The inspiration for this dish comes first with my absolute love for anything pork and also the depth of flavour and textures the head of the pig gives you. The first time I ever tasted pig’s head was Anthony Demetre's famed pig’s head while cooking at the Taste of London. Since then I have come up with many different ways and forms of cooking the pig’s head. This particular dish is everything I love in the finer side of cooking. The look of the finished dish is simple and sophisticated, there is no overcrowding and there is nothing on the plate that doesn't need to be there. The terrine itself is the star, a deep rich porky flavour with a slight crunch from the gentle frying and a melt in the mouth middle. It's nestled on a roasted shallot puree, with poached West Australian yabby on top, and pig’s brain, poached then fried, to cleanse the palette. I have also added a parsley puree, thinly sliced radish and a nasturtium leaf. "This dish is pure decadent richness, an homage to the magical animal, the pig. The flavours are bold and the fat content quite high, so the accompanying wine needs to bring both a bit of body and cleansing acidity to the party. The mind immediately goes to Chardonnay. Did I already mention how good Aussie Chardonnay is at the moment? The best ever, in fact. From Mornington to Yarra to Hunter to Adelaide Hills to Margaret River, you’re completely spoiled for choice. This Nepenthe drop has some creamy richness and savoury and stone fruit flavours, as well as really crisp citrus acidity on the finish – perfect to refresh your palate after each luxurious bite." - Dan Coward
- 5–7 kg pig’s head
- 800 g sugar
- 1.2 kg salt
- 24 juniper berries
- 24 cloves
- 24 black peppercorns
- 6 bay leaves
- 8 litres water
- 100 g pork dripping, lard or butter
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1tsp black pepper
- 1tsp ground mace
- 1tsp ground cloves
- 1tsp all spice
- 1tbsp oregano
- 1 litre pig’s blood
- 140 g polenta
- 10 g sea salt
- 240 g back fat, finely diced
- 1 leek, diced
- 2 sticks celery, diced
- 4 onions, diced
- 2 garlic bulbs
- 1 bunch thyme
- 50 g cassia bark
- 4 bay leaves
- 10 g black peppercorns
- 10 g mustard seeds
- 750 ml sherry
- 4 pig’s trotters
- 6 litres chicken stock
- 500 g pigs' brains, washed thoroughly
- 1litre chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 sprigs thyme
- 3 eggs
- 300 ml milk
- 250 g flour
- 250 g panko breadcrumbs
- 10 yabbies (marron or lobster will also be fine)
- 10 shallots, thinly sliced
- 100 g butter
- 5 g Murray River pink salt
- 1 bunch parsley, picked, washed
- 500 ml ice water
- baby radish, thinly sliced, reserved in ice water
- nasturtium leaves
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.
Drink Nepenthe Pinnacle Ithaca Chardonnay 2010, Adelaide Hills, SA
Start making the brine for the pig’s head. Add all of the ingredients into a large pot, bring to the boil then let it cool completely before adding any meat.
Ask your butcher to debone the pig’s head for you. Put the meat from the pig’s head into the brine and leave overnight or for at least 2 hours.
To make the blood pudding, over a low heat, fry the onion and garlic in the dripping until soft but without colour. Add the herbs and spices, and cook until fragrant. Pour in the blood and polenta. Stir over a medium heat until the consistency of runny porridge. Remove from the heat and stir in the back fat. Pour into a bread tin lined with cling wrap and cover with foil.
Cook in a water bath in an oven at 130°C for 1–1½ hours. Test with a skewer and if it comes out clean, it is ready.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
In a large pot slowly sweat the leek, celery and onion until soft. Add the garlic, thyme, cassia bark, bay leaves, peppercorns and mustard seeds. Add the sherry and deglaze. Reduce the liquid to a glaze then add the pig’s head and trotters. Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil.
Cover the head with parchment paper and cook in the oven for 4–6 hours or until the meat falls apart.
Once cooked, allow to cool then pull all the meat apart and place in a separate bowl. Add the onions and garlic from the braise and season. Fold through 150 g of the blood pudding and press into a terrine mould or loaf tin, and refrigerate to set overnight.
To serve, gently take the terrine out of the mould. Cut into ten pieces, lightly dust with flour and pan-fry with a little oil until golden.
To make the pigs' brains, preheat the deep-fryer to 180°C.
Cut the brains into 10 even portions and roll in cling wrap to form an air tight cylinder. In a large pot add the stock, bay leaves and thyme. Add the brains, and bring to the boil. Allow to cool.
Once cool, whisk together the eggs and milk. Take the brains out of the cling wrap. Dust in the flour, then into the egg mix, and finish in the panko breadcrumbs. Dip the crumbed brains back into the egg and milk mix, then in the panko breadcrumbs again, making sure it is evenly crumbed. Lower the brains into the deep-fryer and cook until golden.
Bring a large salted pot of water to the boil. Add the yabbies and cook for 3 minutes, then plunge into ice water. Once cool, remove the head and shell to reveal the tail and set aside. When serving, heat the yabby in some shellfish bisque (or a little butter).
To make the shallot puree, preheat oven to 150°C.
Place the butter, salt and shallots in an ovenproof pot and roast for 1½ hours until golden and soft. Once cooked, blend in a food processor until smooth.
To make the parsley puree, bring a pot of water to the boil. Add the parsley and cook for 2 minutes. Plunge into the iced water. Blend the parsley and water for 2 minutes, and then pour the liquid into a muslin cloth. Keep the green puree on the top, and discard the liquid.
To assemble, smear the shallot puree on the plate. Place the terrine on top, followed by the yabby, one slice of radish and nasturtium leaf. Place the brains alongside and drizzle a few dots of parsley puree around the plate.