The Wonderful Pig Head

As I've mentioned a number of times before, I do love nose to tail cooking and loathe wasting anything from an animal that I've taken the life of.  When I picked up my pig previously I had asked if I could please have the head, organs and leaf lard.  As we've come to expect in the states, people do not want these things and I was offered all that I wanted for free from the 16 hogs they were taking in for slaughter. I took all livers, hearts and leaf lard, but only have room for 6 heads right now so I've been working through them slowly.  I decided to make guanciale this weekend, as well as harvesting meat from one for a true soppresata which is traditionally made with head meat.  When you're done, you have these two skulls and have an opportunity to make a few things, but what can you do.  So this post is about stock, not about guanciale.

The first thing you want to do is roast the heads, so put the heads on a cookie sheet or roasting pan and roast in an oven for 1hr at 375 degrees to get great color and flavor for your stock.  After roasting place your head in a stock pot with 3 carrots, 3 stalks of celery and 2 or 3 leeks depending on size.  Fill with water and simmer for at least 4 hours, allow to cook and strain into a container for freezing and later use.  Waste nothing...

You can see in the photos my butcher's assistant also, Pinot, who is always willing to clean anything I may miss along the way.