Bread may be the staff of life in Germany but it does not thrive alone. Next to the beloved starch, is its partner in crime, fleisch – otherwise known as meat. Upon entering Germany, I was put off by the evening ritual abdenbrot – the idea of sandwiches for dinner did not sit well with me – but I grew accustomed to its charm and and even soon came to crave it. Drawn to its simplicity, a fine loaf (normally rye and loaded with fiber and minerals lathered in wurst or in some cases cheese and quark) appealed to my foreign taste buds and quickly altered my American attitude toward the German tartine. Plus, the meal was balanced – more so than a tasteless cold cuts smothered between two meager slices of Wonder Bread or an oversized greasy hoagie. Washed down with a thin German white wine or a cold beer seemed somehow gourmand. Its simplicity and affordability was reassuring and satisfying
So for my second post for Organic Authority, I have chosen to focus on the German pantry’s 2nd most essential staple: wurst. In this article’s case – specifically leberwurst. This is more of a lesson in culinary anthropology and history rather than health, as any linguist can see that leberwurst literally translated means “liver meat.” Here, the European approach of “less is more” should be invoked. If eaten in moderately sized proportions, leberwurst like chocolate or wine is more of a friend than a foe.
Leberwurst is considered a German delicacy and traditional favorite reflecting the nation’s penchant for wurst (sausage) and other matters related to fleisch. It is similar in texture to its French cousin, the paté, but the taste is distinctly German since it comes from pig meat or in some cases, calf’s liver (the French prefer gamier subjects, such as duck, hare, or goose). And like paté, it can be either coarse or refined like a mousse and is usually eaten with bread and various types of mustard and pickled vegetables.
Leberwurst can easily be made in the German kuchen or found at any local grocery store from an organic bio market to a run-of-the-mill Aldi or Lidl. Berlin based bakeries such as Soluna or Weichardt, carry their own version – which are made-in-house and much fresher than any generic brand and not to mention, healthier and tastier.
And although its world recognition is not as sharp as the French paté, its roots extend far throughout Deutschland adding to the variety and its of leberwurst flavors and ingredients.
To make your own, its quite simple. Have you ever made meat loaf? Well, it is not a far cry from the ketchup stained dish and is probably distantly related to the German dish.
Serves 6 or more
2 lbs fresh fat pork belly
1/2 lb fresh pork shoulder
1 1/2 lbs fresh pork liver, chopped
2 onions, sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried or fresh marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme
pork casing, washed and dried
1. Cut meat in small pieces
2. Combine with liver, onion, salt, and pepper
3. Simmer 40 minutes
4. Add herbs; stir
5. Grind all coarsely
6. Stuff into casings and tie
7. Cover with water; bring to a boil and boil 6 minutes
Paired with a hearty slices of dark rye light toasted and a crisp dry white Riesling, you can easily delight your friends with this foreign delicacy.