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Catholic Recipe: Sheep's Head


  • 1 sheep's head
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 3 sprigs of parsley
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • Details

  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: • • • •
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: 15+
  • Origin: Scotland

It was Andrew the Apostle who said to his brother Peter, "We have found the Messias"; and it was Andrew who pointed out to Our Lord the lad with the five barley loaves and two fishes. Tradition tells us that Andrew was martyred in Greece, on a cross in the form of an X, a cross that still bears his name. Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, where his feast, known as Andermas, was observed in olden days by repasts of Sheep's Head.

Today Saint Andrew's feast is celebrated by patriotic Scots everywhere with ceremonies and banquets of less muttony variety — grouse and beef are more favored — but the Aqua Vitae which was the old Doric term for whiskey still plays a role. It is also a favorite day in rural areas of the homeland for foretelling the future by omens and charms.


Soak a well-cleaned sheep's head in warm water for three hours. Put it to boil with just enough water to cover. When it starts to boil add 1 carrot and 1 onion, both sliced, 3 sprigs of parsley, 3 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Simmer for about two hours or until the meat is tender. Remove the meat from the bones, skin the tongue, and serve both together. It may be served with an onion, caper, or tomato sauce.

Recipe Source: Feast Day Cookbook by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger, David McKay Company, Inc., New York, 1951
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