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Leberkäse with Green Peppercorns… A German Meatloaf of Neither Liver Or Cheese

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.


Leberkäse with Green Peppercorns
Author: 
Recipe type: entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
A Bavarian meatloaf
Ingredients
  • 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)
Instructions
  1. In a meat grinder grind your beef and pork, and bacon.
  2. Place ground meats in a large bowl.
  3. Add your minced onion and garlic.
  4. Add your spices, curing salt and dry milk.
  5. Mix well.
  6. 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.
  7. 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).
  8. Add the green peppercorns and mix in with hands( after removed from the food processor)
  9. Chill the meat mixture for 1 to 2 hrs.
  10. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  11. Grease loaf pan or pans.
  12. Pack meat  mixture into pans.
  13. With a knife make a criss -cross pattern on top.
  14. Place pans in a larger pan with water to catch any fat drippings.
  15. Bake for 1.5 hrs.
  16. Remove loaves from pans and drain of fats.
  17. Serve warm or cold.
  18. 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.”

 

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Lamb Tongue Terrine in Aspic

First off, don’t worry, there are no shocking  gruesome pictures of whole raw lamb tongues on this post…

OK, if you are new to this blog , then you are finding out I’m adventurous and pretty fearless in the kitchen. Here is a little back-story on how I came to the post. A few months ago Certain Someone and I were at  Russian Banquet and we were served the most exquisite thinly sliced pieces of beef tongue.  I asked what it was, and the waiter announced tongue with a smirk that assumed the non Russians would be disgusted . Au Contraire.While I haven’t had tongue in ages I do remember my mother going through a phase and feeding me it as a kid. I loved it! Then suddenly it stopped (I have no idea why). Perhaps I finally realized what I was eating? Who knows. She used to serve me chitterlings too, until I formed my own mind and remember declaring I wouldn’t eat those any more. Certain Someone blanched a bit at the thought he just ate tongue but admitted it was good,but the thought of what it was disturbed him. Anyway flash forward to this past week. I don’t know how, but my Iraqi co-worker and I on the discussion of Halal meat and that segued into lamb tongues. I was curious. I loved lamb , so why not revisit the tongue? Adventurous culinary types are dining on it in some very popular eateries. So I hightailed it to the Indo Pak corridor of Devon  where Halal butchers are everywhere you look. For $3.99 a lb I racked up about 6-7  lamb tongues. I do admit the site of them raw made a bit queasy. But I persevered on my mission. I decided to go French style with a aspic based a terrine, I’m fascinated by pates and terrines and have always had the perfect aspic on my culinary to do list.

So how was it you ask ? The tongue was very good, tender and flavored as I braised it for hours in a stock consisting of beer, carrots, herbs , and beef marrow bones. What I loved most was the flavor of my stock which later turned into a prefect aspic. So what was I disappointed with? I wasn’t happy with the final presentation on my terrine. The aspic seeped through the cling wrap layers and I didn’t get the smooth surfaces I envisioned. But that’s easily remedied. What I’m most proud of is my crystal clear aspic. I used one of my favorite bargain basement cookbooks as a guide for the aspic Brockhampton Terrines and Pates . My next terrine will have more meat . I really do feel aspic is underrated these days and can envision a lot of great uses for it . Plus it makes a gorgeous presentation.


Lamb Tongue Terrine in Aspic
Author: 
Recipe type: entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
beer braised lamb tongues in aspic
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs lamb tongue
  • 3 beef marrow bones
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 bottle of beer
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon allspice berries
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 2 carrots , chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1½ oz powdered gelatin
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 washed shells of eggs
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Instructions
  1. In a large stock pot add the lamb tongues and cover with water only.
  2. Bring to a boil until a foam appears, and drain and change water.Adding another 8 cups cold water.
  3. Add beef marrow bones, water, beer, bay leafs, carrots, celery seeds,garlic, salt and peppercorns to the pot with the lamb tongues.
  4. Bring to a boil again.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours.
  6. Remove the lamb tongues and bones.
  7. Discard the bones and let the tongues cool down. Store in fridge for overnight or several hours.
  8. With the stock strain off the vegetables and stock with a wire sieve. Refrigerate the stock as well overnight. You want the stock to chill and the fats to rise to the top and congeal.
  9. Remove the fat from the stock and gently reheat if needed ( if not congealed) and strain the stock through a fine doubled cheese cloth to catch any particles. etc
  10. Set aside.
  11. Peel the thick outer layer of skin off the cold tongues with a paring knives. You should have a fine tender meat. Slice into pieces and set aside.
  12. For the aspic...
  13. In a large stock pan, boil and scald cheese cloth, whisk, and metal sieve.
  14. Drain hot water and keep equipment ready.
  15. Soften gelatin for several minutes.
  16. Using a double boiler add the softened gelatin and gently dissolve some more liquified but not boiling. Remove from heat.
  17. Place the cold stock in the stock pan .
  18. Add the egg whites, shells, vinegar and gelatin ( the clarification ingredients).
  19. Whisk together and bring to a boil.
  20. The egg whites will rise to the top of the stock as the ingredients boil forming a raft. Stop whisking and let continue to boil for a minute.
  21. Remove from heat and let the raft and stock sit undisturbed.
  22. Bring to a boil again, remove from heat and let settle for a few minutes again.
  23. All the impurities will cling to the raft and a crystal clear stock will be formed.
  24. Gently strain the stock with the raft in a double cheesecloth lined sieve without disturbing the raft much.
  25. Line a terrine loaf pan with plastic wrap.
  26. Layer the cooked lambs tongue.
  27. Gently pour the aspic into the terrine.
  28. Cover and let set for several hours.
  29. Remove and unwrap from terrine.
  30. Slice with a serrated knife and serve cold.
Notes
You will need fine cheese cloth, a metal sieve, loaf pan, or terrine pan.

 

Cotechino and Lentils from Creminelli for the New Year and a Giveaway

I remember a  few years ago I entered a Twitter discussion with Divina Cucina on various ethnic culinary New Years traditions. Its interesting the similarities  and differences that can be found between a African American soul food and Italian fare. I grew up eating the mandatory southern influenced   black eye peas and greens to bring in wealth for the new year. The Italians celebrate with a gelatinous  fatty salami that is slow cooked and lentils, which represent coins.

So boy was I happy when a representative from Creminelli asked me if I was interested in sampling some of their products. A little back story here, earlier in the year I had the fortune to actually meet the owner Cristiano Creminelli at a intimate tasting of his products in a  local wine bar. It was very personal and the table got to hear his story of how his family , produced cured meats since the 1600’s in Italy. Cristiano ended up in Utah  to spread the wealth of his family’s knowledge and artistry to the American consumer. I  felt bad I didn’t write up a post that evening. I was late , my pictures were  bad, and the daily grind just overwhelmed me. Now I have a chance to do the brand justice ! I received some wild boar Mortadella and the Cotechiono in the mail to try.

So for the New Year I want to share a recipe and give you a chance to sample the amazing artisan products from Creminelli for the US market.  Now normally Cotechino is slow cooked for hours, but the Creminelli brand only requires 20 minutes of poaching in its plastic pouch.

Cotechino and Lentils from Creminelli for the New Year
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
An Italian New Year's dish of a boiled salami and lentils
Ingredients
  • 1 8 oz bag of lentils
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon duck or chicken fat
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced
  • Bay Leaf
  • 2 cups or water or stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Creminelli Cotechino
Instructions
  1. Cook the Cotechino according to the instructions. It should be boiled for 30 minutes in its plastic pouch and set aside until ready to plate.
  2. In a skillet heat the duck fat.
  3. Add the diced onion, garlic, bay leaf . Saute until softened.
  4. Add the dry lentils and stir to coat with the fat and minced onion, garlic.
  5. Add the liquid and bring to a simmer. Cover.
  6. Cook until tender about 30 minutes. Add more liquid if necessary.
  7. Remove the Cotechino from it's plastic pouch and remove the casing.
  8. Slice and place on the platter of lentils.
  9. Serve warm with mustard.
Notes
I did not pre soak my lentils as there is no need to. Many recipes call for the lentils to be soaked for 24 hours. Lentils really don't require soaking and cook very fast.

 

I will be giving away a Gourmet Artisan Salami Mix from Creminelli. Just leave a comment  sharing your culinary  New Years traditions and spread the word  and follow me via twitter as well. If you already follow me that’s great too! Just  Tweet  ” I just entered to win a Salami Mix from @glamah & @creminelli ”  and post the link for a chance at a second entry and leave a separate comment below. Each comment counts as one separate entry( the New Years tradition and the tweet).

  • This giveaway is only open to US residents.
  • The winner will be chosen randomly .
  • The salami mix will be shipped by Creminelli and will consist of  Barolo, Tartufo and Wild Boar salami (1.5 lbs) a $45 value. One basket per giveaway.
  • No shipping to PO Boxes or overseas due to the sensitive nature of the products.

To all my readers Certain Someone and I would like to wish you a  blessed New Year full of light and peace. Thank you for reading Coco Cooks throughout the years.

Tea Smoked Home Cured Bacon

I make my own sausage, cheese, pickles, pasta,soap,elaborate cakes,etc. Yet I have never made bacon. The web these days is full of DIY charcuterie enthusiasts, and I applaud them. I’m just not into participating in the mass events that populate the blogs these days. So when I saw a blogger I have always respected and admired  make her own, I asked myself why haven’t I done so? Naturally I had to Cocofiy it and add my exotic touch. This is grown folks bacon that’s infused with a rich sophisticated smokiness from smoking with Lapsang Souchong , Sichaun peppercorns, Star Anise and other spices. I used a commercial cure from Lem Backwoods in addition to other spices. I like this cure as it reduces the risk of botulism during the smoking /cooking process at lower temperatures. With these sort of commercial cures, the addition of more salt is not needed, so I didn’t add any to my spice blend. I cured for seven days as opposed to Lem’s recommendation of four days. Then rinsed my belly. I found my bacon wasn’t salty at all, unlike store bought bacon. I called Lem Backwoods and they said I was right not to add more salt and sometimes depending on usage or technique, some could find it salty. Either way I was happy with my results and the infused flavor from the tea smoke. The Alchemist, who’s vegan these days even requested some, as bacon is the hardest to give up.

Now most recipes call for the removal of the skin. Bah! I like thick slabs of bacon with the skin, country style. The skin slices through like butter once smoked.

You can smoke outdoor or indoors. I made a my own smoker with my roasting pan and lid, a rack used for baking, foil, and spices atop two  gas burners.

The finished product keeps about seven days in the refrigerator, or can be frozen. I recommend slicing and freezing to use as needed. Are you ready for the recipe?

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Tea Smoked Home Cured Bacon

Caution: make sure your kitchen is well ventilated with windows open, fan on, etc.

The Cure (4-7 days curing time)

  • Pork Belly with skin on (I used about 4.5 lbs)
  • 1/4 teaspoon for each 1lb of meat of Lem Backwoods cure or any other commercial meat cure containing salt and Sodium Nitrate (total 1 1/8 teaspoons)
  • 1/8 teaspoon fennel pollen
  • 2 tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon coarse ground Black Peppercorns
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • Smidgen of water to mix

The Smoking Aromatics

  • 2 tablespoons Lapsang Souchong Tea leaves
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Jasmine Rice (uncooked)
  • 1 tablespoon Sichaun Peppercorns
  • 7 Star Anise Pods

Mix your dry cure ingredients with a bit of water to dissolve . Add pork belly to a large resealable plastic bag. Add the cure and rub on both sides. Seal bag, place on a baking sheet or pan and refrigerate. Turn the bag every other day to distribute any seasonings and brine that forms while in the refrigerator. Cure for 4-7 days.

Take the pork belly and rinse off with water. Pat dry thoroughly.

Prepare your smoker. Take a large piece of aluminum foil and make a edges to contain your aromatics. Add the aromatics to the foil.Take a large roasting pan with lid, and place foil lined aromatics on the bottom of roaster. Place a rack , the kind you use for cooling baked goods, and place atop the aromatics. Place your pork belly , skin side up, on the rack. Cover and close any vents that may be on the roaster Using two burners , turn heat to med high for the first five minutes to start the smoking. Reduce heat to medium to low heat. Leave burners on for  hour. Turn off heat and leave covered for 1 more hour.The meat should be brownish red in color.

Uncover and let the pork belly cool.Pat off any excess moisture with a paper towel.Wrap in plastic film and refrigerate. A few hours later take out to slice and prepare and wrap for freezing if you plan to. At this point you can fry your bacon.

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Rustic Pork and Rabbit Terrine

Before we get into my terrine, I want to announce the winner of my Nordic Ware Giveaway.

The winner is….Anali!

RANDOM.ORG – List Randomizer

Congratulations  Anali and enjoy. Nordic Ware really is popular and these will be cherished tools for a long time in your baking.

Now back to the post at hand.I love the art of Charcuterie and the terrine. When I was about 12 years old I even made my own first terrine, after seeing some article in a magazine. I don’t know how or what propelled me to do it, but my mother carried it off to some office picnic, and she brought back good reviews.It was a heavy pork and garlic loaded pate.No one really believed her child made a pate , let alone knew what one was. I was precocious. I had a special Mother that encouraged my gifts and whims. Those latent forces are back at work twenty nine years later. This time I have some extra tools and gadgets to do a better  job. Like this beautiful Le Creuset Foie Gras Terrine with press. Isn’t it beautiful?

I knew pork  and some sort of liver would be a major component. But I decide to throw some rabbit in the mix. This was my first time working with rabbit and I wasn’t very good de boning it. My intent was to put large medallions of the saddle in the center, but I couldn’t get that cut. Nevertheless it all went into the meat grinder with a few chucks of larger pieces here and there. Most terrine recipes are complicated affairs. I confess , I skipped a lot of the fuss and stocks, extra wraps of fat /bacon.etc . The end result still came out with a rich , moist, and rustic terrine. Baked in a water batch slowly, and then pressed to extract the excess fat, the end result was redolent of garlic and green peppercorns, and hearty. Perfect on a hot day to serve  chilled with wines , cheese, and fruits.

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Rustic Pork and Rabbit Terrine

  • 1 rabbit
  • 1.5 lbs pork belly ( no skin)
  • 1 pint of chicken livers
  • 1/2 fist of garlic (4-5 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup cognac
  • 1 tablespoon green peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon dried Thyme
  • Sea Salt to taste

Equipment needed:

Meat grinder or food processor

Terrine or loaf baking dish.

  1. De bone your rabbit and cut into small pieces. Leave some pieces larger  to not grind. Be sure to save and freeze your carcass for soup or stews later on.
  2. Cut up  the pork belly.
  3. In a large container with lid , add the cut up  pork belly, rabbit( not the larger pieces), and chicken livers. Add garlic, Thyme, salt, green peppercorns, and cognac. Cover and allow to marinate in the refrigerator over night.
  4. Grind all your meats including the livers, with the peppercorns  and garlic with a coarse grind.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  6. Line your terrine pan with parchment paper. Cut slashes and each corner  and insert in pan to line completely.
  7. Gently pack in you ground meat into terrine while adding a few layers of the larger rabbit pieces periodically.
  8. Pack until full. Top with another sheet of parchment paper.
  9. Cover terrine with lid. If using a baking loaf pan, wrap with heavy aluminum foil.
  10. Bake in a water bath (pan  in another larger pan with hot water) at 325  for approximately 1.5 hours.
  11. Take out.
  12. Take a  foil brick or the terrines press  and  press the terrine in the pan. If using the terrines press, place books or a brick on to weight down.
  13. Press until cooled down .
  14. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve with :

  • Crusty bread
  • Wine
  • Cheese
  • Gherkins
  • Pickled Vegetables
  • Mustard
  • Fruits
  • Crackers
  • On a bed of lettuce

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