Braunschweiger Bliss

1 Sep

Several months ago, I bought a whole pig from Babes in the Wood.  When we buy pork at the grocery store, we all have a few cuts that we focus on…chops and ribs for sure.  When you buy a whole pig, you get some of those popular cuts and a whole lot more.  This summer, I was pretty busy with travel for work and a well-deserved vacation, so I made a “chore list” for the fall and here is what was on it:

  • Watermelon Rind Pickles
  • Braunschweiger
  • Ham
  • Bacon
  • Lard
  • Guanciale

Now that summer is officially over, I have begun working on my chore list.  I decided to blog the most interesting and unusual preparations for my pork, and the first project has gone from freezer to table in three days.  We made Braunschweiger!

Braunschweiger is a type of smoked liverwurst.  I grew up with it in the house (as a kid, I didn’t really eat it).  With a 4 pound package of pork liver in the freezer, I wanted to find a good use for that nutrient dense meat, and I hoped that the smoke, seasonings and other meats in this liverwurst would make it palatable to me.

Of course, Karl helped me quite a bit, but as per the usual in our house, I decided WHAT to make and found the recipe, and then I got him to do the hard part!  We used a recipe from Len Poli that you can find here.  We gathered our ingredients, including a grass fed chuck roast from Dragonfly Farms, and we thawed the meat in our refrigerator.  After it was thawed, we cut it into pieces that would fit into the meat grinder attachment of our Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.

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We had a little disagreement on the next step.  I suggested we get up on Saturday morning, stick the meat in the freezer, and then have breakfast and do the dishes before grinding our meat.  Karl thought the meat would freeze too hard, and that we only needed to have it in the freezer for a few minutes while we got our grinder set up.  I won’t tell you who was right, but I will tell you that we didn’t start grinding our meet until much later than we intended!  It all worked out in the end, and our equipment worked flawlessly.  After we ground the meat, we emulsified it in the mixer using the paddle attachment.

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The recipe then called for us to load this into our food processor and whip it up more…but it was already so smooth that the food processor wasn’t doing anything, so I would skip that step next time.  When the meat was completely mixed, we loaded it into our 5 lb LEM sausage stuffer.  Since we had about 7 pounds of meat, we had to do this in two stages.  We stuffed the sausage into fibrous clear casings.

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Stuffing the sausage is not the end with Braunschweiger.  Next we had to poach the sausages for 90 minutes.  Then we had to put them into an ice bath, and dry them for three hours.

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Here is where I would have stopped for the day, except that the directions suggested waiting for 12 hours to eat them after smoking.  So if we didn’t soldier on, we would have to wait until Monday to try our product.  So we took a break, did some shopping, and came home later to smoke the sausages.  The smoked sausages looked delicious when we were done.

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This morning, I made the grain-free crostini recipe found in my cookbook, Gather, the Art of Paleo Entertaining.  For lunch, we loaded our plates with things we made ourselves:  Braunschweiger, bread and butter pickles, raw sauerkraut (get the recipe here), fermented carrots, and the last of my dilly beans from 2012.  Our plates looked like this.  Karl put some fermented jalapenos on his plate.

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I was really pleasantly surprised by how delicious the Braunschweiger turned out.

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