I love beef liver and I love chicken liver but until we purchased ½ a hog, I had not knowingly had pork liver. I was sure that I would like it, but boy, was I wrong. I cooked a small portion of it the same way I often cook beef liver (quickly fried with some onions) and it was too intense, even for me. I actually considered just tossing the rest of it in the trash, but never got around to it and it stayed buried in the freezer for way too many months.
Then a few days ago, I was looking for beef liver recipes and saw a recipe for liverwurst.
The German Leberwurst (anglicized as liverwurst), that translates literally as “liver sausage,” is the typical sausage served in Germany, Austria,Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden,Norway and Romania (especially in Transylvania). Most liverwurst varieties are spreadable. Liverwurst normally contains pigs’ livers, rather than calves’ livers…
Well, I loved liverwurst years ago so I knew I had to give it a try. The problem was I really didn’t have the time or desire to cut-up, grind, refreeze, and stuff a bunch of pig parts into casing like called for in this recipe . But then I suddenly realized there was no need because we had recently purchased 60 pounds of pork from Stokes Family Farm, and over 30 pounds of the purchase was in the form of ground pork. Pork muscle and pork fat, all conveniently ground up together.
See what I mean? So with that shortcut in mind, I decided to forgo the casing stuffing as well and make a liverwurst “loaf”. This is probably some horrible abomination of traditional liverwurst, and if so, I’m sorry Germany. But not really sorry, because I’m sure I will make this again!
When I made this batch of liverwurst, I ended up with more than would fit in the small baking dish I was using. And since I had just sautéed some onions in some lamb tallow to go in liverwurst, I decided to just fry up the excess and see what it tasted like. The smell of all of those savory spices and pork had totally convinced me that I was going to love it, and I was pretty hopeful that Ron would like it too. But liver is a tough sell for many people, and he’s one of them, so I wasn’t going to be too surprised if he gave it the thumbs down.
“Fried Bologna.” After one taste, that’s what he said. Now that may sound like a slap in the face to the more sophisticated cook, but it was music to my ears! Ron’s mom used to make that for him when he was growing up and it is one of his favorite food memories. It’s also something I have never made for him because I refuse to buy any commercial cold cuts. So preparing an incredibly nutritious food that reminded him of one of his childhood favorites makes this recipe even more of a winner. Hmm, but now I would have to share. (And for the record, Ron was raised in Saskatchewan. I always thought fried bologna was a Southern indulgence!)
Side note: Our main kitchen garden was a disaster until a few days ago…
Bad news: the cilantro bolted before I could even think about making salsa.
Good news: free coriander (cilantro seeds), which was used in this recipe!
We enjoyed some of this delicious (but not so photogenic) liverwurst with sautéed Chinese mustard greens for dinner and more with eggs for breakfast the next morning. Then I put the rest in the freezer for another time, and I’m looking forward to enjoying my new favorite liver dish again soon!
|Quick and Easy Liverwurst||
- 1 pound pork liver, partially thawed
- 2 pounds ground pork, thawed
- 1 tablespoon fat of choice (I used lamb tallow)
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 2 teaspoons coriander seed
- 2 teaspoons marjoram
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper (use black in a pinch)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon mace
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon salt (I used sea salt)
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Heat fat in a pan over medium heat.
- Add onion and turn heat to low.
- Cook until soft.
- Add all of the spices except for the salt.
- Gently mix with the onion and cook for one minute, then remove from heat.
- Cut or break pork liver into small pieces and place in food processor.
- Add onions and spice mix.
- Pulse until the liver is almost pureed.
- Add the pork sausage and the salt.
- Pulse until well blended.
- Move the mixture to a baking dish and cover with lid or foil. (I didn’t grease the stoneware dish I was using, and there was no sticking at all.)
- Fill a larger pan with an inch or so of water, and place the smaller pan in it.
- Move the pans to the oven and bake for 40 minutes or until internal temp measures 160 degrees .**
- Remove from oven.
- Slice and serve as is, or give it a few minutes in a frying pan for a blast from the past!
** Several people have commented that the recipe required a much longer cooking time. Our oven has a convection setting, which I almost always use but failed to mention in the recipe. Some have needed to cook for as long as 90 minutes or raised the temp to 350. To prevent it from drying out, I still recommend keeping the temp low, and if needed, increase the cooking time. Thanks to those who left comments and let me know about the issue!