Head Cheese Recipe - Allrecipes.com
  • READY IN 14 hr

Head Cheese

Recipe by  

"This is a very old recipe handed down in my family through the years. It is almost always made around Christmas. As far as I know, I am the only one left in the family who knows how to make it. It is very time consuming, so be prepared to spend the better part of a day to make it."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 5 loaves Change Servings
  • PREP

    5 hrs
  • COOK

    1 hr

    14 hrs


  1. Place pork hocks, veal shank and salt in large kettle. Cover entirely with water. Bring to full boil then reduce heat to slow simmer. Cook until fork penetrates meat easily. Periodically rearrange meat so it doesn't stick to bottom of kettle. Skim off scum which forms on top of water. Keep adding boiling water to keep meat covered until done.
  2. When meat is done, place on large cookie sheet for cooling. Strain remaining water into another kettle to remove any small bones and other matter; set aside strained water. Place meat on tray and cool. Remove all fat and bones. Dice remaining meat, skin and soft gristle. Add diced meat to strained water. Bring to full boil and reduce to very slow simmer. Add salt to taste at this time. Periodically test mixture to see if it sets by pouring a small amount in a bowl and putting in freezer. Mixture is set when it is the consistency of jello. Add vinegar and nutmeg and remove from heat.
  3. Ladle into bread pans making sure to distribute meat evenly. Fill pans no more than 3/4 full. Leave at room temperature until cool then refrigerate overnight. Next day, unmold onto plastic wrap and double wrap in foil. refrigerate until ready to use. To serve, remove any fat from top of loaves and cut into chunks. Some prefer more vinegar and salt added at this time.
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Reviews More Reviews

May 17, 2008

Looking forward to making this. In response to a previous reviewer, who memtioned that it cane out cloudy. When making this and even chicken soup, wash the meat with cold water and never bring it to a rolling boil. A nice simmer is all you need to get clear gel or broth.

Oct 29, 2005

I tried this recipe and it worked out. Tried others and never set. My mother used to make it but never wrote down how it was done. I cut out the nutmeg and vinegar but added lots of garlic and pepper. One trick I am unaware of though, my mother always had clear gel, my gel on this recipe was cloudy, never the less tasted good and gave me my fix, thanks Don!


6 Ratings

Jul 16, 2010

Very good receipe! I was not sure it would gell propoerly, but it set fine. My issue was that when unmolded, all of the meat had settled to the bottom. Now when you slice it, the bottom 1/2 inches is chock-full-of-meat, and the rest is gel. My only guess is that I may have cut up the ingredients too fine, all being about 1/8 of an inch.

Nov 16, 2013

Kudos to Don. I've been making and eating souse for over 73 years we always made souse and scrapple every time we butchered. My recipe varies slightly from Don's. In addition to the fresh hocks and veal, I boil as many pigs feet as will fit in the kettle without overcrowding. I've never used nutmeg in mine but I'm going to try it next time. I also add some pickling spice, and extra vinegar. Be careful not to boil the kettle hard, just a light simmer until the meat falls off the bone. Occasionally I have to add some unflavored gelatin to get it to set up, not sure why. Like Don, sadly I'm the only one left in my family that likes souse. Just thinking about it is making me hungry, I see a trip to the butcher shop in my future. Dave


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  • Calories
  • 302 kcal
  • 15%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 0 g
  • < 1%
  • Cholesterol
  • 84 mg
  • 28%
  • Fat
  • 23.4 g
  • 36%
  • Fiber
  • 0 g
  • < 1%
  • Protein
  • 21.1 g
  • 42%
  • Sodium
  • 67 mg
  • 3%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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