I rarely rely on recipes, except for two things – baking and sausage making. The latter’s more snooty cousin, the world of farcir, forcemeats, terrines, and other concoctions, especially relies on well executed ratios. This Bavarian recipe for Leberkäse is a slight exception – since it is rather simple to make, I invite you to play around and have some fun with it.
Leberkäse, or Livercheese, is one of those German foods no one south of the Prussio-Bavarian line can live without. Funnily enough, it contains neither liver nor cheese, the name being a derivation of Leben (life) and kas (a solid object of foodstuffs from which smaller portions are cut or carved, a loaf) – so, literally, the food that keeps you living.
Before starting all this, ensure a proper clean kitchen. Take a baking loaf form, sanitize it vigorously, then grease with lard or any other porcine derived fat (I love using rendered bacon grease for this) and place in the freezer until you need it.
Obtain the following:
- 7 lbs of very lean beef. Any cut will do, you don’t have to waste your prime tenderloin on this.
- 1 lbs of pork neck. A good butcher might be willing to cut this into smaller cubes for you, just make sure (as in any cut), that no physical contaminants (bones, etc.) are in the mix.
- 9 oz bacon, preferably with rind and very preferably made at home or bought in a block, not as the cheap pre-cut megamart pennysaver version.
- 1 onion (if they’re small, 2)
- 1 tsp of ground white pepper
- 2 tsp of majoram
- 3 cloves of garlic, worked into paste
- 6 1/4 cups of water (for a creamier product, replace 1 cup of water with heavy cream)
- optionally some lemon zest
- Grind all meats in your grinder. Additonally you might want to process the neck and bacon together in a food processor, but if you use a very fine die, that won’t be necessary.
- Take about 1/4th of the meat and mix with water and salt until you have a paste.
- repeat for the other 3/4th of the meat
- place the bowl into the refrigerator and let rest for at least one hour, at most four
- Retrieve, add the spices and finely chopped onion.
- [optional] Process in food processor (in batches works best) until you have a fine paste
- Fill into greased baking loaf and bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours
To mix it up, some, you could do what I did in the image above and add finely chopped peppers, small cheese cubes, hard-boiled eggs, or anything else that makes sense into the loaf. Serve with Bavarian Mustard (we’ll make that soon), eggs sunny-side up, pickles, rustic breads, or on a bun with mustard.