Making Head Cheese Meat Jelly Without a Pigs Head – Zult (Where I Come From)

What can you do with leftover pig parts? Turn them into a beautiful meat jelly. In the region in the Netherlands where I come from this is called Zult. In French Fromage de Tête and in good old English Head Cheese, specifically if it is made from the head of a pig. But don’t worry, I could get a pig’s head, and the idea of eating one grosses me out. That’s why in this video together with my cousino Martino we are going to prepare Zult, Fromage de Tête or Head Cheese, from other left over parts of a pig: ribs, thick ham slices, shoulder and a couple of tails.

Video transcript:

Hello ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Tony Needs Hobbies. My name is Tony and together with my cousin Martino we are going to make zult, fromage de tête or in English: head cheese. Have fun watching.

Zult, or head cheese, is an old dish from the south part of the Netherlands. In this video we will make it from thick ham slices, a few tails, some ribs and shoulder meat, but traditionally head cheese is made from the head of a pig, as the name implies.

Let’s take a look at the ingredients.

As mentioned, we will not use a head for this meat jelly. It was the original plan but we were a little hesitant so we decided to use other pig parts. Gelatin is important so most of the pieces of meat are used without removing the bones. We have two thick ham slices, a shoulder piece, a couple of ribs and two pig tails. Together it’s a total of 1600 gram of pig parts, that’s about 3.5 pounds.

The first step is making broth. The meat goes into a pot which is then filled with water until all the meat is covered. Some herbs and spices are added for flavoring:

  • Fresh thyme
  • A half tablespoon of salt
  • Three bay leafs
  • Three cloves
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • And a good amount of ground pepper

These form a traditional combination for Dutch staple foods, like hutspot, and will give this zult it’s recognized taste, I guess, but who am I to tell? I have never actually tasted head cheese, cause the idea of eating a pigs head grosses me out a bit… anyway, let’s get on with it. These ingredients are added to the pot on the stove to heat up. Once it is boiling it will be set to the lowest heat to let it simmer for around four hours.

After letting it simmer for a few hours, let’s take a look!

The meat is falling apart and is separating from the bones it was once attached to. We help this process a little bit by pulling it off with some forks. Then it’s time to measure the white wine vinegar to give this dish its signature sour taste. We add 150 mL or 5 ounces. The vinegar is added to the pot which is then stirred. We let it simmer for another hour before separating the meat and bones from the broth.

Yuuuup, it smells good!

We separate the broth from the meat by pouring it into a colander. As you can see, it isn’t a clear liquid, that is the result of adding vinegar. The broth will be set aside for now, so that we can focus on the meat. It’s important to just use the meat, and no small and sharp bones are left in. So with utmost care, I will divide the contents of this colander into two bowls, one with the meat, the other with the bones to be discarded. In the end, we were left with almost 700 grams or 1.5 pounds of meat.

Just one more step before calling it a day: skimming the fat off of the broth. I do this really carefully using a sauce spoon. The fat nicely separates and you can put it in the fridge and use it for other cooking purposes. Finally the broth is poured into a measuring cup and everything will be refrigerated overnight to check if the broth is gelatinous enough.

And that seems to be the case, wonderful. Let’s heat it again and boil it down until we are left with 1 liter which is more or less equal to 1 quart.

The meat has been separated from the bones and the broth is thick enough, so it is now time to mince the meat and bring it all together.

The meat was refrigerated to make it go through the grinder easily. It would have gone even better if I secured the grinder more tightly to the work surface. In any way, it did the trick just fine.

On a totally different note, I told I was going to make leather pull up grips in this week’s video, but I didn’t have the time. The material for this video was already shot, so that’s why you are watching a cooking video instead of a leatherworking video. But, I promise to do the leatherworking video next. Don’t miss it by subscribing to this channel!

Just two more ingredients to prepare before we can actually bring it together. We’ll have to chop ten small pickles into very fine pieces and chop some fresh parsley. Then, the ground meat is transferred to the pot to which then the pickles and parsley are added. Finally we add all the broth and bring the temperature up to boiling.

While it is heating up we will sterilize cups used later to store the meat jelly in. These food grade containers can be sanitized in boiling water, so that’s what we will be doing. First a large pot is filled with water and brought to a boil. Then the containers and lids are placed in the hot water and remain there for 15 minutes. This gives the meat paste enough time to get hot before it will be transferred.

Because the cups are all very hot we will take them out with tongs. Then we are all ready to fill these clean containers with the meat paste. It will get its final jelly consistency after refrigerating it overnight.

The next evening had arrived so I went to my cousin Martino to have a little taste. Because I was all out of gas I had to make a quick stop first, before arriving at Martino’s place…

This stuff should taste good when served cold on a piece of dark rye bread. So, let’s try it!

Here we go! It tastes normal. Not too bad. We had a blast making this zult, fromage de tête or head cheese in English. If you had a blast too watching this video then definitely let us know by hitting that like button and please consider subscribing to this channel for more videos like this in the future. That’s it for now. We would like to thank you for watching.

Bye, bye!

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