Anissa Helou, brawn, charcuterie, Dock Kitchen, Fergus Henderson, head cheese, Heston Blumenthal, Italian charcuterie, Meat lover, nose to tail, Nose to Tail Fortnight, offal, pig butchery, pigs head, pork cheese, St. Johns, Stevie Parle, This Little Piggie!
Sales of offal and other unloved cuts of meat have risen significantly in the UK in recent years. I can’t help but notice that high profile chefs such as Fergus Henderson have created this resurgence in nose to tail butchery and cuisine through restaurants, such as St. Johns. In 2010 Heston Blumenthal even served up brains and testicles to the queen! During Nose to Tail Fortnight in June this year, I was thrilled to get a prized place at Dock Kitchen where chef and author Anissa Helou teamed up with Stevie Parle to put together an un-forgetful offal-based meal.
What I love most about nose to tail butchery is the cuts that lend themselves beautifully to authentic charcuterie. Last week I had the pleasure of butchering a whole pig, using up each of the cuts to create recipes, a real treat for any chef! As an insight for blog readers I’ve documented my findings about head meat and highlighted the classic charcuterie cuts using a diagram of my fully butchered pig!
The head of a pig is perhaps less popular, but I believe to be a very important cut. After being let loose on the pig with a butchers knife last week, I made some beautiful head cheese, also known as brawn, pork cheese or potted heid throughout the UK. Anybody slightly squeamish should probably look away now. Head cheese isn’t actually a cheese but in fact a cold cut terrine made from the flesh of the pigs head, brain, eyes, and ears removed with the tongue included. I braised the head meat for 5 hours, rolled it in film then left to cool in the fridge until set. With a rich taste and texture similar to a pork pie, this is a truly special cut for an eye catching, meat loving offering!