Yes, it’s true. I do miss liverwurst, that most mocked of German sausages. Because nothing says home-cooking like pink pureed meat things in a plastic casing. , And actually, I miss braunshweiger too now that I think about it, the smoked version of liverwurst. Which, if you know me is odd, as I would generally rather undergo some sort of painful dental procedure in the nude than eat liver. Whoever first looked at some unfortunate prey’s jiggly insides and thought, “Mmmm, I’ll eat the part that looks like a big purple tongue” should have been kicked off the island. Nasty nasty stuff. But, thanks to mom and the mayo-riffic white bread and liverwurst sandwiches of my youth, I do have a weakness for liver processed beyond any resemblance to anything occurring in nature. It is also likely the basis for my love of deviled ham spread and vienna sausages in a can. And Spam. Let’s not forget spam, which I have been informed was popular in the south pacific in part because it tastes the most like people. Because if you weren’t vegan before…
So while I was poking around the internet looking for a tasty lentil spread to add to my vegan sandwich making repertoire I stumbled upon a recipe for mock chopped liver and immediately figured I could easily convert that to a mock liverwurst. About 18 months ago I purchased a book called Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing. I know it seems a bit weird to be using a meat book on a vegan diet but this has some of the best sausage recipes and I see no reason not to convert as many as possible to vegan/vegetarian options. I’ve used it to make breakfast sausage, including maple chicken sausage patties as well as homemade bratwurst. That one was more of a challenge since I don’t have casings or a stuffer. I ended up making meatballs out of the “filling” and serving them on egg noodles and it was superb. I think it’s all just a matter of changing your mindset and not letting yourself get locked into doing things the traditional or accepted way. If you can’t do it the way tradition or a recipe dictates then find another way around. Do something totally unexpected. You never know what you might discover.
or, as I like to call it… Liverbest! or Lentilwurst!…
1 cup lentils (I used brown lentils)
2 1/2 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp sage, marjoram, nutmeg and smoked black pepper
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
2 tablespoon nayonaise
1 tsp onion powder
salt to taste, or smoked sea salt if you cannot find smoked pepper.
In a pot, boil the lentils in 2 1/2 cups water. Lower heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, until the lentils soften. Drain the lentils and let cool. In a food processor, blend together the drained lentils and remaining ingredients except nayonaise. Do NOT liquefy-leave somewhat chunky, chunky being relative as liverwurst is pretty homogenized and fine grain. Stir in the nayonaise, and salt to taste. Cover and chill. The spread I mean. Although you may chill as well. With a beer if you like. Whatever blows smoke up your skirt.
* UPDATE: This stuff looks like chopped liver if my memory of what chopped liver at Canter’s Deli looks like is correct. I couldn’t get it as pureed as I wanted and still keep it thick enough to work as liverwurst. As far as taste goes this is a real winner. It does taste like what it’s supposed to taste like actually. I may try it with a bit of that turkish black salt to give it that hint of iron and sulphur that gives liver it’s liveriness if I can ever find some. I may be forced to buy it on the internet.
One more recipe for the day. I, being a lover of all things Thanksgiving with the possible exception of overly tight bonnets and large-buckled shoes, feel that any time is the right time for stuffing. And in that vein I am making snack stuffing. Yes, I said snack. Because who doesn’t like to snack on stuffing?
SpongeBob’s Summertime Apricot Snack Stuffing
2 large onion, chopped
4 large celery stalks, chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup dried peaches, chopped (or you can use prunes or sour cherries)
1 or 2 cups of your favorite broth, depending on how moist you like your stuffing. I used “chicken”.
1 cube of vegan butter, melted
1 box (2 bags) Mrs. Cubbison’s Stuffing Mix
5 or 6 fresh apricots, pitted and chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute the onions, celery and dried fruit together until onions are soft. Mix in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients and toss until liquids are well distributed. Lightly oil an 8×8 inch baking pan and scoop stuffing into pan. Do not pack down too tightly. Bake uncovered until hot and a nice crust forms on top. Grab the first bowl of this because other people eat it and then you don’t get any. But I’m not bitter about that!