Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Brawn to be Wild

In the few days preceding Christmas most people are getting ready for the festive event by doing the final shop, putting up decorations and visiting people, but I decided that as we had been gifted four pig heads it was about time I made use of them.  No more putting it off and giving them to others to cook up for their dogs.

Cleaned and Shaved Pig heads
The most obvious recipe was brawn and although an internet search revealed other recipes it was the brawn I decided to try out.  Now having only tried shop bought brawn years ago and not being that impressed, it could be a case of hours making dog food. I used The River Cottage Meat Book as my guide.

So Sunday morning there I was shaving and cleaning some pigs head. Not how I usually spend my Sunday mornings.  I'm glad to say we didn't receive the pigs ears with the heads as the recipe says 'cut the ears away from the head and scrub them thoroughly under a warm tap (pigs have ear wax too)'. Lovely!

Once cleaned and quartered the heads were soaked in brine for 24 hours.  Then mixed with onions, herbs and spices (and the water changed for fresh) I gently simmered the heads for a few hours on top of the wood burner.

Under Pressure
This morning I peeled off the meat, fat and skin from the heads. It came away pretty easily.  The recipes says chop it all up and put the mixture in a terrine or pudding bowls, but apart from a little (very little) the skin and fat followed the bones, teeth and eyes into the bin.  There again the brains are in the mix!

The final job was to mix the meat with lemon juice and parsley and place in the pudding bowls. Then put a plate and weight on the top and refrigerate until set.  A few hours later I turned the brawn out and was pleased with the result.  A lovely looking brawn jelly appeared on the plate.

And now the tasting!

Tom - and instant no
Rosie - tastier than expected but didn't like the texture and the jelly/fat a bit too much
Susanne - (Friend who had popped in) - Polite and non-committal
Ben - (our live-in carnivore), yummy and can I have some more please.
Me - A lot better then I thought it would be and glad a didn't put in the skin and fat.
Sally - (my sister) - similar view to Rosie as she feeds bits to one of the dogs.
The Finished Brawn
Poppy - Keep the titbits coming Sally, bloody good dog food, slurp

So I think Ben and I could be eating a lot of brawn for the next few weeks.  Or there could be two very happy dogs

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