Nearly every month, the Charcutepalooza challenge becomes a challenge just getting the proper ingredients. Nowhere in my town is pork belly, fatback, beef bung or duck breasts. Not this month. This month, the main ingredient is easily found …
Where I live, they sell pig heads in the regular grocery store. They are plentiful and inexpensive. They are also not ever going to be in my kitchen! Ever.
It’s funny that the night before the challenge was issued, my husband asked me what I would do if we were ever to have to make headcheese. I laughed and said, “Of course, I would do it” and hoping I would never have to make good on that comment. Next day, there it was staring me right in the face. A challenge to make headcheese. I believe with all my heart there is no reason to make, nor eat headcheese. I live in a first world country and I don’t need that in my life, right??
Reading the challenge post, I was so grateful to not have to actually do that. We were given an out; a pass on the head boiling. A reprieve. In substitution, we could use trotters. Trotters are just what you think they are. Pig feet. I’ll take it!
Simply said, the trotters contain a great amount of collagen and collagen is that which makes gelatin. Jello. That jiggly, kid-friendly staple is gelatin.
Making the stock with the trotters was just the same as any other stock; it was just a whole lot more ‘aromatic.” I was surprised at how unappetizing the smell was and there were lots of jokes around the house about the foot jello I was making and how the whole house smelled of feet. Yeah, I live in a house of clowns.
When finished, strained and chilled I had about a pint of gelled pork juice. I was so impressed that it all turned out and I didn’t even have to add any packaged stuff…this was the real deal! And it tasted pretty darned good. I had so many ideas of what to do with it!
I made this Roasted Vegetable Terrine using a Portabello Mushroom, Red and Yellow Bell Peppers, Jalapenos, Red Onion, Eggplant and Summer Squashes. I carefully layered them in a appropriately-sized dish and poured a mixture of spicy tomato juice (à la Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Bloody Mary Mix) and warmed pork gelatin that I had tested in the fridge to make sure it would set. Chill overnight and cut thinly. It was truly delicious with a spicy brown mustard and served on sliced baguette.
Chile Verde Terrine Wrap
with Cilantro Green Goddess Dressing
1 lb. lean, boneless pork, diced
1 small can green enchilada sauce
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
1/2 roasted bell pepper
1/2 onion, chopped
1 c. cooked rice
2 T. roasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 – 1 roasted jalapeno, chopped
1/2 c. pork gelatin, slightly warmed
1 1/2 c. spicy tomato juice
Combine onion, pork and enchilada sauce in a covered, ovenproof dish. Cook in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes or until the meat is very tender. Lightly shred the pork and allow to cool.
Combine the remaining ingredients (except for gelatin and juice) with the pork. Spray a loaf pan or other container with cooking spray and add the pork mixture to the pan, pressing tightly. Combine the gelatin and juice and pour over the pork mixture, making sure it goes down all the sides and covers all the mixture. Chill overnight. Invert your terrine and release it from the pan.
Cilantro Green Goddess Dressing:
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. sour cream
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 limes, juiced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth and creamy.
Slice the terrine thinly and lay on a small flour tortilla. Add lettuce, tomato and avocado. Drizzle liberally with the dressing.
Now that this challenge is over, I have to admit to a begrudging respect for the whole process…yes, that includes headcheese. While I am glad to be moving on, I really see great value in knowing how this works and in knowing how to use every lovely pig bit and bite.