Pâté de tête

Pâté de tête

A Year of Practiculture
4 x 330 ml
Rohan Anderson & Kate Berry

‘Support your local pig farmer’. I want to get a T-shirt made with this slogan, because over the past decade more and more small-scale pig farmers have popped up, and we need to continue to support them. What’s been happening is a beautiful reversal of a food-production system. Years ago, pig farms were numerous and small in scale. Then they became industrialised and factory farms dominated the market. We all know the conditions in which the pigs are kept at a factory farm, not to mention the problems with pathogens and application of agricultural antibiotics. But there’s been a wonderful shift away from this system, and the old ways have been embraced once more.

The new small farms are mostly free-range, with the pigs outdoors, and some are organic. It’s a bit of a victory, I reckon, but these farmers need our continued support. Many of the farmers have been bullied by the larger companies in the industry, which are now feeling threatened by the consumers’ move towards free-range. I’ve heard all sorts of nasty stories about the industry coming down hard on compliance and regulation for the small farmer, which makes their life miserable when they’re trying to do a good service for people who are keen to change their consumer habits.

One of my beautiful pig-farming mates put me on to this recipe as a way to use a part of the animal that would normally have been disposed of – the head. If I were to serve this pâté on toasted crusty bread before telling you what it was made from, you’d have no problems eating it. But as soon as I mentioned that it’s made from the head of a pig, you might feel somewhat iffy about it. Trust me, it’s just meat. If you have a spare pig’s head floating around, try this recipe.


Quantity Ingredient
2 onions, peeled
2 heaped tablespoons whole cloves
1 whole pig’s head, skin removed
2 carrots, roughly chopped
4 celery stalks, roughly chopped
large handful parsley, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
8 fresh bay leaves
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon Red wine vinegar


  1. Stab each onion all over with 1 tablespoon whole cloves.
  2. Sit the pig’s head in a large stockpot. Add the onions, carrot, celery, parsley, spices, bay leaves and enough water to cover.
  3. Bring to the boil, and simmer over medium heat for 4 hours. Keep an eye on the water level, adding more water if needed.
  4. Remove the head from the water and allow to cool. Remove anything from the skull that looks like meat and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Peel the tongue and use that meat, and be sure to grab some of the fatty, gelatinous meat (all the left-over unidentifiable stuff I usually feed to my dogs), which will help set the pâté.
  5. Strain the stock and store for other meals.
  6. You can either use your hands to mulch the processed meat into smaller shredded pieces or you can chop it in small batches with a kitchen knife. I like mine to be well chopped, as it helps with spreading on bread. Add the salt and vinegar – the idea is to get it slightly salty with a little tang.
  7. Spoon the processed meat into sterilised jars, ensuring a good mix of meat and fat in each. Seal with lids and boil the jars in a large stockpot of water for 1 hour. Allow to cool overnight.
  8. It will now keep in a cool larder for months. Refrigerate after opening.
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