Sunday, August 14, 2011

Head Cheese Hash With Eggs

Head cheese hash and eggs

I cannot describe how good this was.  I coarse ground the head cheese with some already cooked and cooled steamed new potatoes (from the Farmer's Market 'cause mine aren't ready yet), chopped raw onion, chopped raw green pepper, and salt and pepper.  The green pepper and onion gave it a bit of a kick that the head cheese and potatoes alone would have missed.  I sautéed the hash in a cast iron skillet until browned on both sides.  The eggs are from my friend, Helen, who knows a lot about farming.  After all, she and her husband have beef, chickens, garden vegetables and flowers, and many acres of alfalfa.  Also, her mother was a Stump Ranch Pioneer.  No wonder these eggs have such a golden yolk that is as tasty as it looks.  Of course, poaching them in water and salt allowed the richness of the yolk to shine.  The roll was homemade and contained fresh herbs.  The hash was so yummy, that I made a enough to store and have during the short, cold days of winter.  Packed into half-pint canning jars, they will keep for several months in the chest freezer.

Head cheese headed for freezer

In another effort to use up all the head cheese before the next Charcutepalooza challenge, I decided to make a potato "gratin."  I found the original recipe for this Swiss inspired gratin in a magazine that has long since disappeared and it never fails to disappoint through years of different cheeses, herbs, and meats, with the potato remaining unchanged.  The proportions depend always on the amount and kind of cooked meat I have at hand in the fridge.  The potatoes are cooked about three quarters of the way through, cooled, and then shredded in the food processor along with some onion, garlic, and cheese (I used Gruyère for this gratin).  I gave a large dice to the head cheese, and along with the herbs, folded it all together.  The original recipe called for rosemary, thyme, savory, and marjoram and I used all of them, fresh from the garden.  I put all but a bit of shredded Gruyère into a buttered casserole dish, added some cream, put the rest of the Gruyère on top, and baked it in a 350F oven until the top was well-browned, about 30 to 45 minutes, depending upon the depth of the casserole.  For me, it's as much a comfort food as mac 'n cheese.  I always serve it with a light, slightly acidic salad.  In this instance, I do confess with going a bit overboard on the feta.  After a month of head cheese, I guess I was just feeling rather cheesy.

Potato gratin with head cheese

Making head cheese has been a real challenge for me; indeed, more like an initiation rite than just a challenge.  From the first, I jumped into this challenge up to my head, well, the pig's head at least.  I not only survived, but have even thrived on the making of head cheese.  Every month I learn something new, and now, I eagerly await the next Charcutepalooza challenge.

1 comment:

Rachel Sturtz said...

Hi Linda,

Love your blog! I work for KUOW 94.9 in Seattle and we're interested in covering the story of someone who has taken the Charcutepalooza challenge head on. I'd love to talk with you about your experience--would you minding sending me an email?

My email:

Thanks, and keep up the good work!

Rachel Sturtz