HOMEMADE HEAD CHEESE

Czech name: Tlačenka

Written by Lenka Brizdalova

This dish is similar to pork aspic (Huspenina or Sulc). Known as Tlacenka, it is basically huspenina but thicker, and includes more meat, chopped liver, and various offal. The traditional method poured the prepared meats into a pig stomach and left them to solidify under weights. Tlacenka is best enjoyed sprinkled with vinegar and served with chopped onions.

Ingredients

5 lb pork meat – should be a bit lardy or with some flesh
4 pig feet
1 pork knuckle
1 lb pork skin
10 black peppercorns
8 whole allspice
3 bay leaves
6 large garlic cloves
3 tsp salt
2 Tbs marjoram

Instructions

Put the pork meat, feet, knuckle, skin, bay leaves, allspice and peppercorns in a large pot, cover with water, and set on the stove to boil.
Take out the meat after around 45 minutes and continue to boil the rest for at least another hour.
De-bone the meat and cut it into 1/2 inch to 1-inch pieces and place it into another pot.
Grind the skin from hooves and knee plus 1 lb of the skin. Place in the pot with the meat along with the garlic and salt. Strain the broth from the other pot and pour over the new pot of meat. Boil it until the meat is soft and shreds easily – around another 15 – 20 minutes.
Scoop out one tablespoon of gelatin out of the pot, place it on a plate, put it in the fridge, and let it cool for 10 minutes to stiffen to see if the mixture is ready. If it does not stiffen, boil it for another 10 minutes to remove the water, and try it again until it stiffens.
Once the sample gets stiff, pour the remaining mixture into special bags – head cheese covers. Tie them on one end, fill it up to 3/4 of the bag and tie the other side.
Put them on a cutting board in the fridge and allow to cool. During the process of cooling, lightly shake the bags a few times.
When it’s cold, remove the mold from the bags, slices, and serve. Add sliced onion and a splash of vinegar.