Heads Up On The Head Cheese

October 18, 2010 § 1 Comment

This Spam kind of tastes like Christmas. It’s soft, room temperature, and has hints of allspice, nutmeg, and cloves. Not Spam you say? Then what?

Head Cheese.

Don’t be fooled, this is not cheese this is a jellied loaf of meat. Originally head cheese was made entirely from the meaty parts of the head of a pig or calf. This typically excluded the the eyes, ears, and teeth but now can include edible parts of the feet, tongue, and heart. The head is cleaned and simmered until the meat falls from the bones and the liquid becomes a concentrated gelatinous broth. Strained, the meat is removed from the head, chopped, seasoned, and returned to the broth and the whole placed in a mold and chilled until set, so it can be sliced.

Are you grossed out yet?

I’ve actually had head cheese on more occasions then I care to admit or find myself comfortable with. Like hot dogs, this meaty treat tastes better when you don’t know what it’s made out of. But now knowing, I find myself on the fence about whether it belongs on my charcuterie platter this week.

Do I expose my guests to this jellied head meat? Do I tell them what it’s made out of first? Or do I laugh while I wait for them to take their first bites?

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