Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Head Cheese and Mini Quiche. !

We have had a huge glut   of zuchini ,both green and yellow,
and eggs,
and as I have already made up a big batch of pickled zuchini I decided to make up some mini quiches
So using a dozen eggs at a time and adding some cartons of sour cream that after Christmas were fast approaching their use by date,
I then added a few grated zuchini,  2 pkts of spring vegetable soup base, some grated cheese, 2 Tablespoons plain flour, salt ,pepper and an onion cut up finely and a little extra milk .
After mixing this altogether I poured them into oiled  muffin trays.
I baked them at about 190 deg c until risen  but set.
I made this amount three times,
When cold I then bagged them and froze for later use, They are handy to pull out as a cold snack or with salads, or can be gently reheated to have hot with veggies.
The other issue we had was freezer space. Before Christmas we had butchered two pigs,
And although all the meat was not  all  for us  I decided to freeze the two pigs head to have a go at Brawn or known else where around the world as Head Cheese or Souse.
I dug out a few recipes  that I found in my overly large collection of old cook books and decided to just wing it taking all of the info that I found on board.
I defrosted my two  heads( and I apologize in advance if the pictures offend  you)
And a view from another angle to show just how meaty they are.
After soaking the heads in salty water for a few hours to clean,  I then decided that I would try cooking them in my big pressure canner as the days are extremely hot here and I didn't fancy having my stove cooking away for up to 5 or 6 hours.
So I added my two heads, and the remains  of the two ham bones that we had devoured over Christmas,
Then I added 3 large chopped onions, 3  carrots,  a few sticks of celery, about a dozen peppercorns, a Tablspoon salt,3 Bay leaves, some garlic, a cup of vinegar and  just covered it with water.
The lid was then locked down on the pressure cooker and  we cooked  it at 15 lbs pressure for 45 minutes.
After the  pressure cooker had  de pressureised , we removed the lid ,
I then removed the meat and bones,( which were practically falling apart) strained the  liquid, discarding the vegetables(to the chooks)
All the usuable, meat, skin and fat was removed and chopped and set aside, tongues peeled and chopped and added to the meat dish and the  non usable parts  also given to the chickens.
The remaining liquid was then simmered  for about another half an hour to reduce a little to concentrate the flavours. I measured about  a litre out of this into a jug(not really knowing how much I would require), and stirred in 4 teaspoons of powdered gelatine.( I did this as a precaution as I was unsure how well it would naturally gel.
This was then mixed into the reserved chopped meat ect until it looked about the right consistency , and I found that this only required a little under 500 mls) This could vary on batch to batch.
The mix was then poured into my tongue press, a beautiful old piece of  kitchen equipment passed on to me about 20 years or so ago by a butcher friend, which had been previously oiled and then had a couple of layers of plastic  wrap  put into it with excess  each side and end.
The ends were then wrapped over the mix to form a package,
and the  press lid was clamped down to put pressure onto the mix.
Once it was locked down it was placed in the fridge overnight to set the gel.

The next morning we  unlocked the press, unwrapped the plastic wrap and  were so pleased with the results of our effort, a glorious log, about 2 kgs( 4 lbs ) of Brawn or Head Cheese.
Of course we couldn't resist slicing it immediately,
I was very happy with the texture of the loaf, the only change I would make would be to include a little less fat in the mix next time.
We have had this several times since  with salads and on crusty sandwiches with pickles, but my favourite is with a good squeeze of my recently made plum sauce...delicious, even if I say so myself. !!!.
I will certainly be making this on a regular basis, quite easy and such a tasty way to use up a lot of otherwise wasted ingredients.
The older generation certainly knew how to make the most of everything, I take my hat off to them.
So , I will try and catch up  with posts more often, but sometimes I just  don't and I apologize in advance.
Until we meet again down the track,
Take care
Jane and Brian.


  1. brawn was never a favourite of mine, step mum used to make it with left over meats all the time, think the only one i ever liked was the lamb roast & ham mix.
    yes, the older generations did know how to "waste not, want not" didn't they? the young call it hoarding ...
    thanx for sharing

    1. "Hoarding" , now that's something I have a lot of experience at...I do try to cull but it is hard, you just never know when you will need that special "thing".
      Cheers Selina ☺☺☺☺

  2. Oh my lord, I love brawn. Jane, that plate could have been prepared by my mother. She made brawn fairly frequently and she always served it in sandwiches or with salad, as you have done. I can almost taste it from here. It looks amazing. Great work, girl! I wish you and Brian a great year ahead. xx

    1. Thanks Rhonda,
      Mum used to make great brawn too and we ate it regularly...I will certainly make more , it was so good.
      Hope your year is a good one too Rhonda

  3. So that is what headcheese is. I always wondered. Hmmmm.

    1. I never knew either, I was chatting to my friend, an ex Wisconsin girl about brawn and she was stumped, once I explained she said" ohh you mean Head cheese"!!!
      She said in parts of the US it's also called souse.