My father’s relatives live in Ragusa in Sicily. Ragusa and Modica are very attractive historic Baroque towns in south-eastern Sicily. Modica is and very close to Ragusa.
Chiaramonte Gulfi is also in this part of Sicily and Gelatina di maiale (Pork Brawn) is very popular. It is sold in butcher shops and markets, but it can also be made at home.
In Gelatina di maiale the pork’s head provides the gelatinous component. Usually the tongue is included in the head and this adds texture and extra flavour.
Meat also needs to be included and apart from half of a pig’s head I bought 1.500 kilo of lean pork (cut into large pieces) and four pig’s feet.
Over time, I have adapted this recipe and I include bay leaves and peppercorns to the mix. I boil the meats without vinegar for about 3 hours (until I can see the meat falling off the bones).
Once it is cooked, I leave it to rest overnight.
The next day I remove the meat from the jelly, I add ½ cup of vinegar and the juice of a couple of lemons to the broth and reduce the liquid down to a third of the original amount.
I remove the bones, shred the meat ( not too finely) and place it into a terrine lined with a few bay leaves and cover it with the cooled reduced stock.
Any fat will rise to the surface and can be scraped off when it is cool (in fact, it acts as a seal).
Great as an antipasto or as a main, especially in summer. Gelatina is sold by most butchers in southeastern Sicily.