Sheep’s Head

cabeza de cordero

March 22nd, 2011 I’m sure that most people in Britain are disturbed by the idea of eating sheep’s head, but it’s actually a very popular and tasty dish in most parts of Africa, Europe, Iceland, Norway and all the countries surrounding the Mediterranean. I’m sure it would have been far more popular here too, up until the 20th Century. You won’t find sheep’s heads in a supermarket here, but a good butcher can get them for you and they are quite cheap – most probably end up being used for pet food or glue. I first had rotisserie, tête de mouton, in Paris – it’s common in the 18th arrondissement and is probably the best way to cook it. The best I’ve ever had was at Pollo Rico in Barcelona, where they have a special basting mixture, usually reserved for chickens, but sometimes they do sheep’s heads too. I think the mixture consists of olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper and the fat which drips off the meat. I’ve also had a very good, half lamb’s head, cooked in the oven, at Romesco in Barcelona, as a starter. Heads are also cooked to make stocks and stews as they contain lots of flavour. When I lived in Paris, most ovens came with a rotisserie, sadly that’s not the case in England, however, sheep or lamb’s head, cooked Spanish style, in the oven is very good and very simple. Cabeza de cordero al horno recipe: 1 head per person (skinned) Potatoes (peeled and sliced as per normal roast potatoes, 4 per person) 1 head of garlic (whole) Olive oli (and goose fat, optional) Sea salt and cracked black pepper Parsley (finely chopped) Wash the lamb heads thoroughly and dry them off. Rub the heads with salt and put them into an oiled baking dish, with the head of garlic. Sprinkle with black pepper and drizzle on some more olive oil. Cook in a preheated oven at 200º C for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, bring your potatoes to the boil in some salted water. Drain them and shake them around in the saucepan to bruise them. Take out the lamb heads and baste them. Add some more olive oil (or goose fat) and wait for the oil/fat to heat up for 5 minutes, before adding the potatoes to the oven dish. Baste the lamb heads and potatoes every 20 minutes and cook for a further hour and 15 minutes, or until the heads are nicely browned and the potatoes look done. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve with allioli. I particularly like the brain and the tongue, the cheeks can be a little slimy but eyeballs are surprisingly firm! I’ve seen some variations on this recipe which include, tomatoes, red peppers and dry white wine.

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About Mad Dog

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One Response to Sheep’s Head

  1. Pingback: Romesco | Mad Dog TV Dinners

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