Head cheese is not cheese at all but is made from heads, usually beef, pig or lamb. It’s tender, slow cooked meat set into a mold that sets up into a savory jelly, creating a delicious cold cut that will be the main attraction on any charcuterie board. Head cheese is prepared differently around the world. This is a delicious recipe for lamb head cheese formed into a roulade wrapped with collard greens.
This recipe is by chef Ben Spangler. Hailing from Minnesota, Ben draws from his Midwestern roots to create dishes that are unpretentious and delicious. Ben has competed on national television for the Food Network and appeared on local Minneapolis food networks. He is currently executive chef at Mercy in Minneapolis.
1 ea lamb Head
1 gallon water
1/2 cup salt
4 ea small onions
2 oz Herbs, like oregano, thyme, rosemary or sage
5 oz Carrot
5 oz Celery
Wrap and Filling
4 ea Carrots
2 ea leeks
10 ea collard leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- Clean the lamb head and remove any extra hairs. Combine 1 gallon water with 1/2 cup salt, whisk until dissolved. Add the lamb head and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Remove lamb head from water. Discard water. Place lamb head in a pot large enough to hold it.
- Chop 5 oz each of carrots and celery into ¼ inch pieces and scatter around lamb.
- Add herbs and onions.
- Cover the head with water, or if the pot isn’t deep enough, flip the head halfway through.
- Place a lid over the pot and bake in oven at 300°F for approximately 4-6 hours until fork tender. Remove from oven and cool.
In a separate stock pot bring a half pot of water seasoned with salt to a simmer and add leeks and carrots. Cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove leeks and carrots, then add collard greens, cook until just tender, remove and reserve.
- Remove cooled lamb head from broth and begin to shred the meat.
- Take head broth and reduce until about 1/4 cup.
- Remove the tough rib from the middle of each collard leaf.
- Overlap tender collard greens to ensure no leakage results on top of tinfoil. Spread shredded meat to collard greens and pour broth over shredded meat.
- Add carrots and leeks. Roll up tighltly in foil or cling film.
- Refrigerate until completely chilled and set, preferably overnight
- Remove roulade from the tinfoil and prepare the oregano sauce.
- Mix together vinegar, oregano, minced shallot, and extra virgin olive oil.
- Zest one orange and then add juice.
- Season with black pepper and salt to taste as you would a dip or dressing for meat.
Sear the roulade in an oiled cast iron skillet, then warm gently in an oven. Slice into large rounds and serve garnished with the oregano vinaigrette.