Monday, August 15, 2011

Charcutepalooza Binding and I love Bahn Mi


I have to say that this month was a long road from ingredient to finished product. We were going to make the headcheese (again) if it killed me. Finding a pig head was no easy matter this time around. I am stubborn. We drove 2 hours away to a farm. We bought and brought back. We conquered.


First off I have to start at the beginning. I am not good at doing that. I usually just blah blah blah without any real coherent stream of thought. Ok, I will breathe. Asafoetida. No, I didn't sneeze. It is one of my favorite Indian spices. From Wikipedia:

"Asafoetida (Ferula assafoetida), alternative spelling asafetida,( /æsəˈfɛtɨdə/)[1] (also known as devil's dung, stinking gum, asant, food of the gods, giant fennel, hing and ting) is the dried latex (gum oleoresin) exuded from the living underground rhizome or tap root of several species of Ferula, which is a perennial herb (1 to 1.5 m high). The species is native to Persia (Iran) and India[2]. Asafoetida has a pungent, unpleasant smell when raw, but in cooked dishes, it delivers a smooth flavor, reminiscent of leeks."

What? unpleasant smell? No way. I love the smell. No matter that it is also called devil's dung. Ok ok, I need to move on because this post is going to be long enough as it is.

So here is where the warning comes in. Leave now and don't scroll down if you are offended or grossed out by pictures of pigs heads and livers and stuff like that.

{Waving wildly to my baby Parker} Hi little Parker. Grammy loves you!


Starting off tame here. These are chicken livers.


I made a Terrine out of it. It is one of my favorite recipes that I have made many times before. It is a recipe from Vij's Indian Cookbook.


It is pretty straight forwarded. It is made with kale, chicken livers, onions and lots of Indian spices. It is spicy but oh so good. I did change it up a little to make a terrine out of it. Normally it is more of a pate.


I served this to friends (waving to Matt and Marj and of course Sam). I don't think they loved it but that is ok because Dr. Food took the rest of it to work where I think it got eaten. Not everyone loves chicken livers.


It is also really hard to make it look pretty but I did the best I could damnit!


Ok, so there ya have it. You really do have to try it.


Here is Dakota. I will give you one more chance not to look. You are about to see a pig's head in all states of being.


As I said, we drove to Adams Farm to pick up the pigs head. When I called I said "Do you by any chance have a pigs head?" and she said the words that were so sweeeeet. "I just put one in the freezer". Bingo. We drove there the next morning and got it.


Um, yeah. This one got to me. It had such a cute face. The last one we had that we butchered wasn't so cartoon looking. Hm. It did bother me more this time than the first time. The first time we made straight up headcheese. This time I wanted to do something different and seeing that I adore Vietnamese food I decided that that I wanted to make Gio Thu or Vietnamese Head Cheese to go on Bahn Mi.


I saw a couple of recipes online but I ended up winging it. I did loosely follow the recipe on The Ravenous Couple but I added my own stuff to it to cook the head. Lots of ginger, and garlic, Shaoxing wine, and other stuff I can't remember.


Meat done and now time to sort through it for the tasty stuff to be made into headcheese.


After the meat was collected we put it in a pan to heat up and incorporated a few other ingredients.


We actually found fresh woodear mushrooms at H-Mart. I love H-mart because they have everything you could possibly want for Asian food.


We kept the broth for other uses. I am sure we will find other things to use it for.


We then added some scapes, garlic, and the mushrooms. As I learned on Ravenous Couples website cans are lined with plastic bags and packed full of the meat.


We then put weight on it to compact it further as it sat overnight.


I used my blood orange jam to do this since I really don't eat jam anyhow.


Next day we took out of the cans.


I had told my manicurist (shut up, I do get manicures) that I made this. I thought she was going to cry. I promised to give her one of them. I wrapped hers in Banana leaves.


So I was armed with Kewpie Mayo, Maggi Seasoning sauce, homegrown Cucumbers, Daikon and Carrot Pickles that I made, and cilantro and jalapeno. I was ready to make the sandwich. I thank Viet World Kitchen for teaching me how to make the ultimate Bahn Mi.


Luckily the Brazilian market near us sells the perfect roll. They were still hot when I bought them.


I wish I could describe how good this was. I wanted to cry when I tasted it.


But WAIT, there is MORE! So, I had a dream. The dream was putting the headcheese in a won ton wrapper and frying it up.


We bought the won ton wrappers. Give me a break. I was tired. We used the first headcheese we made and also the Vietnamese headcheese we made this time.


We did the obvious. Wrapped and fried.


We only made a few for demonstration and testing purposes.


Were they good?




  1. fun fun fun- what a FUN project. One thing that strikes me as I continue down the path of buying more whole pieces of animal (& whole animal in some cases) rather than disembodied filets is just how many uses you can get out of one thing. I loved your carry-through aspects of this extended piggie feast.

  2. So many things that go through my mind when I read your stuff. You always do that to me. So:

    1. Considering that I think liver and terrines are really gross, if I ever come over, please don't make that for me, ok?
    2. He was smiling. I swear he was. 
    3. I can't believe you took a picture with his eye staring out of the broth. that's gross.
    4. "They were still hot when I bought them." I'd like to say I hate you, but in truth, I'm just that jealous.

    I think that covers it.

  3. I don't think I'd be able to touch the pigs head out of the wrapper. Cringe worthy. I'm not a brave soul like you. Maybe this would be a job for my guy to take over in the kitchen. Haha! I think it's great fun reading about your kitchen adventures. I would like to invite you to visit my blog to enter my giveaway. Check it out if you are interest.

  4. yum...except for the pig eyeball looking at me thru the water. everything else, yum! even the chicken livers! I love them battered and deep fried :)

  5. I will see you in two weeks and expect both of those item sto be on the menu. They look awesome!

  6. The piggy looked like it was swimming when you cooked it in the pot (poor piggy!)
    Dennis's grandma used to wear an asafoetida bag around her neck when she would get a cold to cure it.  I've been hearing about this damned asafoetida bag for years.  I had not idea it was edible.   Miss you, Sis.

  7. Nice one. I wish we could have done a comparison.

  8. I enjoyed this whole post - but I LOVED the photo of the pig's eye looking through the stock. Wonderful! And it made me laugh.

  9. Love it. I may have to try mine inside a sopapilla.

  10. What a great idea David!

  11. I am glad you liked that picture because I think I grossed a whole bunch of people of

  12. I do too. I think we should.

  13. There will be much Charcuterie on the menu!

  14. What an exciting path to one heck of a sandwich. You are an inspiration. GREG

  15. Fried headcheese wontons?? Brilliant!

  16. We are impressed, really impressed! 

  17. Sorry, friend, but I've tagged you to do the 7 links in my latest post. Have fun with it.