Make Nathan Foot's Headcheese, from Northern Spy Food Co.
It's a dish some people are afraid to order -- much less make themselves. And yet, if you want to impress your foodie friends, headcheese is a sure slam dunk. Hey, what recipe calling for a pig head wouldn't be? Just ask author and self-proclaimed meat expert Marissa Guggiana, who included this recipe for headcheese by Northern Spy Food Co.'s Nathan Foot in her new book, Primal Cuts: Cooking With America's Best Butchers.
Delicate sensibility? Just call it "pork terrine."
"First we called it headcheese on the menu and it didn't sell," Foot is quoted in the book. "When we put it on as pork terrine, it started going! It may seem even more intimidating to prepare it, but this recipe is straightforward, balanced, and transcendent."
Yield: 1 terrine
2 stalks celery (coarsely chopped)
2 carrots (coarsely chopped)
1 onion (coarsely chopped)
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 cups stock (pork or chicken)
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch rosemary
1/2 teaspoon star anise
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 pig head, about 15 to 25 pounds
1 1/2 cups green pistachios
5 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
2 cups finely chopped parsley leaves
salt and pepper
In a skillet over medium heat, heat the oil and sauté the carrots, onion, and celery until onion is translucent. In a pot large enough to roomily fit your pig head, combine the onion mixture and stock. Add the rest of the braising ingredients. Bring stock to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook about 2 hours, until flavorful. The amount of liquid needed should halfway cover the head and will depend on how large your pot is, so add water if you think it's necessary -- but don't dilute too much, as a lot of the flavor from your terrine comes from this liquid.
In an oven heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, toast the pistachios until lightly golden, and set aside.