Classic jellied brawn

Classic jellied brawn

By
From
Meat
Serves
6
Photographer
Dean Cambray

This is an old-fashioned English dish of chopped cooked meats set in jelly. Traditionally, brawn uses the whole pig’s head – yes, all of it – and I like to throw in a couple of pig’s trotters too. Trotters and head both contain lots of gelatine, which is released by long gentle poaching. The poaching liquid is reduced, then used to set the chopped meat into a delicious jellied glaze.

Serve the brawn as part of a charcuterie or antipasto selection, with pickles, greens and warm crusty bread or crunchy toast.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 pig’s head
2 pig’s trotters
2 onions, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
3 sticks celery, sliced
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup parsley, chopped

Method

  1. To prepare the pig’s head and trotters, first remove any hair with a razor or blowtorch. Place them all in a large stockpot or casserole dish. Add half the vegetables and the bay leaves and cover with cold water. Add the salt and bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer gently, covered, for 3 hours. At the end of the cooking time the meat should be very soft and falling away from the bones.
  2. Remove the pig’s head and trotters from the pot and strain and reserve the poaching liquid. Add the rest of the vegetables to the strained liquid and boil vigorously until reduced by three-quarters, skimming from time to time. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  3. Once the head and trotters are cool enough to handle, remove all the bones and discard them. Use your fingers to break the meat into smallish chunks – retain as much of the skin and eyeballs as you can bear. Mix the parsley into the meat.
  4. Line a 1 litre terrine or circular mould with several layers of plastic wrap, leaving a big overhang. Scatter the shredded meat and parsley in, pressing gently as you go, so there are no air pockets. Pour in enough of the reduced poaching liquid to reach the top of the meat. Bring up the overhang of plastic wrap and fold neatly to cover the surface of the terrine, place a weighted plate or board on top and put in the refrigerator to set.
  5. To serve the brawn, turn it out of its mould onto a platter and cut into slices. Peel away the plastic wrap before serving and accompany with a selection of your favourite pickles.
Tags:
Meat
Adrian
Richardson
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