Wolsztyn Head Cheese

Wolsztyn Head Cheese (Salceson Wolsztynski) recipe comes from the official collection of Polish government sausage recipes. Wolsztyn was the city famous for its head cheeses and recently for the annual parade of steam locomotives. The original instructions are listed.
Pork head meat, snouts, jowls150 g5.29 oz
Pork, beef or veal hearts150 g5.29 oz
Pork skins400 g14.1 oz
Pork or veal blood300 g10.58 oz
Ingredients per 1000g (1 kg) of meat
Salt20 g3 tsp
Pepper2 g1 tsp
Allspice, ground1 g1/2 tsp
Garlic3 g1 clove
Onion10 g1 Tbsp
  1. For best quality head cheese it is recommended to cure meats (see notes below). Place meats in boiling water but poach at 90°C (194°F) until semi-soft. Skins should be poached until soft. Spread on a flat surface for cooling.
  2. Cut boiled pork head meat and hearts into 1.5 cm (5/8”) strips. Take ¼ of the previously boiled skins and grind with onion through 3 mm plate. Cut remaining ¾ of skins into 5-6 mm (¼”) strips about 5-6 mm (2-3”) long.
  3. Mix spices thoroughly with all meats and blood.
  4. Stuffing materials: pork stomachs or bladders, beef bungs, large diameter (4 inch) fibrous casings, butcher's twine. Stuff stomachs or bladders loosely and tie or sew the ends with twine.
  5. Poach head cheeses at 85° C (185° F) for 90-180 min (depending on size) until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 68-70°C (154-158°F). Remove air with a needle from pieces that swim up to the surface.
  6. Spread head cheeses on a flat surface at 2-6° C (35-43° F) and let the steam out. Then flatten them with weight and cool them to below 6° C (43° F). If there is no proper cooler available, cool them down to less than 12° C (53° F).
  7. After cooling clean head cheeses of any fat and aspic that accumulated on the surface, even them out and cut off excess twine.

To make 54° SAL (14°Bé) brine add 1.384 lb of salt to 1 gallon of water. Place all meats (no blood) for 3-4 days in brine. Remove from the brine and drain for 12 hours (you can do it overnight). Instead of draining you can soak cured meats in running cold water for about 2-3 hours. Drain.

Finished product as per original recipe:
Flattened pork stomachs, 30 cm (12”) long, about 20 cm (8”) wide and 8 cm (3”) high. Flattened pork bladders in a shape of irregular disk up to 25 cm (10”) diameter and 8 cm (3 “) thick.

To make a head cheese in a traditional way you need meats that are very rich in collagen (connective tissues). Those meats (hocks, skins, jowls, snouts) will produce gelatin which will bind everything together.

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