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A Bavarian delicacy.
The basic ingredients of Bavaria Leberkäse or liver meatloaf comprise roughly stripped beef, fatty pork, lard, water and salt.
It is important to note that there’s no liver in Bavarian Leberkäse, although as a rule liver is present in examples made outwith Bavaria. Leberkäse is baked in a rectangular form with a rosé colour within and a dark crust.
Many Bavarian butchers prepare fresh Leberkäse twice a day. Once for the obligatory midmorning snack with bread and the second time for its afternoon equivalent at 4 pm. Enthusiasts of the meat product regard the crisp end crust, the so-called "Scherzel", as the tastiest bite.
For main meals Leberkäse is served warm in thick slices with accompanying potato salad or "Ochsenaugen" (fried eggs) and sweet mustard. The accompanying drink is beer. For a snack with bread, one eats Leberkäse just as sausage: cold and thinly sliced, perhaps with a sour gherkin, and placed inside a bread roll.
Leberkäse has been produced in Bavaria for a good 200 years and has been long accepted as a classical Bavarian culinary product. As Elector Karl Theodor from the Palatinate line of the Wittelsbach family fell heir in 1776 to the childless Elector Max III Joseph von Bayern, he brought with him from Mannheim a personal butcher when he moved to Munich.
A few years later this person created a composition out of finely chopped pork and beef, which was then baked in a bread form. Those investigating the root of the name Leberkäse have established that it originates from the old German terms "Lab" and "Kasi". These words are connected with the coagulation of meat protein through cooking or frying. It is also understood that the word “Leber” in this context is simply a modification of the word "Laib" and the word "Käs" indicates a compact mass such as, e.g., in the German words "Quittenkäs" (quince preserve) or "Kartoffelkäs" (potato loaf). According to this deduction Leberkäs means a compact mass within a form.
Wicked tongues also call Leberkäse "Beamtenripperl" (civil servant’s rib of beef). Marzell Oberneder dedicated an Upper Bavarian ode to the Leberkäse which, roughly translated, reads: "Since bread snacks began, the Leberkäse is one of the most desirable. When one wants to enjoy this, Bavaria is the best place. There, old custom means everyone loves it. It is prominent with right - especially the ones made by Wolf the Kajetan. Leberkäs!
A fine smell quickly permeates the inn when this product, wrapped in paper and already portioned by hand without the help of knife or fork, enters the open mouth. Every person in Straubing knows that this should be eaten hot because the soul relaxes when steamed a little! If one has luck he gets the heel of the meatloaf already separated and crispy brown and gleaming softly, permeated with a mild, tasty sourness: an eye-opener and the stomach’s greatest joy.
Yes, a real pleasure until a belch marks the end of the meal. Those who like to eat Leberkäse – and not forgetting the accompanying beer and bread - laugh happily, having a heavenly time among the happiest people in the world!”
For four people one needs 400 g lean beef, 400 g pork, 200 g ham (without rind), ¼ litre water, 1 teaspoonful of salt, 1 teaspoonful of freshly ground white pepper, 1 medium sized onion, 1 dessert spoonful of marjoram and butter for smearing the form insides.
All the meat must be well cooled before processing and cut into rough pieces before being put through the fine plate of a meat mincer. Both types of meat are then put with a scraper into a mixer and mixed in smoothly with water (in form of ice) with salt and pepper added.
The ham is then passed through the large-holed plate of the mincer and then blended loosely into the meat mix. Peel the onion, grate it and, along with the marjoram, blend into the meat mix. Then allow to stand until cold once again. For baking, rub a rectangular form with butter and fill with the meat mix.
Stroke the surface until smooth and make 5 mm deep rhombic patterns on the surface with a knife. Then place the Leberkäse in the preheated (180 ° C) oven, middle shelf, and bake for around an hour. (Air-circulating ovens approx. 160 ° C, gas at stage 2 to 2 1/2).
Quelle: Freund, Heidemarie: Die leckere Wurstküche, Menden/ Sauerland 1983, Seite 23
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