Traditional Karoo Sheep’s Head Pie – Recipe

A recipe from the 1950’s for a pie made from a whole cooked sheep’s head.


1 Sheep’s head
1 Carrot, Medium sized
1 Onion, Medium sized
½ Turnip, Medium sized
1 tablespoon Parsley
1 tablespoon Thyme
1 liter Lamb stock
Black pepper
Pastry, Flaky, or short crust or puff pastry


1. Cut the sheep’s head in half and remove the brains. Soak the head in salted water for about 10 minutes and wash well. Add to a deep pot and cover with lamb stock. Bring to the boil and boil over low heat for about one hour.

Baked Sheep's Head - Smiley

2. After one hour, add the vegetables and the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook until the meat slips easily from the bones. This usually happens after 21/2 hours but might take longer. With about ten minutes to spare, tie the brains in a muslin cloth and boil with the head for the last ten minutes.

3. Remove the head and brain from the pot and strain the liquid into a smaller pan. Reduce the liquid by about half by boiling it rapidly. In the meantime, remove the meat from the bones and cut into small pieces. Skin the tongue and dice. Mix the tongue and meat and add to a pie-dish lined with short-crust or flaky pastry.

4. Chop the brain into small pieces and add to the meat filling. Pour the reduced liquid over taking care not to let the filling overflow the edges of the dish. Cover the dish with a pastry lid. Crimp the edges. Make one or two small holes in the lid and brush with an egg wash. Bake at 200 ℃ until the crust is golden brown. Serve with a fresh green or herb salad and a fresh pineapple chutney.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Michelle says:

    Bravo! We made a pork head cheese recently but, unfortunately, it didn’t turn out quite as well as we’d hoped. This recipe sounds great.

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