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A History Lesson in Head Cheese

Malone’s Fine Sausage has been producing their fabulous gourmet headcheese since 1961. But headcheese has been being made for much longer. During the Middle Ages, headcheese was made by removing all of the organs of a pig’s head. The meat would then be cooked and made into headcheese. The headcheese would jell up due to the natural gelatin in the head. It gained popularity in the American South due to how cheap the cut was as well as being fairly easy to cook. Now days, many companies mix in additional gelatin to their headcheese. Malone’s gourmet headcheese is all-natural additive-free headcheese!

Headcheese is made in many cultures around the world. Take a look at all of the various versions and names from around the world!

Asia

  • China‘pig head meat’ – Cooked, thinly sliced, and served at room temp. Another jellied dish is served with spicy soy sauce and a vinegar mixture consisting of crushed garlic and red chili powder.
  • Koreapyeonyuk (편육), - It’s made of pressed meat from the head. It is a dish that is often accompanied with alcohol or served for a feast or banquet.
  • Vietnamgiò thủ – A traditional snack with garlic, scallions, onions, black fungus, fish sauce, and cracked black pepper. It is wrapped in banana leaves and pressed in a wooden mold until the gelatin from the ears form. Often made for the New Year’s celebration.

Europe

  • AustriaPresswurst or Schwartamaga.
  • Bulgariaпача (pacha) - It includes other organs while heavily seasoned with garlic.
  • Croatia- (a) hladetina- General version. (b) tlačenica – Strongly seasoned version. (c) Švargla- Variant where the parts are stuffed in the pig’s stomach before cooking.
  • Czech Republic – (a) Huspenina or sulc (from German Sülze) – Made with onion, pepper, allspice, bay leaf, vinegar, salt, carrot, parsley, root celery and sometimes eggs(b) Tlačenka- Often made with more meat like liver. It is then put in a prepared stomach and eaten with chopped onions and sprinkled with vinegar.
  • Scandinavian (except Finland)Sylte, Sylta, or alaåbOriginally made with a pig head, but now commonly uses forequarters with allspice, bay leaves, and thyme. Part of the Christmas smörgåsbord served on rugbrød (Rye sourdough) or lefse (potato flatbread) with mustard and pickled beetroots. Rullepølse (Denmark/ Norway) and Rullsylta (Sweden) are rolled versions containing less gelatin.
  • Estonia Sült – Similar to the German recipe, but usually less seasoned and higher quality meat, carrots and greens are commonly added. A festive Christmas dish that is sold all year long.
  • Finlandsyltty, tytinä or aladobi
  • France fromage de tête, tête pressée, tête fromagée, or pâté de tête
  • Germany Sülze, Schwartenmagen or Presskopf – This popular version has tangy flavor due to pickles and vinegar. There are a couple of kinds that have blood, beef toungue, or aspic. (b)Saurer Pressack – In the region of Franconia, this variant is served in a vinaigrette salad. (c Presssack – Bavaria – 3 varieties (deep red, pinkish, and grey) in a 15cm- diameter sausage.
  • Hungary- malacarc, disznósajt or disznófősajt – This version starts with slices of meat, spices, paprika, and bacon cooked in spicy stock. This stock is then stuffed in a stomach, pricked with needles, and then pressed down with weights to remove excess fat to make it compact. Often smoked.
  • Iceland Sviðasulta- A sheep head is used instead of pig and it is cured in lactic acid.
  • Italy (a) Testa in cassetta – A cold cut that is prominent in the city of Genoa. (b)coppa di testa - A version in which it is common to put orange peel pieces in it or serve in a salad with oranges and black olives.
  • Latvia - Galerts – This headcheese is made with carrots and celery, which are suspended in the gelatin. Horseradish and/or vinegar are sometimes poured over the headcheese before serving.
  • LithuaniaKošeliena (pulp) or šaltiena (cold)Mostly consists of feet, but occasionally has other meats added.
  • Netherlands & Belgium - (a) Zult – A Belgian version that is made with blood, vinegar, and a pig foot for gelatin. (b) hoofdkaas – A variant that is eaten on bread or with a regional sausage as a starter. There are 3 kinds: red (similar to Zult), sweet, and slightly sour grey. (c) preskop contains black pepper and eaten on whole-wheat bread.
  • Poland (a) salceson- A Black variant contains blood, while a white version is made with mixture of seasoned meats without blood. (b) ozorkowy – A style which uses tongue as main source of meat.
  • Portugal - cabeça de xara
  • Romania- (a) tobă or caş de cap de porc Made as a wide sausage which usually has 4 inch diameter.  (b) piftie – A jelly that is made with garlic and bay leaves. Pig’s feet are added for gelatin before it is cooled to make a jelly.
  • Russia & Ukraine – kovbyk (ковбик –Ukraine), saltisón (салтисон) or holodets (холодец) – Popular in these countries but often viewed as a festive food. In the Jewish community, Beef and sheep are substituted for swine.
  • Slovakia- (a) tlačenka– Parts other than the head are added and stuffed in stomach with garlic, paprika, black pepper, and usually smoked. Served with sliced onion, vinegar, and bread. (b) Huspenina – This type contains less meat and more gelatin than tlačenka. It is comparable to a pork jelly.
  • Slovenia- žolca or tlačenka – “pressed-one”
  • Spain cabeza de iabali- “boar’s head”
  • UK brawn or pork cheese (England & Wales), potted heid (Scotland).

Caribbean

  • St. Vincent and Barbados – Souse – Pickled meat that commonly uses the feet. The meat is cut into bite-sized pieces and pickled in brine consisting of water, lime juice, cucumber, hot pepper, and salt.
  • Trinidad and Tobago- Often made for special events and festivals.

Latin America

  • Brazil(a) queijo de porco – A version that is very popular among gaucho population. (b)Sülzé – Common in the German-colonized cities because it follows the German recipe Sülze.
  • Chile and Colombiaqueso de cabeza
  • Mexico- queso de Puerco
  • Peru, Ecuador, and Costa Rica- queso de chancho
  • Uruguay queso de Cerdo
  • Panama sao (from souse) – made with pig’s feet and made similar to Caribbean dish.

Oceania

  • Australia- brawn or presswurst – similar to the UK version.

 

North America

  • American South- Souse or head cheese – A Cajun food commonly made with green onions and vinegar. A pig foot is added for gelatin to help the headcheese sit.
  • Pennsylvania  Called Souse in the Penn Dutch dialect – The Penn Germans make their souse with pig’s feet and tongue, then pickled with sausage.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador- brawn- A variant of the UK version that commonly is made with wild game.
  • Quebec- tête fromagée – A commercialized product that is sold along with a pork spread called cretons.
  • New Brunswick- head cheese – A pork spread, seasoned with onion, salt, and summer savory.
  • Milwaukee, WI – Malone’s Gourmet headcheese is a rendition of the Cajun souse. Unlike souse, Malone’s doesn’t add any additional gelatin or fillers.  

 sources : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head_cheese