|Dutch yellow split pea soup with head cheese|
With one pig's head and four ham hocks, I ended up with a large loaf of head cheese for just two people. I tried to give some away, but I've had no takers. Most of them are disgusted by the thought. Some of them even looked at me in disgust. But some thought what I made was great - but that didn't mean they wanted to try it. So, I had to figure out something to do with the head cheese.
Since the head cheese has a flavor that was somewhat like ham, or at least the ham that's left over from making stock, I thought I'd begin with my favorite Dutch soup - yellow split pea. I have a recipe for it from a book titled Dutch Cooking by Heleen A.M. Halverhout. It's a very simple recipe, demonstrating that with fresh ingredients, simple can be delicious. Although the recipe calls for green split peas, I have a love for both yellow and green split peas and since yellows were in the house, they became the split pea of choice. Naturally it calls for water as well as a pig's trotter and a pig's ear. I figured that head cheese was an acceptable replacement for both those ingredients. It also calls for frankfurters, and although I was tempted to use my hot dogs, I had so much head cheese to use that I just made it do double duty. But the following ingredients are what I think makes it so good. It includes potatoes, salt, celeriac, bunch celery, leeks, onions, and more salt. I think it's the double celeries and the double onion family that gives it the most flavor.
I make large batches of soup so that we can freeze some for winter. I have found that 1 pint glass canning jars with a good inch or more of head room (allowing for expansion), make just enough for one person. And in the winter, we love soup. Whether having lunch at home, traveling over to Seattle for a few days, or bringing a lunch with me to school, soup is divine on cold, snowy, wintry days.
|Navy bean soup with head cheese|
Thinking even more about stocking up for winter, I decided to use more head cheese in a Navy Bean soup. I love the small, white navy beans and the soup is basically made up from the beans, a mirepoix mix, and this time, head cheese. It tastes delicious and I even added some of the head cheese gelatin. Between these two soups and some tomato based and/or veggie soups, I should have soup in the freezer until spring arrives!
Of course, I'm still left with more head cheese, so more ideas for all this head cheese will arrive before August 15th!