This is a recipe to make with a smallish animal’s head. Give yourself a few hours for this recipe, as you will need to simmer the meats for at least 3 hours. I make this with a wide beef casing, but you can simply pack it into a regular loaf pan. You absolutely need the pig’s feet for this recipe — they provide much of the gelatin that will make this set up. Ask your butcher for them; they freeze well, and as you are using them for gelatin not for fine eating, you can even re-freeze them if need be.
Rinse and clean all the meats under cold water, then put them in the largest pot you own. Move the pot off-center to the burner a little. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Skim the froth off the top. Since you put the pot off-center, the froth should all be on one side of the pot. Once the froth is all off, move the pot back to the center of the burner. Turn the heat down to a simmer, add all the other ingredients, stir to combine and simmer for at least 3 hours. Older animals will require more time.
Soak a large beef casing in warm water with a tablespoon or two of vinegar in it.
Remove the meats from the pot and set in a bowl.
Strain the stock well and return it to a clean pot. Bring it to a boil off-center — like you did at the start — and get it at a rolling boil.
Pick the meats off the bone, peel and chop the tongue roughly, and chop fine some of the skin from the pig’s trotter. Chop everything in different sizes: Good-looking meats like the tongue should be between 1/2 and 3/4 inch, and everything else should be smaller. Marginal bits should be chopped the finest.
When the stock has boiled down by a little more than half, add enough salt to make it taste salty — a little saltier than you think it ought to be. This is because cold meats need more salt than warm ones; it’s how we perceive it when eating. Turn the stock off the heat and pour enough to cover the meats. Let this cool a bit.
Rinse the beef casing and tie the bottom securely. Take your time and do this right — you don’t want the bottom to break out when you are stuffing the testa.
Stuff the casing by hand and tighten it before tying off the top. Leave a large loop of string at the top so you can hang the testa in the fridge. I hang it on a dowel set over a clean stock pot. Let this hang in the chiller overnight. Slice it thick and serve with something acidic, like mustard or pickles.
Do not add more salt than is in the recipe until after the stock is reduced. You don’t want to make this overly salty, and you can make mistakes easily with salt when you are reducing a broth this much.