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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Discovering the best in liverwurst mousse

This column originally ran in an Aug. 21, 2014 edition of the Gazette
When the sun rises on the last day of travel, we recognize as we open our eyes that we have to say goodbye to our impermanent abodes; the escape intended to inspire and refresh.  The destination typically meant to bring forth a new vision on old ways, and hopefully to rekindle the flame-within that pushes us through this business.
There are very few places that I have visited that I couldn’t wait to get out of.  I try as hard as I can to find something unique, interesting or ubiquitous in a city’s culinary landscape.  I could write volumes on the Muffaletta of New Orleans, Hawaii’s Poke, the BBQ in Kansas City, Savannah or Abilene, the lobster rolls of New England, the scorched conch in Nassau, the blood sausage in Heidelberg, Sauerbraten in Landstuhl, the street foods of Baja, California and the fried bologna sandwiches of Cleveland.  I can remember them all as though I was eating them yesterday.  Don’t even get me started about the bull fights, complete with grape soda, bacon-wrapped hot dogs and, of course, cerveza.
I have always been fascinated by the history of food and why a region will have a specialty while those next door do not.  And sometimes food specialization makes sense.  Just look at the Midwest; meat, meat and more meat.  Once the railroad hubs were in place in Chicago, they soon found themselves in Kansas City and other major metropolitan areas to ensure safe and speedy passage of domestic animals to the rest of the country.
As I returned from Kansas City recently, I bought a pound of liverwurst.  Being in a meaty city will do that to a guy.  Not having any interest in eating plain liverwurst, I set out to recreate a simply stunning appetizer that I supped upon at Manifesto Speakeasy.  This is the quintessential late-night bar snack.  Of course, my kids call it cat food, but let’s not get technical.
There is nothing like good old-fashioned organ meats to bring one back from the fray.  And since charcuterie is an important part of cooking, I can hardly say no to trying something that I have sworn off since childhood.  So, I broke out the food processor, dug into a little research until I found a 1973 article with some of the ingredients that would be needed and tweaked the rest, basing it loosely on a seafood mousse that I make on occasion.
The result is a marriage of pickled vegetables and creamy pig liver mousse that I would not have thought possible.  Served with rye crackers, it was truly hats off to the chef, with the acid in the onions cleansing the palate as it was assaulted by the rich mousse.  The crunch of the crackers was the perfect contrast to the dish and everything came together as one cohesive bite.
Now I just need to see if this cat food freezes well, since I won’t eat two pounds of it soon enough.  Either way, I know that my evening at Manifesto with Moscow Mules and 25-year old Scotch will be relived in my mind, and writings, for a very long time to come.
Liverwurst Mousse
2 sheets gelatin
1/2 c. cab-glace (recipe follows)
1 lb. liverwurst
6 oz. cream cheese
1/4 c. mayo
2 tsp. Worcestershire
1 tsp. Texas Pete’s

Fresh butter, for spreading
1. Place sheets of gelatin in cold water for about 10 minutes, or until they bloom.  They will become little rubber windows.  If you’re like me, you won’t be able to stop playing with them.  When bloomed, drain.
2. Heat cab-glace slowly and add drained gelatin until melted and well-mixed.
3. Put liverwurst, cream cheese, mayo, cab-glace, Worcestershire and Texas Pete’s in a food processor.
4. Process the garbage out of mixture, scraping often, until it is creamy, adjusting flavor as you go.
5. Spread in a non-stick pan, pressing the top to give an even surface.
6. Chill for at least three hours.
7. Remove and cut with mold cutters.
8. Serve with lightly tossed greens, toast points, soft butter for spreading under the mousse and a sour-cherry compote.
Makes 1 quart
3/4 bottle dry red wine (cabernet, malbec, etc.)
1 whole shallot
2 sticks celery
3 cloves fresh garlic
1 carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 1” piece of rosemary
1 gallon high quality beef stock

1. Pour a glass of wine for yourself and then place the rest in a saucepan.
2. Add the shallot, celery, garlic, carrot, thyme and rosemary and bring to a low boil.
3. Turn to a simmer and reduce to approximately 2 cups.
4. Add the beef stock (please don’t use the carton-type at the store.  There are countless recipes online; just make a good old-fashioned beef stock for this.
5. Reduce the entire mess slowly down to a quart.  It will be thick, unctuous (a word that demands to be written at every mention of this sauce) and gluey.
6. Cool and store in refrigerator If you plan on using it within the week or bag it in smaller quantities and freeze, pulling it out as needed. I’ve seen the silicone mold and ice cube tray trick, but for me I like splitting it into Ziploc bags, freeing them of air and then freezing them flat and stacked.  They will last for months this way.