Sheep’s Head

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • 3


Appears in

Mrs Beeton's All About Cookery

By Isabella Beeton

Published 1861

  • About


  • A sheep’s head
  • bouquet garni
  • 10 peppercorns
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablesp. pearl barley or rice
  • 2 onions
  • 1 small turnip
  • 2 small carrots
  • 1 oz. butter or fat
  • 1 oz. flour
  • parsley


If necessary, split the head and remove the brains. Wash the head several times, taking care to remove all splintered bones. Scrape the small bones from the nostrils and brush the teeth. Soak in salt water for 30 min. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Pour away the water and replace with fresh cold water and add the bouquet garni, peppercorns and salt. Boil up and skim well. Add the barley (blanched) or rice. Cook slowly for about 3 hr. Meanwhile prepare the vegetables and cut into dice; these should be added about 1 hr. before serving. Remove the skin and fibres from the brains with salt and wash in cold water. Tie the brains in muslin and cook with the head for about 15–20 min. Then chop coarsely. Heat the fat in a saucepan and add the flour. Stir over the heat and cook without browning for about 3 min., then add ¾ pt. of liquid in which the head is cooking. Stir until boiling, correct the seasoning and add the brains. Remove the head and take all the flesh from the bones. Skin and slice the tongue. Place the meat neatly on a hot dish. Pour the brain sauce over. If liked, garnish with some of the sliced tongue, vegetables and chopped parsley. Serve the broth separately.