Boned and rolled pig's head with mashed potato and caper jus

21 January 2011
Boned and rolled pig's head with mashed potato and caper jus

Our seasonal recipe for boned and rolled pig's head with mashed potato and caper jus is taken from First Catch Your Pig, a book put together by the chefs from the award-winning" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Milestone ]( in Sheffield. [See our review of the book here >>

For the pig's head
â- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
â- 4 sticks celery, peeled and chopped
â- 1 star anise
â- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
â- 1 leek (white only)
â- Half a bottle of white wine
â- 2 cloves garlic
â- Water to cover

To serve â- 12 cherry tomatoes, roasted
â- 16 caperberries
â- Mashed potato
â- Reduced veal stock


For the pig's head To bone out the pig's head, run a boning knife from the top of the skull following the bone round one side. Be careful to keep the knife scraping the bone so you don't break the skin. Ensure all the flesh is removed from the cheeks. Repeat on the other side of the head.

Remove the ears from the head and then remove any hairs, either with a razor or a blowtorch. Butterfly the cheek meat and then place half a tongue in each half of head.

Season with salt and then roll up into a sausage shape with the skin on the outside protecting the meat.

Roll up tightly in clingfilm to hold the shape. Place the remaining ingredients in an ovenproof dish and then cover with water. Braise at 140° for 4-5 hours until tender. Take the pig's head out of the cooking liquor and allow to cool slightly.

When cool enough to handle, remove the clingfilm and then roll again tightly in more clingfilm into a neat cylinder. Use enough clingfilm to make it watertight and then place in iced water to cool.

To assemble Slice the pig's head into four portions and then pan-fry on each side to crisp up. Place in the oven at 170°C until hot.

Sit on top of the mashed potato and top with the tomato, caperberries and reduced veal stock.


This is a pretty gutsy dish, nevertheless it is has all this richness through the pig and the mash. It needs a wine that will bring freshness into the dish but at the same time something rustic would go perfectly.

The Cabernet Franc from the Loire: Chinon, Bourgueil or Saumur Champigny could be a great combination as it has the ideal level of acidity and a little bit of tanins which will bring the earthiness needed. As always, producer is key, though there are many good ones nowadays.

Xavier Rousset is sommelier and co-owner of Texture and 28-50 in London

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