Yumm Leberkäse. The first time I ever had some was after a German class at the Goethe Institute . A bunch of us walked over to the Christkindlmarket after our final class. Thick slabs of Leberkäse shared space on the hot grill with bratwurst.In the dead of winter, I bit into my hearty sandwich with sauerkraut and fell in love. Certain Someones mother would serve it at times when we visited Essen, a pre made loaf from a deli, that she heated up. All these years I was under the mistaken impression there was a bit of liver in that meat, that gave it that savory taste. You see Leberkäse breaks down in translation to literally Liver Cheese. It’s a Bavarian specialty . However other regions of Germany add small percentages of liver. So the Leberkäse can vary by region. When I told Certain Someone I was making this, he too thought there was a bit of liver in the preparation as well. Maybe in Essen there is. The final verdict of my Bavarian style Leberkäse passed his tough German expectations. In an ode to Essen and his mother I added some green peppercorns, as that’s how I remembered it served there.
You may ask why am I making Leberkäse in the middle of summer? For various reasons. Certain Someone is home after some travel and I need more things on hand to feed him while I’m working. A girl has to be organized. It tastes even better the day after preparation. I can slice it cold or hot. Think of it as homemade lunch meat. We like to slice it thick and pan fry it with some onions. Try adding a fried egg on top , or serve it up like a cold pate with cornichons or salads. The recipe isn’t as hard as you would think. You need either a meat grinder , a food processor or an immersion blender. I added pink salt or cure to mine to help it retain its pink color, as opposed to turning grayish in color. One more hint. If you are a bit lazy, use a good quality ground pork and beef.The bacon still has to be ground in. But using pre ground meat is a time-saving option for those who are not as adventurous or lack all the equipment.
Some tips to remember. As you’re working with ground meats , the colder the better. In my research I picked up a common tip of adding crushed ice to the meat before that final blending emulsification. It also helps with the bubbly smooth airy texture of the final product. Some people add heavy cream. I added just plain dry powdered ( goats )milk, as I always add that to my meatloaf’s (I don’t know why, but it works. I believe its something about adding extra nutrients and extending the protein ). All of this helps the fats stay suspended and the meat emulsify. The mixture needs to chill and rest for a few hours. As I added a cure, it was still baked on the same day only for color retention.
I used my trusty XYBOARD in the kitchen to research Leberkäse ,techniques,and take quick clear photos while in the kitchen.It saved me a lot a time going to different rooms for the camera, etc.
- 2 lbs stewing beef cubes
- 1.5 lbs stewing pork cubes
- ½ bacon( the fattier the better)
- 1 small onion minced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp cure , pink salt, etc ( scant ¼ tsp per lb of meat)
- 3 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp dry powdered milk
- 1 tsp coriander
- ½ tsp white pepper
- ½ tsp mace or nutmeg
- ¾ tsp paprika
- grated lemon zest ( approx ½ tsp) optional
- 3 cups crushed ice
- 2 tbsp green peppercorns ( if you prefer use less)
- In a meat grinder grind your beef and pork, and bacon.
- Place ground meats in a large bowl.
- Add your minced onion and garlic.
- Add your spices, curing salt and dry milk.
- Mix well.
- At this point you can place the ground meats in a food processor or use an immersion blender ( the immersion blender needs to be used carefully as to not burn out. Give it a rest if needed.) Mix the meats with the crushed ice until it forms a smooth paste. You don't want the paste to thick but it airy enough. The ice keeps the fats suspended and aides in the emulsification.
- Once you get the desired texture (there can still be some clumps of ice and that is fine as it helps form air bubbles in texture).
- Add the green peppercorns and mix in with hands( after removed from the food processor)
- Chill the meat mixture for 1 to 2 hrs.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Grease loaf pan or pans.
- Pack meat mixture into pans.
- With a knife make a criss -cross pattern on top.
- Place pans in a larger pan with water to catch any fat drippings.
- Bake for 1.5 hrs.
- Remove loaves from pans and drain of fats.
- Serve warm or cold.
- It tastes even better the day after.
“Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Midwest Savvy Gourmets program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.”