Bologna still carries its Italian origin in its name, but liverwurst has forgotten its origin in Braunschweig, in the Brunswick province of Germany. “Liverwurst” is a dishearteningly literal translation from the German of the pork liver of which it is made, a word that German immigrants introduced into American English in 1869. If your liverwurst experience has been limited to supermarket cold meat counters, it’s worth making this lovely German pork-liver pâté to eat fresh. As with any pâté, flavor improves with a day or two of aging, and if you have a smoker, a light smoking.
If you are a chronic homemade sausage maker and have a pile of large pork or beef casings, stuff the pâté into the casings, tie them with string in eight- to twelve-inch lengths, and adjust the stuffing in order to leave a good two inches at the end of each length for expansion. Simmer the links about forty-five minutes in a pot of water, then dip them in cold water to keep the fat from settling along the bottom. If you have no casings, bake the pork pâté in a loaf pan, as you would a French pâté. Then you can either serve it in slices or use it as a creamy spread.
If you use a processor for grinding, cut the pork, pork fat, and liver into cubes and freeze for an hour or two, so that they will process without mushing. Sauté the onion in a little pork fat or butter until it is soft. Sprinkle with the spices to warm them, then add the mixture to the pork and process until you have a smooth purée.
Pack the purée into an earthenware baking dish or two 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pans and cover tightly with foil. Put the dish in a pan with an inch or two of boiling water and bake at 300° until meat is cooked but not browned (meat thermometer should read 160°-165°), about 2 hours. Remove baking dish from the pan of water and let pâté cool in the dish. Refrigerate 1 to 2 days before using.
© 1986 Betty Fussell. All rights reserved.