May 8th, 2012

Pig’s Head Croquettes

This year marks a leap year and on the 29th of February we hosted a brand new concept and unique event; the Dingley Dell Flying Visit. Mark Hayward spends a lot of time with his pigs and he felt it was about time that he held an event celebrating his beloved beasts. The concept is straight forward; a crowd of people get together, accomplished butchers carry the pig into the room where we all raise a glass to the pig. The butchers demonstrate their skills in cutting the pig. The mission is concluded by fitting as many chefs as humanly possible into a small kitchen where the pig is cooked and served in a fantastic tasting feast.

The first event was held at The British Larder Suffolk where Mark Poynton and Paul Foster formed part of the lineup with Ross and all the chefs at the British Larder. James Stoddart from Enotria was also there to conduct a wine and swine pairing, which went down a storm.

Menu 29th of February at The British Larder Suffolk

To Start…
Paul Foster, Tuddenham Mills, Newmarket

Slow cooked pork neck, scratching, chicory, Walberswick sea vegetables and beer pickled sweet potato
(Gruner Veltliner, Erich Machherndl, Austria)

In the Middle…
Mark Poynton, Alimuntum, Cambridge

Spiced pulled pork shoulder, slow roast fillet, celeriac ‘slaw’ and pickled apple
(Dolcetto, Cantine Giacomo Ascheri, Italy)

To Follow…
Ross Pike and Madalene Bonvini-Hamel , British Larder Suffolk, Bromeswell

Pork belly, swede, date puree, pigs ear and puffed pork rice
(Tinto, Herdade dos Grous, Portugal)

Ross Pike and Madalene Bonvini-Hamel , British Larder Suffolk, Bromeswell

Chocolate Brownie Caramel Popcorn, Rhubarb Meringue Pie, Goats Milk Panacotta Blood Orange, Passion Fruit Ganache

The second event was held on the 25th of April, and this time it  moved to London, hosted by the Victoria Pub. This time round we had two extra chefs joining the lineup. Ross and myself, Paul Merrit, Mark Poynton, William Curley and Paul Foster. We each cooked a course and even the pudding had a piggy flavour.

Menu 25th April 2012 at The Victoria

To Start…
Paul Foster, Tuddenham Mills, Newmarket

Pig’s Trotter Carpaccio, charred broccoli, smoked garlic, peanut, burnt onion
(Thalassitis, Sanatorini 2009, Greece)

To Follow Secondly…
Mark Poynton, Alimuntum, Cambridge

Pork rillette, braised jowl, acorn praline, pineapple and chickweed
(Larry Cherubino, Ad Hoc Wallflower Riesling, 2009, Australia)

To Follow Thirdly…
Ross Pike and Madalene Bonvini-Hamel , British Larder Suffolk, Bromeswell

Crispy pig’s head, ham scotch egg, salsify, piccalilli and nasturtium
(Peres Cruz, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva, 2010, Maipo Chile)

To Follow Fourthly…
Paul Merrett, The Victoria, London

Aisan Dingley Dell pork: 12 hour belly vindaloo with coconut sambal, Jungle style cheeks with soured mango noodles, Dim suo with bloodorange and fennel
(Rioja El Talud Rosada, 2012, Podegas Martinez Laordern, Spain)

William Curley, Patissier Chocolatier, Richmond

Amedei dark chocolate entremet centered with a smoked bacon caramel & served with apricot compote & lemon thyme ice-cream

(Quady Winery, Elysium Black Muscat, 2010, Madera, California USA)

From a personal point of view this is an experience of a lifetime – to be involved with something special and something I believe in. Being in the same kitchen working on dishes created by such highly accomplished and successful chefs is equally inspiring and humbling. We all have and show a lot of respect for each other and I also usually learn something new to apply to my own cooking style.

This recipe of pig’s head is only one of the elements that we served in London on our dish; if you wish to create the whole dish then add half a Scotch egg using a quail’s egg, following my recipe for Dingley Dell Scotch egg.

Bernard Zeija was the photographer for the evening and he has captured the event, spirit and feel beautifully. All credit for the images on this page goes to Bernard Zeija apart from the main image of the pig’s head croquettes which I took the following morning.

Watch this video of the first event at the British Larder, all credit to Andy, Tim and the Bruizer team who has captured the spirit of the flying visit beautifully.

 Finally all credit for this hugely successful concept goes to Mark Hayward who has put a lot of resource and time into keeping the Dingley Dell Flying Visit spirit alive.

Pig's Head Croquettes

  • 1 whole pig's head
  • 1 stick celery, cut into 4 even size pieces
  • 1 carrot, cut into 4 even size pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 onions
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ras-el-hanout
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons chopped soft herbs (chives, chervil, tarragon, parsley)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 1 small jar Home Made Piccalilli 
  • 1 small handful seasonal salad leaves (including nasturtium leaves)

Remove any excess hairs from the pig's head using a razor or blowtorch. Place the head in a large saucepan, fill with cold water and bring to the boil over high heat. Once boiling remove any scum using a ladle, top the pan up with cold water and add the celery, carrot, bay leaves, thyme and one onion cut into quarters. Bring to a gentle simmer over low heat for 3 1/2 hours, top the water up at least once or twice ensuring the head is covered at all times. Let the head cool in the stock for about 1 hour.

Drain the head from the stock, discard the stock and vegetables and flake the meat from the head.

You will end up with about 400g of flaked pigs head meat, let it cool completely in the fridge.

In the meantime chop the remaining onion very finely, and in a medium saucepan over medium heat sweat the onion in the oil with the garlic, seasoning and ras-el-hanout for about 8 minutes until completely soft. Add to the flaked pigs head add the herbs, mix well.

Shape 25g croquettes, refrigerate for 2 hours to let them completely set.

Once the croquettes are set then panée them: place the flour with seasoning in a small bowl, place the beaten egg in another next to it, and finally the crumbs in another bowl. First roll the croquettes in the flour, then egg and roll in crumbs. Complete the process until all the croquettes are coated.

Heat a deep fat fryer filled with oil to manufacturer's instructions to 160 °C .

Deep fry the croquettes in two batches for 5 minutes each batch till golden brown and hot all the way through. Drain on kitchen paper and season the cooked croquettes with salt.

Serve with the piccalilli and salad leaves.

Serves about 10 as a starter using two croquettes per portion

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4 Comments to “Pig’s Head Croquettes”

  1. David crichton says:

    Hi Guys, I love everything you create. Creating something looking so delicious out of forgotten pieces of meat is brilliant.

    The photography is also spot on. Its a shame I live so far away.

    I look forward to all your updates.


  2. sean says:

    i love this recipe diary page its an absolute gift to a chef like me who struggles with new and fresh ideas from time to time……A BIG THANK U GUYS…….AND PLEASE KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK……

  3. Matt Wood says:

    Wow, I am drooling at those menus and have just bought a pig’s head to attempt the croquettes as part f the last month I am living in Spain I am doing nose-to-tail.. so excited. Didn’t realise how big the head is until I had it in my hands, going cut the ears off for another prep and the tongue too probably. Thanks for the fantastic recipe will let you know how it goes. Love the idea of ras-al-hanout thrown into the mix. So much respect for what you guys are doing, such original and wonderful recipes on your site.

  4. Jan Galland says:

    Looks fantastic, sounds like a wonderful day.
    Love your recipe diary, well done keep it going .

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