Love is headcheese made by mom

I came into a dozen lovely Tamworth pig’s heads recently, and my mom very graciously let me store them in the big chest freezer in her barn.  I told her that she was welcome to use some, and she promptly made a delicious Danish-style sylte, or as it’s known here in the states: headcheese.

mom's headcheese on crusty bread with cucumbers

Headcheese. Lunch. Good!

Last night after our dinner & movie night (one documentary on Pompeii, and one on Edwardian farming), she sent me home with a nice big chunk.  Today has been busy with the exciting 迪庄芥菜籽 Jule project, and kitchen cleaning, and making the 山胡桃木熏烤杏仁坚果 Jule project (sneaky!) and my back is killing me and I’m tired and now I’m tired AND hungry, and then I remember I’ve got that lovely bit of headcheese in the fridge.  Moments later I’m on the sofa with a tall glass of cold beer, some sylte on my own crusty bread, a bit of mustard, and some cucumber sticks.  Simple,  delicious and satisfying.  Tak mor 🙂

Update:  A few folks have asked for mom’s sylte (headcheese) recipe, so here it is, transcribed from her cookbook called Det Danske Landkøkken (The Danish Farm Kitchen)


  • 1 pig’s head
  • 1 kilo veal shoulder or pork shoulder
  • water
  • salt
  • 1 onion
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 tsp peppercorns

Other spices which are optional:

  • allspice
  • thyme

For sprinkling between layers:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 tsp allspice

Scrub and rinse the pig’s head with salt water.  In a pot in which the pig’s head can fit comfortably, cover with water and add salt, the onion, and spices.  Bring to a boil and then lower to a very gentle simmer and cook the head for an hour.  Add the veal or pork shoulder and simmer for a further 2 to 3 hours, until the meat is giving and falling from the bones.  Skim scum frequently, especially in the first two hours.

When the meat is cooked, lift it out of the pot-liquor and pick all the meat off the head, and chop it and shoulder meat into small pieces.  In a terrine pan or in a long loaf pan, place a layer of fattier meat, and then a layer of leaner meat, etc., until all the meat is used.  In between layers, sprinkle the salt, pepper, and allspice.  Fill the loaf pan or terrine mold up with pot liquor until nearly full, and place a lid or saran-wrapped piece of cardboard on top to keep the meat submerged.  Place (carefully) in refrigerator until stiff & jiggly.

Serve with good Danish-style rye bread, strong mustard, and pickled beets.

Cheers og glædelig jul 🙂


About mosaica

Ugly & fabulous, warm & obsessive, brilliant & dorkmeisterish: striving to be a warrior in her little context.
This entry was posted in charcuterie, extremities, nose-to-tail, pork. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Love is headcheese made by mom

  1. Lise Meares says:

    Iny chance at getting your MOM’s recipe. Gladely Jul

  2. mosaica says:

    There you go, Lise 🙂

  3. Karl says:

    I have looked for a copy of Det Danske Landkøkken (The Danish Farm Kitchen) in english but was not able to locate anything.

    Is this in english and can I acquire a copy?

    thank you


  4. Karen says:

    I am glad she loves you that much ^^


  5. Janis says:

    When I lived in Florida, hogs head cheese was my favorite thing. The poorer natives (called “crackers” ) made it on the weekends. Its amazing what you can do with a pig head and nylon stockings! We ate it with Ritz and root beer. Delicious!!!
    Very nice blog. Unusual recipes that make me crave duck breasts.

  6. birthemor says:

    Hi you! Amazing favorite butcher girl 🙂 Great job, love the pancetta, can’t wait to try that. see you soon, xxoo

  7. Barry Luft says:

    The Danes say ‘The only thing that is wasted on a pig is the squeal.”

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