Veal Sausages from de Rontzier (Sausages VII)

Here we have recipes for liver sausage for the first time in the book – not exactly like modern ones, but interesting nonetheless.

Veal sausages

1 Item you chop veal with bacon, almonds, ground cloves, wild cumin (? Haberkoehm) and sugar, and also saffron if you would have them yellow, and make sausages of this.

2 You chop veal with bacon, mace, sugar, ginger, and salt, wrap it in a mutton caul (Hamel├čnetz) and boil them. Season them with sugar, cinnamon, and wine together with toasted white bread, let them cook until fully done, strew them with sugar and cinnamon etc.

Of veal liver sausages

1 You mix chopped calf’s liver with bacon, pepper, ginger, eggs, white bread, and salt, and wrap it in a calf’s caul (Kelbernetz). You can boil or roast it etc.

2 You chop boiled calf’s liver with eggs, white bread, a little beef fat, rosemary, mace, and cut figs, and mix it with bacon cut into cubes. Wrap it in a mutton caul (Hamel├čnetz), boil it, and prepare it with apples and figs cut up small etc.

3 Item you chop calf’s liver with beef fat, ginger, saffron, parsley roots, and raw eggs, then cut hard-boiled eggs in quarters and place them inside the sausages lengthwise. Boil them in wine and white bread that has been passed through a haircloth. Leave them sour or sweeten them.

De Rontzier does not include any simple recipes for veal sausages, possibly because the meat was already a luxury, or maybe because he felt it had too little flavour of its own. The meat sausages look like the bratwurst type, cooked and served fresh. The liver sausages are interesting because they have so many things added we would feel unnecessary: bread, egg, figs, parsley roots, even hard-boiled eggs. Some German meat loaf recipes still put eggs at the center for decorative effect, and it seems that these sausages, too, were meant to be sliced so as to show the egg. Note that the liver sausages are meant to be served warm, in sauces. They do not go on bread or sandwiches, as liverwurst does today.

Franz de Rontzier, head cook to the bishop of Halberstadt and duke of Braunschweig, published his encyclopaedic Kunstbuch von mancherley Essen in 1598. He clearly looks to Marx Rumpolt’s New Kochbuch as the new gold standard, but fails to match it in engaging style or depth. He is thus overshadowed by the twin peaks of Marx Rumpolt and Anna Wecker. What makes his work interesting is the way in which he systematically lists versions of a class of dishes, illustrating the breadth or a court cook’s repertoire. He is also more modernly fashionable than Rumpolt. Looking to France rather than Italy and Spain for inspiration, and some of the dishes he first describes may be genuine innovations.

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