As a child, if I were particularly antsy, my mother would rebuke me with an exasperated "Sitzt du!" and I would know to sit and immediately unfuss myself. Asked what I wanted for my birthday dinners, I declared the tedious "rouladen" more often than she probably liked to hear, and in my grade school, I was one of the only children — certainly the only freckled one — who toted Braunschweiger and mustard sandwiches for lunch. To this day, if you startle me, you're as likely to get a German expletive as an English one.
That Braunschweiger above is a spreadable pork liver sausage, a subcategory of the wider liverwurst clan, and one likely to be found at family gatherings at my great-grandmother's massive lawn parties in the 1970's. To be honest, the kids generally eschewed it; those who didn't like it really didn't like its mineral bite. To me, though, it was one of the perks of no-class summer diversions. Broadly, Braunschweiger — known as BS to some of its admirers — is ground pork liver mixed with finely ground bacon, stuffed in hog bungs, simmered, then smoked. Because lately I've been both on a liverwurst kick and struck with bouts of insomnia, I've been digging up recipes that elucidate the whole category of liver sausages — and make sense of my childhood snacking.
On a hunt for Braunschweiger recipes in particular, I came across one in my library for "Leberwurst" from Elise Hannemann's 1904 Kochbuch. The book is dedicated to Hannemann's patron, Ihrer Majestat der Kaiserin ["your Majesty the Empress" (i.e., Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, wife of Kaiser Wilhelm II)] and is a revealing look at middle class German cookery in the years before World War I. Although Hannemann does not call this particular sausage "Brauschweiger," the bacon and optional smoking would make recognizable to American Midwesterners as exactly that.
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Very Good. In winter, it will last three weeks.*Note that some modern authorities suggest cooking liverwurst until its internal temperature is 165°F.
500 g liver
400 g of cooked bacon
1 whole egg
Dried truffles or fresh anchovies
Run the liver and bacon through a grinder three times, then thoroughly mix in the herbs, salt, pepper, finely sliced truffles or chopped anchovies. Stuff this mixture loosely into hog bungs and let cook slowly for a half an hour* in boiling water. Then remove them immediately place in cold water.
The sausage for slicing and is especially good if they are smoked two days.
Transcript of the above image:
Sehr Gut. Im Winter 3 Wochen haltbar.
500 g Leber
400 g gekochter Speck
1 ganzes Ei
Getrocknete Trüffeln oder frische Sardellen
Die Leber und der Speck werden dreimal durch die Fleishhackmaschine genommen, mit den Krautern, Salz, Pfeffer, kleingeschnittenen Trüffeln oder gehackten Sardellen gut vermischt, lose in Fett- oder Krausedärme gestopft und ½ Stunde langsam in kochendem Wasser ziehen gelassen; dann werden sie herausgenommen und sosort in kaltes Wasser gelegt.
Die Wurst wird zum Ausschnitt verwandt und ist besonders gut, wenn sie zwei Tage gerauchert wird.
Goes well with:
- I am a Meat Wagon —When I say "wurstlust," it's not a joke. I crave sausages and cured meats; my last stop out of New Orleans was at Butcher where I scored two types of bacon we can't get in San Diego . I even tempt the TSA in a story about getting stopped smuggling andouille after a trip to LaPlace, Louisiana.