Queso de Puerco (Chilean head cheese)
Chilean version of head cheese. The same technology is used all over the world, what is different is a selection of spices. In Spanish speaking countries oregano, cumin, vinegar and hot source are usually included, in norther European countries, marjoram and caraway may be added. Garlic is added everywhere.
|Split pork head, or head meat||as needed|
|Pork shoulder (picnic), front leg, feet||as needed|
|White vinegar, aji source*||as needed|
|Carrots, onions, leek, parsley, bay leaf, oregano||as needed|
|Salt, whole black pepper, oregano, diced garlic, cumin||as needed|
- Creating meat stock (gelatin). Immerse meats in pot, add soup greens, bay leaves and whole black peppers and cover with 5 cm (2") of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2-3 until the meat can be separated from bones. If water level drops too much add a little water. Drain the meats and spread on the table to cool. Save the meat stock as this will become the natural gelatin that will hold meats together. Place meat stock in refrigerator. When the meat is still warm but comfortable to work with, separate all meats including snouts, ears, and skins from the bones. If the split heads come with tongue, use it as well. Cut all meats into smaller parts. Recover meat stock from refrigerator and discard any fat from the surface. Add salt, diced garlic, cumin, oregano and aji source to meat stock until you are satisfied with the result.
- Mixing. Start mixing meats gradually adding meat stock. Add some vinegar to taste, this is optional as most people eat head cheese with lemon or vinegar. You cannot spoil the product by adding not enough or too much of the meat stock. Adding more of the stock will produce head cheese with more gelatin, a kind of meat jelly. Some people like more jelly, some like less.
- Stuffing. Fill pork stomach or a large diameter synthetic casing with the mixture. It is usually done with a ladle.
- Cooking. Cook in water at 80° C (176° F) for 90-120 min (depending on the size) until meat reaches 68-70° C (154-158° F) internal temperature.
- Conditioning. Spread head cheeses on a flat surface and let the steam out. Flatten pork stomachs with weight and cool to 6° C (43° F) or lower. Round synthetic casings are not flattened.
- Storing. Clean head cheeses of any fat and aspic that accumulated on the surface. Keep refrigerated.
Eat cold with a roll and lemon juice or vinegar. How you serve head cheese depends much on local customs and preference. * Ají is a spicy sauce that often contains tomatoes, cilantro (coriander), ají pepper, onions, lemon juice and water. If you cannot get it use Tabasco source.