New Year’s First Leverpostej!

Open-faced sandwich with leverpostej, pickled beets, deep-fried onions, and scallions.

I was going to title this post New Year’s First Liverwurst, because it rhymed nicely, and because I generally use the term liverwurst when telling non-Danes about leverpostej, but in fact, leverpostej isn’t technically a liverwurst, but rather a liver paté.  It’s pronounced LEE-wuh-poh-stigh, and you can hear it pronounced here.  In a recent poll home in Denmark, it was affirmed that leverpostej is still the hands-down all-time favorite sandwich topper, and I’m with the rest of the Danes.  I love this stuff spread on a piece of good Danish-style rugbrød (rye bread) over a thin scraping of fedt (pork and duck lard rendered with a bit of thyme, onion, and apple) topped with a few slices of my own pickled beets.  Mmm!

With this batch of ‘postej, I used an approach that I often use when I want to recreate a perfect version of an old favorite food: I create a matrix of several different recipes, standardize the amounts of the ingredients, and then I apply a bit of thought, picking and choosing different elements and techniques from each recipe, and adding any tweaks that make sense.  This time I used a recipe from my favorite Danish butcher, Tommy Lund, from the small  Danish country town of Vig, which is near my auntie’s house in Bråde, then two recipes from my grandmother’s old cookbook: Carla Meyer’s Nutidsmad og Husførelse (1936), and finally a recipe I found at Lone Landman’s excellent Beretninger fra et autentisk landbrug blog.  The main ingredient is pork liver, and the liver I was working with was just over 3.5 lb (1.6 k) from a recent Tamworth slaughter, so I adjusted the amounts in my matrix and decided that I’d follow Meyer’s no. 2 in terms of ingredients and Lone Landmand’s fatback-béchamel technique.  The only ingredient tweak was to add a few bay leaves to the béchamel as it cooked.

Typically a home recipe for leverpostej would use 500 g of liver so this is a large portion which makes approximately 10 small foil loaf-pans of 475 g each.  I baked four of them and bagged the remaining in 475 g portions and froze them.  Thus I can defrost a bag, pour it into a greased foil loaf pan, and have a fresh warm leverpostej whenever I like.

Ingredients:

  • 1.9 lb / 900 g pork fatback
  • 3.5 lb / 1.6 k pork liver
  • 15 anchovies, rinsed briefly & blotted dry
  • 3 large onions or equivalent
  • 3 tbls kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 3 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tbls dried breadcrumbs
  • 3 tsp allspice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 5.2 oz / 150 g unsalted butter
  • 6.3 oz / 180 g all-purpose flour
  • 50 fl oz / 1.5 l whole raw milk
  • 5 eggs

First I prepped the fatback, trimming off the skin (which I put back into the freezer for a future dish of pork rinds) and cutting it into circa 2-inch by 1-inch chunks, and then into the freezer it went to chill before grinding:

pork fatback, prepped for grinding

I prepped the liver, trimming away any tough white bits and chopping into 2-inch by 1-inch chunks:

pork liver prepped for the meat grinder

I prepped the onions, simply chopping them so they would fit into the meat grinder shute:

onions prepped for the food grinder

Then I ran the liver and the anchovies through my KitchenAid meat grinder with the small-holed plate:

putting the liver through the meat grinder

And then the onions:

processing the onions through the meat grinder into the ground liver

I mixed the onion into the liver and added the salt, pepper, allspice, and breadcrumbs, stirring to combine.

Then I proceeded to run this liver mixture through the meat grinder another 6 times.

At this point I disassembled the meat grinder attachment and cleaned it, and then reattached it to the KitchenAid.  Out of the freezer came the fatback, and it got processed, again through the small-holed plate.  My fatback had gotten quite firmly frozen, and it took some work to push it through, but I like the texture I get when I process it very cold:

processing the pork fatback through the meat grinder

Now is a good time to preheat your oven to 390F/200C.

I heated the butter in a large enamel cast-iron pot over medium heat until the butter was sizzling and added the flour, stirring until the flour was just moistened and then cooked for a minute or two more.  I added the milk and bay leaves, and whisked and whisked and whisked until I had a good  smooth béchamel.  Then I added the ground fatback, and stirred until the fatback was pretty much melted, maybe 4 or 5 minutes.  At this point the béchamel looks a bit dubious and broken, but don’t worry –it’s just as it should be.  Off the heat, let it cool for 15 minutes or so.

the bechamel mixed with the ground fatback

At this point I whisked the eggs and added them to the liver mix, stirring well, and then I added the béchamel-fatback mixture into the liver mixture a cup at a time, stirring until well combined between each addition:

mixing the bechamel into the liver

I happened to have some luxurious guanciale drippings, and I used this to grease 4 small foil loaf pans, and then I filled them to within a quarter-inch of the rim.  Into a roasting pan, and then carefully add boiling water from your kettle so that the water goes almost half-way up the sides of the foil loaf pans.

Bake the leverpostej’s for about an hour, maybe a few minutes more.  A good leverpostej has a nice gently wrinkled and well-browned surface.  Take the pans out of the waterbath and let them sit until cool –I cooled these overnight.  Though I did have a little taste, as you can seen in the bottom left pan 🙂

four finished leverpostej

While the four pans were cooking, I portioned out the leftover leverpostej mix into ziplock bags in 16.7 oz / 475 g portions, which is what I determined fit into my mini-loaf pans.  You might want to double-check if you’re using a differently sized foil pan.  You could also, of course, bake these in pretty little ceramic ramekins for a pretty presentation at a party.

So, now to enjoy the leverpostej!  Here are some classic variations of smørbrød, or open-faced sandwiches, which use leverpostej.  Note that leverpostej is most often eaten on thin slices of Danish-style rugbrød, or ryebread.  Here in the states you can sometimes find it, though it is often described as German-style rye bread.  Essentially it’s a very dense and nicely tender with varying amounts of whole grains.  Another option is a good home-made bread: white artisan bread, etc.  My own home-made bread uses Vermont-grown wheatberries & oat groats (ground), millet, King Arthur bread flour, Bob’s Red Mill 10-grain blend, and various seedy/grainy toppings.  Leverpostej tastes great with my bread 🙂  An open-faced sandwich is called a `mad’ in Danish, pronounced with a soft Danish `d’ at the end, something between an `l’ and a `th’.

  • Dyrlægen’s nattemad (the veterinarian’s midnight snack): A slice of rugbrød or other bread with a thin scraping of good rendered fat, a generous layer of leverpostej, a slice of good ham, a bit of meat-aspic, sliced onions, and a few pickles.
  • Everyday leverpostej mad: A slice of rugbrød or other bread with a thin scraping of good rendered fat, a generous layer of leverpostej, and a slice or two of pickled beet.
  • To serve this as part of a smørbrød buffet, warm and unmold your leverpostej and top it with slices of fried bacon and / or mushrooms.
  • Another thing that goes nicely on an everyday leverpostej mad is a tablespoon or so of deep-fried onions or shallots.

Yummy!

Advertisements

About mosaica

Ugly & fabulous, warm & obsessive, brilliant & dorkmeisterish: striving to be a warrior in her little context.
This entry was posted in liver, nose-to-tail, offal, pork, recipe. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to New Year’s First Leverpostej!

  1. Karen says:

    Happy New Year!

    Sis

  2. Elsebeth Kold says:

    Sikke en fin blog du har. Jeg “faldt” over dig på Lonelandmands blog! I 45 år har jeg til stadighed haft alle leverpostejer i stanniolforme med pap/stanniol-låg i fryseren og sætter dem frosne i ovnen. Det gjorde det let for mine børn at “hive en ny ud” og bage, fra de var omkring 10-12 år; min datter og hendes veninde elskede den varm, så når de holdt eftermiddagsgilde, varmede de postejen i “reaktoren”. Jeg har lettet processen: kør lever, fedt, løg og i dit tilfælde brød i nævnte rækkefølge UDEN at gøre maskinen ren – det betyder ikke noget, om der kommer en lille smule fra det foregående i det næste, sæt en ny skål under, hvis du vil have de enkelte dele for sig. Du kan rense maskinen med en ekstra skive brød for at få den sidste ønskede mængde ud af maskinen, ellers kan man ikke få det sidste med. I “gamle dage” brugte vi altid et stykke madpapir. Engang glemte jeg at smøre formene, og der var ingen forskel, selv om jeg bruger halvt så meget fedt som lever, så jeg hælder direkte i forme og keramikskåle. Længe leve leverpostejen!!!

  3. mosaica says:

    Hej Elsebeth! Tak for din venlige kommentarer om bloggen – det er nyt, og det er sjovt at dele mine kødfulde udforskninger med nye & gamle venner.

    Jeg elsker Lone’s blog! Det varmer mit hjerte at se glimt af Danmark her over fra staterne –jeg savner især landskabet..

    Tak også for din leverpostej tips – vi har også glæde af vores leverpostej varm med de sædvanlige: bacon og / eller champignoner. Lækker! Jeg er også enig med dig om rengøring af kødhakkemaskine, jeg synes, det er kun et problem, hvis sener har fået fast derinde, så det kan blive blokeret. Jeg kan se hvad du mener om smøring af pander: Jeg tror, at min guanciale fedt kun gav lidt smag, og jeg tror at leverpostejen ville have sluppet ganske godt fra panden uden 🙂

  4. Leif Ostberg says:

    Just a question; why not use the food processor since that will make the mixture absolutely fine? I have also used my Vita-Mix with good results for duck pate’.

    Regards,

    Leif

    PS I have just booked a week with Kate Hill in October, really looking forward to that.

    • mosaica says:

      Hej Leif!

      That’s a good idea with the food processor (husker du Det Nattergale og The Jule Kalender og hende kartoffel-avlerenes kone som ville så gerne hav en food processor?). I think I’d still put the chilled fat through the grinder as it’s a good texture to add to the béchamel, but maybe it would make the texture even smoother if I put the finished farce through the food processor. I’ll try next time!

      I’m excited for you –I know Kate & company will make a wonderful week 🙂

      VH,

      ../iliana

  5. Leif Ostberg says:

    I am sorry, I do not know the show; I have not lived in Denmark since I was 19 in 1964. But I think you are right, that the fatback should be ground cold for some better texture (The same I guess, as for making salami)

    Looks like I just found a spot with Kate for next month, so I am real psyched about that.

    Best,
    Leif

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s