Recipe: Fromage de Tête

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Recipe: Fromage de Tête

Postby aris » Sat Jan 14, 2006 11:38 am

Posted by Oddley

Recipe By: Jane Grigson


Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery

Jane Grigson wrote:
Fromage de Tête

� pigs head------2 sprigs parsley
1 trotter-----------2 sprigs thyme
2 onions-----------8 peppercorns
2 carrots----------2 tablespoons wine vinegar
2 leeks------------Water to cover
2 cloves garlic----� bottle white wine
2 bay leaves------lemon juice to taste
To finish � -------toasted breadcrumbs, parsley

Half a pig's head makes enough for the average family; but try and acquire the whole brain for a separate dish. Ask the butcher to chop the head into two or three bits, so that it will fit easily into a pan.
Put the pig's head and trotter into the brine tub, page 185, if you have one ready. This makes a great improvement in the flavour of the brawn. Even twenty-four hours makes a difference; if you leave them there for two or three days you will need to bring them to the boil in a pan of cold water to draw off excessive salt before you start the proper cooking.

You can cook several trotters at once with the head, to be eaten on another occasion. If you do this, bind them up tightly in cheesecloth so that they keep their shape. Reckon five hours cooking time.
Once you've drawn off the salt and thrown away the scummy water, add all the other ingredients to the meat in the pan, except the wine and lemon juice. See that the new water really does cover all the meat. Bring slowly to the boil, and wedge the lid on tightly. Use silver foil, and a weight (I have a lump of red rock for this) to keep the lid down.

Simmer as gently as you can for four to eight hours. The length of time will depend on your success in keeping the simmer down to a bare bubble. The slower and steadier the better. Do this on a low heat, or in a low oven. The meat is cooked when it drops easily off the bone.

No salt yet. Wait until you've drained off the liquid, put � of a pint of it into a clean pan with the white wine, and boil it down to � of a pint again. Then taste, and season with salt and lemon juice if you think it needs further sharpening. The point of this operation is to make a well-flavoured jelly. Remember that cold food loses flavour, so allow for this. The secret is to keep tasting the liquid as it reduces.

Meanwhile pick out the meat from the solid remains. Throw the bones and vegetables away. Keep the tongue whole, chop the rest of the meat into smallish dice. There's no short cut to this. Whatever you do, don't put the meat through the mincer, or you'll end up with a nasty jellied mush. Season the meat with spices � quatre-epices if possible, otherwise a mixture of allspice, cloves and nutmeg. Don't overdo it.

Add the meat to the pan of reduced bouillon, simmer very slowly for twenty minutes. Taste again, and put the pan in the larder to cool down. Keep tasting as it cools and correct the seasoning. Just before it sets, put a layer of chopped meat in the loaf tin, add the tongue whole along the middle, and then add the rest of the chopped meat. Spoon off some of the liquid if you think there's too much of it.

When the fromage has set, unmould it and cover with home-toasted breadcrumbs, not the yellow commercial ones. Put a few slices of white bread in the oven to dry to a pale brown. Crush them between sheets of greaseproof (or in a pestle and mortar), then press them gently onto the fromage when they are nearly cold. Surround with parsley, and put the dish in the refrigerator to chill.
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