I have been tossing around the idea of making a Vietnamese style head cheese for a while now. I kept thinking that the flavors would go really well together and it would work great. My only problem was I didn't know what I was going to do with it after I made it. Then I was talking to a friend from work and he thought that a Vietnamese headcheese would make a great Bahn Mi. Why that thought didn't occur to me I don't know but when he said it, it made perfect sense.
About that exact time my brother in-law sent me a picture of a pig he was going to roast and I noticed it was missing its head. I asked him where the head was and he said that he was going to throw it out. I asked him to keep it in his freezer for me and I would come get it. The head was skinned and from a smaller pig so it was perfect for making headcheese. I always keep a couple of pigs feet in the freezer for situations like this. (you never know when you are going to need to make a headcheese)
The next step was figuring out spices and how I wanted to flavor this headcheese. I pulled out the flavor bible and looked under Vietnam and there was a whole list of spices and seasoning to use. I wanted it to have a bit of heat and I also wanted it to have a freshness to it as well. I simmered the head with all the spices but held off adding the chili's and cilantro until after the head was cooked. Adding them to the meat and reduced stock so they would maintain all of their flavor.
With some quick pickled daikon and carrots and a dab of sriracha mayo this headcheese Bahn Mi was perfect.
1 small skinned pigs head
2 pigs feet, split
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons dark soy
1/2 cup dried oyster mushrooms
8 pods of star anise
1/4 cup palm sugar
1 large knob of ginger
2 stalks of lemon grass
2 shallots, sliced
1 head of garlic
3-4 Thai chili's
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1. place the head and feet in a large stock pot and cover with water by one inch.
2. add the rest of the ingredients minus the chili's and cilantro .
3. bring the water to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer, simmer for about 2 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone.
4. remove the head and feet from the stock and allow to cool. Remove all the anise, ginger, lemon grass and garlic, reserve all the cooking liquid and return it to the stock pot and reduce it down to about 2 cups.
5. When the head is cooled down enough to handle pluck the meat off the head and feet and set aside.
6. When you have reduced the liquid far enough pour about a 1/2 cup of the reduced liquid over the shredded meat and mix well.
7. finely dice the chili's and cilantro and add to the meat mixture.
8. Pack the meat into a terrine dish and set in the fridge over night to set.