The keys to good braun are good stock and a good press. Most people get access to good stock but braun presses are hard to come by these days. You can rig one up with a bread loaf tin, cardboard and a bucket of water.
- 1 whole pig’s head (keeping tongue and ears whole)
- 200 g salt
- enough water or stock to cover
- 1 tbsp peppercorns
- 1 tbsp juniper berries
- 5 bay leaves
- 3 onions, roughly chopped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Brining time overnight
Cooking time 6 hours
You will need to begin this recipe 2 days ahead.
First, bone the pig’s head – you can ask the butcher to do this for you (see Note). Add the salt to a bucket big enough to fit your pig’s head. Mix the salt with water, then submerge the pig’s head and refrigerate overnight.
Take out the pig’s head and rinse under cold water, then place it into a big stainless steel pot. Add the peppercorns, juniper berries, bay leaves and onion and cover with water or stock. Bring the pot up to a boil on a high heat then turn it down to a rolling simmer on a low heat.
After 6 hours, check the head with a knife tip – if it slides through easily, then remove from the heat. Once it has cooled down, remove the head and start to strip all the spices from the skin. Dice the meat into 1 cm cubes or larger, keeping the tongue to the side. While you are dicing the meat, place the stock back on high heat to reduce down, making sure you still have enough for the press. This should only take about 20 minutes.
Line the base of the braun mould with plastic wrap to make it easier to remove it from the mould after pressing. Slice the tongue thinly and lay it evenly on the base of the mould. (When you slice the braun, the tongue will be on top for garnish.) Put all the dice meat into the press and then strain just enough liquor on top to cover the meat. (With the stock, you just want to cover each piece, too much stock will squeeze out of the press and the meat won’t stick together.) Cover the top with the plastic wrap that is hanging out of the press, then press the mould overnight in the fridge.
Serve the braun sliced thin or thick, depending on your taste. I like to serve it with crusty bread and good mustard. It can keep in the fridge up to 1 week.
• You can do this with a whole pig’s head I chose to bone it out to save time picking the meat off.