It is amazing how many meals you can get from the meat and stock from a pig’s head. This week a single pig’s head has given us stock for split pea soup and a Chinese hotpot, and meat for enchiladas. We have quite a few pigs’ heads as I don’t like anything to get thrown away so the whole pig comes back to us. Yes, I have made head cheese / brawn but there is only so much of this that we will realistically eat and we have about 6 heads a year. Often I give the head to the dog – before you query in an outraged manner ‘but what about the cheeks?’ – these are always taken off first for guanciale or stew. I love my dog, but obviously not that much!
Anyway, last Sunday I decided to boil a pig head …. it seemed an appropriate day for it. I forgot to take a photo of said head, but luckily I had another one in the freezer that I took a picture of today – just for you.
I expected some lovely stock – I was going to make a Chinese pork belly hotpot and wanted some stock, but what I didn’t expect was so much meat. I separated the skin and less yummy looking bits – these are for the dog – and shredded the rest for enchiladas. To make these I added some homemade tomatillo salsa to the meat, made some refried black beans and wrapped a combination of these in a tortilla. I then put some more salsa on top and grated cheese.
Sunday night I made the hotpot – recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall The River Cottage Meat Book (277).
Aromatic Pork Belly Hot Pot: piece of pork belly with the rind still on; 1.5 litres of pork stock; 12 spring onions; 100ml soy sauce; 75ml Chinese rice wine; 25ml rice wine vinegar; 2 tbs brown sugar; 3 star anise; 1cm piece of ginger, peeled and sliced; pinch of chilli flakes.
Cut the belly into small square chunks. Put them in a pan and pour over some boiling water, bring back to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse out the pan. Put the pork back in and cover with hot pork stock. Add the soy sauce, sugar, rice wine, rice wine vinegar, 5 of the spring onions, star anise, ginger and chilli. Bring to the boil and then cover and cook on a very slow heat for a few hours. When the meat is so tender is is about to collapse, remove it and boil down the liquor for a bit. Put the meat in a new pan, strain and add the liquor, add the rest of the spring onions sliced and serve with noodles and some cooked greens – the first night we had it with psb and the next with kale. I love this dish.
Recipe for the soup tomorrow…..