Pigs’ Feet and Calf’s Tongue Head Cheese

This traditional German head cheese recipe comes from The Art of German Cooking and Baking by Lina Meier, 1922.

  • 4 pigs’ feet
  • 2 calves’ tongue
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/8 pt. of white wine
  • 3 tbsp of vinegar
  • Some salt
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp. of meat extract*
  • 1 sour pickle, cut into small pieces
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 4 peppercorns
  1. Pigs’ feet and calves’ tongues are cleaned well, put on to boil with the water, salt, pepper, onion, bay leaf. Cover the pot and boil until well done, then take the skin off the tongue and cut it with the rest of the meat into small pieces. Strain the bouillon and add vinegar, lemon juice, wine and meat extract. Put the meat into a dish, pour the bouillon on and set to cool. **
  2. Then turn it out on a platter and serve with head lettuce or potato salad, vinegar and oil, mayonnaise dressing or with fried potatoes.
* meat extract is highly concentrated meat stock, usually made from beef. It is used to add meat flavor in cooking, and to make broth for drinking.

** If you want to produce a head cheese sausage:
Stuff the meat and 10-20% meat stock (bouillon) into pork stomach or 100 mm synthetic casing.
Cook in water at 85° C (185° F) for 90-180 min (depending on size) until meat reaches 68-70° C (154-158° F) internal temperature. Remove air with a needle from pieces that swim up to the surface.
Spread head cheeses on a flat surface and let the steam out. Flatten stomachs with weight and cool to 6° C (43° F) or lower. Clean head cheeses of any fat and aspic that accumulated on the surface, even them out and cut off excess twine.

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