No, it is not your average dairy cheese.
In fact, there is nothing dairy about head cheese.
Ironic, isn’t it?
Well, if you haven’t heard about the famous head cheese and wondering, “what does head cheese taste like?” we’re here to help.
This meat dish has been a delicacy all around Europe since the middle ages and will blow your mind with its weird texture yet very wholesome flavors.
Read on as we delve deeper into its taste profile, what this spectacular dish is made of, and how you can cook and serve it.
What is Head Cheese?
This delicacy, head cheese, originated from European countries, and it is a meat-based dish that is cooked, turned into a jelly-type form, kept in a cool environment, and served on its own or with sandwiches and bread.
After it became popular as a great meat dish, there have been many variations in how it is made.
But the traditional style of creating this beautiful dish consists of removing everything inside the pig’s head, including the organs, and cooking only the flesh or meat of the head.
Since there is high structural protein content, also known as collagen, in a pig’s head, gelatin is formed once you simmer it down, which binds the meat together into its jellied form.
The traditional head cheese usually appears grey, but today, with the food coloring they add to this dish, they appear rather red and not grey.
Most people also prefer adding the tongues, feet, and hearts of the pig into the mixture for an even more enhanced fulfillment and texture.
What Does Head Cheese Taste Like?
While there are numerous variations of head cheese in modern times, we can be clear about one thing.
Nothing beats the classics.
The several hours of cooking it takes for the meat to release enough gelatin do their job favorably, making this incredible meat dish taste extremely flavorful and meaty.
Not only is it exceedingly tender, but head cheese is also usually used as a spread because of its richness.
You might feel like you’re eating bacon since this meat cut has the resemblance and taste but in a jelly-like form.
However, even if they taste flavorfully porky, the way you cook head cheese often has a lot to do with its taste profile.
For instance, “souse,” its alternative name, consists of preparing the pork in a pickled form along with vinegar.
While this method helps preserve and enhance the savory taste profile of the head cheese, it also adds a mild sourness to it.
Another way head cheese taste may vary through the seasonings and herbs used in the preparation or cooking time.
Most chefs may prefer using their own various spices, and the meat dish would be packed with intense flavors like mildly tangy, peppery, or extra hot, depending on the occasion and their preferences.
The different types of meat cuts added to it also contribute to its taste profile.
But whatever the case, the traditional way of cooking head cheese is simple, doesn’t need artificial or natural ingredients to enhance the savory pork, and packs the most flavor.
How to Cook and Serve Head Cheese?
The traditional way of cooking head cheese is not hard to cook as you might think.
All you need is a little dedication and love for the craft, and you’ll have yourself the perfect flavorful pork head cheese readily served with your favorite side.
Follow the easiest steps of cooking the meat until it falls off the bones (head); you can also use meat parts like the tongue, feet, etc., to give it more gelatin or add flavor.
Making it into a jelly takes a while since it needs to cool off, but you simply pour the broth used for cooking the meat into a small tin or whichever box you prefer together with the meat.
Close it and place something heavy on top and let it cool.
This is one of the easiest recipes you can follow, and you can even add spices and herbs to enhance the already savory pork dish.
Once everything is done, let it come to room temperature before you eat it and serve it as a side or a spread in sandwiches.
You can also serve it with hot toasted buns and sauces on the sides.
However, if you’re not up for the task, you can order some packed head cheese from local retailers and have the best experience.
Head cheese is insanely popular for all the right reasons.
They are extremely flavor-packed, go well with most dishes, and are here to take your palate on the ultimate journey of finding your next favorite recipe.
It is true that most people would stop in their tracks upon hearing what this meat dish is made of, i.e., pork head, or would be fascinated by its uniqueness and dive straight into tasting it.
We advise you to choose the latter route and experience the joy this meat dish brings to the table.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is head cheese tasty?
Yes, head cheese can be tasty. It is made with a variety of ingredients including pork, veal and beef heads, along with spices like black pepper and allspice.
The combination of these flavors creates a unique, rich taste that is both savory and sweet.
Head cheese can be served cold as part of an appetizer or snack platter, or served hot as a main dish.
In either case, it is sure to please the palette of any lover of delicious yet exotic food!
Do people still eat head cheese?
Yes, head cheese is still a popular dish all around the world. In Europe and the Americas, it has been served for centuries as both an appetizer or main course.
It can also be found in Latin American cuisine, often as part of a larger meal.
In Asia, variations of head cheese are more commonly known as jelly meat or white pudding.
No matter where you are, head cheese is still a delightful and unique dish that can be enjoyed by all.
What does head cheese pair well with?
Head cheese pairs particularly well with other savory dishes such as roasted vegetables, cooked potatoes or fried noodles.
It can also go great with a variety of salads, especially those that contain more robust ingredients such as beets, olives or tomatoes.
A classic accompaniment for head cheese is crusty bread, which can help soak up all the wonderful flavors and seasonings found in the dish.
Moreover, a cold glass of beer or cider can help bring out even more of its rich flavor.
All in all, head cheese is a delicious and versatile dish that can be enjoyed with many different sides!
Is head cheese healthy to eat?
Yes, head cheese can be healthy to eat depending on the ingredients used and how it is prepared.
It’s typically made with leaner cuts of meat, such as pork or veal heads, which are low in saturated fat and high in protein.
Furthermore, due to the combination of spices used, it also contains antioxidants that help protect against free radicals and other illnesses.
As long as it is consumed in moderation and without excessive added fats, head cheese can be a nutritious part of any balanced diet.
What country eats head cheese?
Head cheese is a popular dish in many countries around the world. In Europe, it can be found in Germany and Austria, as well as other Eastern European countries.
In Latin America, head cheese is a key ingredient in traditional dishes such as chorizo con cabeza and sesos con salsa.
It’s also commonly served in Asian restaurants, under the name of jelly meat or white pudding.