Brawn and Pickled Shallots

Martin Blunos creates this traditional spiced terrine using pig's head, ham hock and trotters
By Martin Blunos
Brawn and Pickled Shallots
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6-8
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus 5 days pickling time
  • Effort: medium


  • 1 pig's head, singed of all hair, cut in half
  • 1 slated ham hock, singed
  • 2 pig's trotters, singed
  • 3 large onions, cut into large chunks (peeled)
  • 4 carrots, trimmed and washed (unpeeled)
  • 2 leeks, trimmed
  • 3 sticks celery
  • 1 heads garlic, split
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • handfuls stalks parsley
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 sticks cinnamon
  • curlyleaves parsley, chopped

For the pickled shallots

  • 6 litres water
  • 2 kg salt
  • 4 kg smallish shallots
  • 30 whole cloves
  • 40 allspice berries
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 35 white peppercorns
  • 35 black peppercorns
  • 3 dried scotch bonnet chillies, crushed
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 15 fresh bay leaves
  • 2-3 litres malt vinegar
  • 2-3 litres cider vinegar


1. For the brawn: wash the meats and soak overnight in plenty of cold water.

2. Lift out the meats and put in a large pan of cold water, top up with cold water. Add the onions, carrots, leeks, celery, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, parsley stalks, cloves and cinnamon. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer for about 4 hours, skimming often.

3. When the meats are soft, remove the ears from the pig and set aside.

4. Lift all the solid ingredients from the pan and reduce the cooking juices by half, skimming as you go. Let the meats cool a little and discard the vegetables.

5. Pick over the meats, chopping the fat and skin into smallish pieces. Cut the larger pieces of meats, peeled tongue and hock meat into bigger chunks.

6. Add the parsley and a good amount of seasoning to the meat and then transfer them back to the pan of reduced liquor.

7. Ladle into a lined terrine and put to one side until it reaches room temperature, then cover with cling film and put it in the fridge overnight to set.

8. For the pickled shallots: combine the water and salt to make brine. Peel the shallots leaving the stalks intact. Just cover with the brine, leave in fridge in a non-reactive container for 5 days minimum. Rinse well in cold water, drain and set aside.

9. Measure out equal quantities of malt and cider vinegars to make the same amount of brine that covered the onions.

10. Pour them into a non-reactive pan, add the cloves, allspice, cinnamon, peppercorns, chillies, coriander and bay leaves. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the drained shallots, bring back to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

11. Remove from the heat and put in hot sterilised jars. Seal and store for a minimum of 1 month before use.

12. To serve, dress the flat leaf parsley and finely chopped shallot with olive oil and salt and pepper. Remove the brawn from the terrine and slice into thick pieces. Serve with the parsley salad and pickled shallots.

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