Monday, March 05, 2012

Head cheese, Pig brawn, Pacha or Sülze

PachaIt is a peasant food. Does not have to look pretty, is prepared from humble ingredients, but tastes amazing. The poor man's food has to be cheap, filling and nutritious. Low cost, high taste.
Every country has that sort of simple recipes representing the culinary traditions of the native folk. This local dishes are a nice reflection of the taste of the country and people continue preparing them like their mothers and grandmothers did. 
PachaHave you ever heard about head cheese? No? What about pig brawn, pacha, fromage de tête or Sülze? 
Every country has an own name for this dish, but recipe is nearly the same. Parts of pig head and/or pigs trotters, boiled for hours with vegetables and spices, chopped to small pieces, cooled down and packed in a jelly. Refrigerated and served at room temperature. But also delicious served as a hot steaming soup sprinkled with hot pepper flakes and garlic-vinegar sauce. The very fact that so many countries in our industrial society still have it on their menu speaks for itself. It is good.
You have to overcome some prejudices to enjoy this dish at a full. The gelatin contained in the feet and the area behind the ears of the pig sets the brawn. The steps of preparing the dish are time-consuming and your hands will be, hmm, not very clean while you debone the hot feet and cut the ears in thin slices, but it is totally worth it. 
We enjoy Pacha with some mustard and pickled cornichons. At least once every winter.


  • 5 pigs ears
  • 4 pigs feet
  • 4 carrots, peeled
  • 1 onion halved
  • 1.5 l vegetable stock
  • black peppers
  • 100 ml vinegar
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • flakes hot pepper to taste

Wash ears and feet thoroughly and put them in a slow cooker. Add vegetables, black peppers and vegetable broth to cover and simmer for about 2 hours until meats starts to fall from the bones. 
Strain, remove onion pieces, cut carrot into slices, transfer meat to a cutting board and let cool for 30 minutes. Discard bones from the trotters, slice thin and pour into a 3-4 cm deep dish. Place in the fridge overnight. Slice the chilled loaf and serve with pickled cornichons and spread of mustard.

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