Well, I decided to pull on my big girl pants and try something I've wanted to try for a while, but haven't had the courage to yet...Braunschweiger! I had the day off today, and a lb of pork liver in the freezer. So, no more excuses, today was the day!
Here is the recipe that I used. I got this recipe from a restaurant up in Portland, but this same basic recipe appears in multiple places on the internet as well. I adjusted some of the spices and also reduced the salt from the original recipe, as my husband and I don't like salty stuff.
2 pounds lean pork
1 pound pork fat
1 1/4 pounds pork liver (I actually only had 1 lb of pork liver, so made up the difference with more lean pork)
1 medium onion, chopped
23 grams kosher salt (1.5% salt including weight of cure #1)
6 grams cure #1 (1 tsp)
1 teaspoon whole cloves (original recipe called for 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon whole juniper berries (original recipe called for 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
1 teaspoon dried marjoram (original recipe called for 2 teaspoon fresh marjoram)
Here is the diced fat, lean pork, and pork liver. I put them in the freezer so that they were pretty well frozen before grinding them.
One pass through the fine plate of the grinder. Then back in the freezer.
Here are all the whole spices in the spice grinder. Grind them all up together.
Saute the onion in a little butter or lard until soft. Don't let the onion get brown. Mix in the ground spices, then remove from the heat when the spices get fragrant. Let the onion/spice mixture cool down, then mix it into the ground meats.
Pass the mixture through the fine plate a second time. Sprinkle in the salt and cure #1 and mix well. I guess you could add these before passing the mixture through the fine plate, but some people say the salt is hard on your grinder. I don't know.
I guess ideally you should let your meat mixture cure in the refrigerator overnight before proceeding. I let it sit in the refrigerator for about an hour before proceeding, but next time I'll let it cure overnight just to ensure the meat mixture is fully cured.
In small batches I then processed the mixture in my Cuisinart to get it emulsified and creamy. With my small food processor I wasn't able to get it completely uniform in texture because I was concerned about the mixture getting too warm and breaking, but it got nicely emulsified. The emulsion held; in fact it became pretty stiff like a cold mousse.
Here is the mixture stuffed into fibrous casings.
I poached them in 165 - 175 deg F water for about an hour until the IT reached 150 deg F. The potato masher and big spoon are being used to keep the sausages immersed in the water. I just used a big stock pot for poaching.
After poaching I ran cold water over them for a while to cool them down. Then I patted them dry. Here they are after the poaching and cold water shower.
For the sake of comparison, I put one of the chubs in the refrigerator as straight liverwurst. The other two chubs I hung in the smoker to cold smoke into braunschweiger. My husband doesn't like smoky stuff, so I just used hickory dust in the AMNS for 2 hours. I did not apply any heat. I had not refrigerated these chubs before putting them in the smoker, so there was no condensation. Ambient chamber temperature started at 77 deg F, and rose up to 106 deg F before I pulled them out. No fat rendered out.
Here is the cross sectional picture of the liverwurst chub. I'm really pleased with the poaching process. They got cooked to the right IT, but the emulsion didn't break. Texture looks pretty good. I would have like the mixture to be completely uniform, but I'm not sure I can acheive that with my little Cuisinart.
Here are a few slices on a plate with some homemade bread-and-butter pickles and a little dijon mustard.
The final shot! Tasty!
I'm pretty pleased with how the liverwurst turned out, and will definitely make it again whenever I'm able to score some pig liver. The recipe was good the way I made it, although I might bump up the marjoram next time. With only using 1 lb of liver, the liver taste is mild enough that I think it would appeal even to people who don't like liver.
I also did a taste test on the braunschweiger tonight. A very nice hickory taste, without being too strong that it overpowers the taste of the liverwurst. The color and cross sectional view look the same as the liverwurst, so I didn't take another picture. I'm looking forward to seeing how the flavors of the liverwurst and braunschweiger develop overnight, and see how they compare tomorrow.
Thank you for checking out my post!! Hope everyone has a great night and great rest of your week!
Edited by SnorkelingGirl - 6/20/13 at 6:13am