Calf's Head Stewed. Recipe
Calf's Head Stewed
Calf's Head Stewed is a traditional dish that has its roots in British cuisine. It is a hearty and flavorful dish made using the head of a calf. Despite its unusual ingredients, this dish was once considered a luxurious and prestigious meal. It was commonly served during special occasions and grand feasts.
To prepare Calf's Head Stewed, start by cleaning the calf's head thoroughly. Soak it until the cheek-bone can be easily removed. Once cleaned, parboil the head until it becomes tender. Then, cut it into moderately sized pieces and set them aside.
Next, prepare a flavorful stock made from shin of beef. In a large pot, add around a quart of stock along with some seasoning. Highly season your stock with eschalots, a small head of celery, a small bunch of sweet herbs, an onion, a carrot, a little mace, a dozen cloves, a piece of lemon peel, and a sprig of parsley. Additionally, add salt and pepper to taste. Let the stock simmer and infuse with the flavors of the herbs and spices. Once done, strain the stock to remove any solids.
Now, it's time to add the calf's head pieces to the seasoned stock. Gently place the head pieces into the pot and let them simmer in the flavorful stock. Allow the head to cook thoroughly and absorb the rich flavors of the stock. This process will take some time, so be patient.
While the calf's head is stewing, prepare some fine forcemeat balls. Roll the forcemeat into small balls and fry them until they turn golden brown. These delicious meatballs will be served alongside the stewed head.
Additionally, make small fritters using the calf's brain. Mix the brain with other ingredients such as flour, eggs, and a pinch of salt. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture into hot oil and fry until they become crispy and golden. These fritters add a unique and tasty element to the dish.
Once the calf's head is tender and cooked through, add a glass and a half of white wine and the juice of a lemon to the gravy. Stir it well to incorporate all the flavors. The wine and lemon juice will add a tangy and refreshing twist to the rich and savory gravy.
To serve, place the stewed calf's head pieces in a large serving dish. Arrange the fine forcemeat balls and the small fritters around the head pieces. Finally, pour the flavorful gravy over the stewed head, allowing it to soak into the meat and enhance its taste.
Calf's Head Stewed is a dish that was popular in the past, especially during lavish banquets and feasts. It showcases the versatility of using different parts of the animal in cooking and the richness of traditional British cuisine.
Fun fact: Calf's Head Stewed was a famous dish among the nobility and upper classes during the Victorian era. It was even served at royal occasions and became a symbol of opulence and extravagant dining.
If you are looking for similar dishes, two notable examples are Calves-Feet with Spanish Sauce and Mock Turtle Soup. Calves-Feet with Spanish Sauce is another dish made with calf's feet. The feet are boiled, breaded, and fried to a brown color before being served with a flavorful Spanish sauce. This dish offers a unique combination of textures and flavors.
Mock Turtle Soup is a popular substitute for traditional turtle soup, which used to be made with real turtle meat. Mock Turtle Soup became popular as a more affordable alternative. It is made using calf's head and various other ingredients such as vegetables, meats, and spices. This soup offers a rich and hearty flavor without the expensive turtle meat.
In conclusion, Calf's Head Stewed is a traditional British dish that highlights the creativity and resourcefulness of cooking. Despite its unusual ingredients and preparation process, it provides a delicious and unique dining experience. Whether you're exploring historic recipes or simply curious about traditional cuisine, Calf's Head Stewed is a dish worth trying.