- Rhymes: -ɔːn
Head cheese (AmE) or brawn (BrE) is in fact not a cheese, but rather a terrine of meat from the head of a calf or pig (sometimes a sheep or cow). It may also include meat from the feet and heart. It is usually eaten cold or at room temperature as a luncheon meat. It is sometimes also known as souse meat, particularly if pickled with vinegar.
Historically the cleaned (all organs removed) head was simmered to produce a gelatin (formed from the collagen in the bone) containing any incidental meat which came off the head. The more modern method involves adding gelatin to meat, which is then cooked in a mould.
VarietiesVarious versions exist around the world:;Pennsylvania, United States: In the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect, head cheese is called souse. Pennsylvania Germans usually prepare it from the meat of pig's feet or tongue and it is pickled with sausage.;Brabant : In Brabantic it is called zult and is quite red and sweet. A pig's foot provides the gelatin and it contains less vinegar.;France: Referred to as fromage de tête,tête fromagée (which translates as "cheesed head") or pâté de tête.;Croatia and Serbia: This meal is generally known as hladetina, and is commonly produced after the traditional slaughter of pigs. A rather strongly seasoned version of this meal is called tlačenica or švargla (the latter being a corrupted loan-word from German). The name švargl is used for a variant where the chopped parts are stuffed inside the pig's stomach, similar to Scottish haggis.;Denmark and Norway: Sylte, a pork head cheese seasoned with allspice, bay leaves, and thyme, is part of the traditional Christmas smorgasbord, served on rugbrød with strong mustard and pickled beetroots. Sylte is often prepared from other pork cuts than the head, especially the leaner versions.;Brazil: In Brazil, head cheese is very popular among the gaucho population and is commonly known as Queijo de Porco (Pig Cheese).;Poland: In Poland, head cheese is referred to as salceson, a name possibly derived from saucisson, the French word for a type of sausage. There are several varieties of salceson which depend on the ingredients: Black Salcesson which contains blood, White Salcesson made with a mixture of seasoned meats without blood, and Ozorkowy (Tongue) Salcesson where the major meat component is tongue.;Ukraine: In Ukraine, head cheese is quite popular. One may have head cheese for major occasions such as Christmas. Head cheese is also popular in the Jewish community.;Vietnam: In Vietnam around Tết, giò thủ is made in celebration for the New Year. It is a traditional snack made of fresh bacon, pig’s ears, garlic, scallions, onions, black fungus, fish sauce and cracked black pepper. Traditionally, giò thủ (pork head meat pie) is wrapped in banana leaves and compressed in a wooden mold until the gelatin in the pig’s ears causes it to stick together.
Notes and references
brawn in German: Presskopf
brawn in Dutch: Hoofdkaas
brawn in Finnish: Aladobi
brawn in Polish: Salceson
brawn in Swedish: Sylta
brawn in Tagalog: Eskabetse
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