Recently, I took a package of what I thought was pork sausage out of my deep freeze and put it in the fridge to thaw. Imagine my horror when I opened the package to find pork liver when I was supposed to make pizza for dinner that night. Yuck, right? Well, I found a pound of actual sausage, thawed it in the microwave, and my son’s birthday dinner was saved. This package of liver sat in the fridge a couple days while I contemplated what to do with it. No way we were going to eat frank liver, especially pork liver, which even some liver-lovers can’t abide. Liverwurst seemed like a good choice, but the recipes I found online called for ingredients I didn’t have on hand or didn’t want to use in an experiment that could go horribly wrong. So, in my usual idiom, I improvised. According to several of the recipes I found, you’re supposed to let the cooked liverwurst age for a couple days, allowing the flavors to meld. Well, I baked this yesterday afternoon and it’s half gone. Guess they liked it?
I grind most of my spices fresh–it really does make a difference. I have a dedicated pepper grinder that I use for small amounts and a coffee grinder for times when I need to grind larger amount or larger spices that won’t go through the pepper grinder. Allspice is one of those. To grate nutmeg, I use my Microplane grater, one of my most used kitchen hand tools.
Makes one small loaf
1 pound pork liver
1 pork heart
1 pound unseasoned pork sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cloves, freshly ground
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
¼ teaspoon allspice, freshly ground
¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
Preheat oven to 300º F. If you are use a food processor for grinding, cut the liver and heart into cubes and freeze for 30 minutes, so that they will not turn to mush during processing.
Sauté the onion in a little pork fat or butter until it is soft. Sprinkle with the spices to warm them. Process the onion mixture, liver, and heart until you have a smooth purée, then add the sausage and process again until smooth. Fry a spoonful of the purée over medium heat until cooked through to taste for seasoning. Adjust if necessary, but note that flavors will be less intense after the finished paté is cooled. I felt mine tasted to salty when it was fresh out of the oven, but once cooled it did not taste overly salted.
Pack the purée into a loaf pan and cover tightly with foil. Put the dish in a pan with an inch or two of boiling water and bake at 300º F until meat is cooked but not browned (meat thermometer should read 160-165º F), about 2 hours.
Remove baking dish from the pan of water and let paté cool in the dish. Refrigerate 1 to 2 days before using, if you can.