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32 responses to “Wild Boar Testa – Don’t Call Me Head Cheese”

  1. Cecilia

    I work for a fish and game agency, and while I am not a hunter or angler, I reap the benefits of having friends and co-workers who are. I think I am going to have to ask them to save the heads of the boar and deer for me so I can try making coppa di testa.

    Thanks so much for this piece. Well done.

  2. adele

    I love brawn. I used to bring brawn sandwiches for lunch all the time as a kid, and I know exactly what you mean about the soupiness of the gelatin as it melts.

    Of course, mine came from the supermarket – I’m sure wild boar brawn is something else entirely. :)

  3. Garrett

    Wow, Hank you impress me every single time. And that shot of the snout is just awesome. Heck you hang that photo on a wall. ;)

  4. Carolina Rig

    Maybe one day I’ll have testas to try this on a doe or hog I kill. Sounds devine.

  5. KAB

    This is fabulous, Hank, both in the writing and the descriptions. And I laughed out loud at the photo of the snout. Perfect!

  6. Scott

    AWESOME! Nice job, Hank. Been hankering to do something like this for a couple weeks after finding this link:

    http://www.gourmet.com/food/video/2008/09/cosentino_pigshead

    I’m envious, sir.

  7. mike

    Looks great – and much more adventurous sourcing of pig’s head than ours! We’re overdue to make another batch.

  8. NorCal Cazadora

    Thanks everyone for the comments on the snout photo. I’d been struggling with the photos of the skinned head, and when Hank complained that the snout was sticking out, I turned the camera on again and went running to the stove :-).

    This was divine – I’d never eaten any head cheese before. The gelatin turned me off. But Hank’s right – it just turns into broth in your mouth. Lovely, flavorful wild boar broth.

  9. T. Michael Riddle

    A rose by any other name Hank!
    My dear ol’ Mema called it head cheese and boy howdy it sure tasted good no matter what anybody called it.

    Can’t wait to try your Testa!

  10. Tina

    I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one who was perversely amused at the snout shot! When I was a kid, we’d occasionally butcher a hog; my mom would make headcheese using a Pennsylvania Dutch recipe. I never thought I’d like something that sounded so disgusting, but I love it.

    However, I can’t bring myself to eat that other Pennsylvania Dutch delicacy, scrapple. Or,as I like to refer to it, anything left on the floor after all of the good stuff is gone, mixed with cornmeal. Truly revolting!

  11. Ryan

    You’re a peach Hank. :) Thank you for the link, and thank you for the Coppa di Testa lesson!

  12. Brady

    Gotta do an article on the cured venison cheek. The only cheek I have had the pleasure of eating was a braised veal cheek at the Inn at Little Washington. If the venison is half as devine, it sure would save a lot of $$!

  13. matt wright

    oh yes. Love Brawn. Hats off to you for giving this a go – looks pretty involved to say the least.. but my, the end product looks amazing.

  14. Sylvie, Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener

    well the English also call membrillo “quince cheese” – wonder where the cheese part is.

    I love fromage de tete – although have not made it yet. Thanks for the lesson.

  15. Elise

    Here’s an explanation from Wikipedia on the use of the term “cheese” for things like head cheese and membrillo:

    >>When the Romans began to make hard cheeses for their legionaries’ supplies, a new word started to be used: formaticum, from caseus formatus, or “molded cheese” (as in “formed”, not “molded”). It is from this word that we get the French fromage, Italian formaggio, Catalan formatge, Breton fourmaj and Provençal furmo. Cheese itself is occasionally employed in a sense that means “molded” or “formed”.

  16. Angry Brit

    The first time I ever heard the phrase “head cheese” I was about 15 years old and reading Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe. I had no idea what it was. It didn’t sound particularly appetising. But neither does “Brawn” it sounds like a brand of oven cleaner. I guess we’ll have to go with testa. It looks good- most ‘head cheese’ that I see is is all gelatin with suspicious chunks of stuff in it. Yours looks like food. I would love to try it with venison.

  17. Lulu Barbarian

    I’m always so impressed by the stuff you do that I can’t think of anything to say. But this time, awesome as your headcheese project is, I just have to say, “You have room in your refrigerator for a stockpot????”

  18. Items of interest from around the ‘Net | Nose To Tail At Home

    […] tasty tripe! Mr. Shaw over at the awe inspiring Hunter Angler Gardner Cook just posted about some Coppa di testa he made from a wild boar nicknamed Maximus.  Just like everything Mr. Shaw posts, it’s an […]

  19. Just Cook It

    Just found your blog through Nost To Tail At Home. Great post. Great blog.

  20. Peter

    I helped a chef friend make some during the winter: http://quisimangiabene.blogspot.com/2009/01/its-slobberin-time.html
    And it was most delightful on good crusty bread with mustard. Less gelatin is better, no doubt. Here’s another post I just read today: http://chadzilla.typepad.com/chadzilla/2009/06/hogs-headless-cheese.html

  21. ntsc

    I freeze souse, which is in this family. Souse from Dietrich’s looks more like head cheese (that I am familiar with) than what they sell as head cheese. Both are delicious. Dear wife has put her foot down, don’t argue with a former book salesman with cleaver (and don’t call her a saleswoman), I am not to make this in her kitchen.

    Try the brawn lightly scored with a sharp knife, both directions, with very finely chopped onion and a good vinegar. If you are into capers they will also add to this.

  22. ntsc

    Oh and Lulu, I also have room in the fridge for a 24 qt stock pot. The 40 qt won’t fit however.

  23. Kathy

    I was actually looking for uses for pork stock (although I think I could figure out ways to use it up), when I stumbled upon Alinea’s blog, then your’s (which I’ve read thru Elise’s blog).

    My husband threw a cochon d’lait for me this past weekend for my upcoming bday. I love hogs head cheese ( I prefer pork glace, but), so he boiled the head w/ the feet, & picked all the good stuff – cheeks, tongue- & placed it in the fridge for me. the next day, I tackled it. The leftover bones from the pig (I haven’t asked what happened t the pig’s head , I assume it went on the fire; nobody is adventurous enough to eat the brains), went into a stock pot w/ veggies to make a stock. Used that in addition to the “pickings” to make myself a fine pork glace. IN south louisiana, green onions & parsley are essential, and are the finishing touches, stirred in at the last minute. I think I overcooked mine, actually, but ended up with 12 mini-loaf pans of very delicious pork glace (hog’s head cheese). I am actually lying to people, telling them it didnt’ come out very well in order to keep 3 of the pans in the freezer for myself- all that hard work! the other 8 are gone. there are enough people who really enjoy the stuff, even knowing that it really was made from the “head”.
    at our local grocery store (not big chains), they actually have small-manufactured hog’s head cheese for sale, I’m guessing because of the upcoming holidays. Some are obviously spicy, some simply seasoned w/ black pepper & salt. It’s not something people talk about, but.
    One of my mini-loaf pans of glace is going to a lady I work with who shared someting with me a few years ago. She made “head cheese” using turkey necks that were on sale. Same seasonings & ingredients, different animal. It was delicious! I’ve actually thought about trying her recipe, but didn’t think I would have enough “takers”. Now, I know better! Thanks for enjoying real food with us!
    Enjoy your posts on Simply Recipes. Happy Thanksgiving!

  24. Tête Pressée - Notes From Home Plates

    […] feelings of doom for what was to come. When researching this project I’d come across a post by Hank Shaw in which he was making head cheese. He called picking the meat off the head […]

  25. Chef Derek

    This was just great! I grew up eating my Brother and GrandFathers head cheeses. As much hunting as I do, normally harvest 20+ deer and/or hogs a year< I never think of making cheese. You stirred more juices in my culinary meanderings… maybe I will present at the Farmers market and see what response I get.

  26. Coppa di Testa | Der Mut anderer

    […] wild boar coppa di testa […]

  27. JoshAckerman

    Can i use a terrine in place of the casing?? thanks very much. excited to eat some pig!

    (ºº) oink.

    josh.

  28. Josh

    My in-laws are Filipino and they have a popular dish using pig heads called sisig (or sizzling sisig). What is particularly interesting about it is that the ears play a key role (pig ear has awesome texture – firm and crunchy but not chewy). In the making of the stuff it’s boiled til tender, then grilled, diced and fried. Kept in a tub with some of the broth in the fridge before the final fry it sets up in gelatin just like head cheese.

    Also pig ears and cheeks are $1/lb or less at Asian markets if there isn’t a boar handy.

  29. Adventures with Headcheese |

    […] on the best method for making headcheese, we decided to stick with a more traditional recipe. Hank Shaw’s recipe does an excellent job of synthesizing different approaches to headcheese. We also really liked the […]

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