Jambon Persillé (French Parsley Head Cheese or Brawn)
But you need pig’s trotters for this recipe and where we used to live no butcher had ever thought of even selling it. Here in Spain trotters are very often for sale so here’s my chance!
I truly loved preparing this dish. What a challenge! The portion you end up with is not that big but more than enough for the two of us. Make sure you cut the head cheese up using a very sharp knife or you risk tearing it apart. We have a meat slicer here at home, worked like a charm.
I served this dish as an entree for my English neighbours and it was only then that I learned that they don’t call it ‘head cheese’ in the UK but ‘brawn’. Mental note!
Love ham hocks? Then also check out my 15 bean soup with shredded ham hock!
- 3 lbs ham hock (1,3 kg)
- 1 large pig trotter
- 7 cups water (1,75 l)
- 1 stalk fresh celery chopped
- 1 medium fresh carrot chopped
- 5 garlic cloves peeled
- ½ small onion peeled
- 5 bay leaves
- 2 cloves
- 6 dried juniper berries
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 4 handfuls fresh parsley chopped
- 3 tbsp red wine vinegar or lemon juice
- 2 tbsp salt
- Add the ham hock, pig trotter and bay leaves to a large pan.
Then add the chopped celery, carrot, onion, garlic, cloves, peppercorns, juniper berries and salt.
- Add the water. The ingredients should be fully submerged. Place the pan over high heat and bring the ingredients to a boil for 10 minutes. Then turn the heat lower and put a lid on the pan. Cook the ham and trotter for 2 hours.
- Then turn the heat off and let it all cool. Remove the ham hock and trotter. Strain the broth and discard the cooked vegetables.
- Pour 3 cups (720 ml) of the broth in a pan again and bring it to a boil.
- Let the broth reduce by half. It should thicken a little. In the meantime pick the meat off the ham hock. There’s no meat in the trotter. Discard any skin, bones, cartilage and fat. In the end I had 1 ⅓ lbs (600 g) of meat.
- Shred the boiled ham roughly. Combine the shredded ham and parsley in a mixing bowl. Add pepper and salt to taste.
- Then coat a small baking dish with several layers of cling film and fill it with the ham and parsley mixture. Press well.
- Then pour the reduced ham broth on top. Let the broth sink slowly. It can take some minutes until the broth has reached the bottom of the dish.
- Let it all cool for an hour at room temperature. Then wrap the cling film hanging from the sides around the ham and put it in the fridge to set. Place a heavy weight on top of it. Let the headcheese rest in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours. Unwrap it and slice the ham up into thick slices. Serve cold.