The King of Pork is back with the perfect recipe for your next medieval backyard festival.
By Lars Hinnerskov Eriksen
This column is an insult to columns. Pig of the Week? More like Pig of the Year. But enough about my failings and inconsistent contributions. I have a truly memorable event to report on: the cooking of a whole pig’s head.Yes, the whole head, chopped in two. Not just the cheeks or the ears. The whole swine shebang – brains, snout, strange unidentifiable glands and fatty glory holes – braised off with beans, wine, and some spuds.
My previous encounter with a pig’s head was at St. John Bread & Wine in London, where their head chef (no pun intended, but that title never seemed more apt), Lee Tiernan, served it with black pudding, beans and golden, crispy skin. So, in order to honour the proud animal I consulted Lee for some tips and direction on the cooking.
As an addition to the recipe from the second of the St. John cookbooks, Lee suggested boiling the head for a few minutes to clear off the worst filth, and then brine or salt it overnight. We went for salt, but you could also marinate the whole mug in Breton cider, according to our headmaster.
One final thing to consider; our butcher offered to remove the gnarly bottom of the ear and the eye. But after he had done this to the first half of the head, the pig looked a bit manhandled and sad. So for the second half we decided to keep things intact; just as God had intended this glorious animal to look.Print
Lars Hinnerskov Eriksen lives in Copenhagen where he writes about food and football for the Guardian newspaper. Prior to that he spent 10 years in London where he studied journalism, worked on the Guardian’s newsdesk and enjoyed a passionate love affair with British food culture (stop sniggering at the back) and the pub.