another head to make some more. So always up for a challenge I accepted.

It is actually a very easy process but does take a while. The head looks a bit gruesome as it sits in the pot, I had the whole head, usually the snout and mouth are cut away but this requires a hacksaw which I don’t possess and although I feebly tried with a fret saw it wasn’t up to the challenge. So there it sat eyes closed as it bubbled away with the lemons bobbing about it. You need to apply plenty of salt and lemons, this will kill any nasties that may be lurking in trotters and head. The trotters are needed to give a good jelly for your brawn. The first lot of water is discarded after it’s boiled and the process repeated this time leaving it until the meat is cooked. Then the head and trotters removed and left to cool and the liquid left in the pan overnight.

Then the picking begins and after the fat has been cut away and discarded. This head proved to be much meatier and the braun has come out a lot better, the meat is delicious.any meat that can be gleaned is cut up into small pieces and put in a bowl. The liquid by now has set with a film of fat on top that should be skimmed off leaving a lovely jelly underneath. Some  of this is decanted into a fresh pan, more lemon juice is added as well as wine vinegar,  some orange blossom water and a sprig of rosemary. This is heated to dissolve then tasted and seasoning adjusted to your liking. When the juice has cooled slightly this is poured over the meat and put in the fridge to set with a plate and weight on top.

Enjoy. For the full recipe why not buy the book and see all the other recipes in there.



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