Pork Sausages from de Rontzier

We are almost done with the sausages in de Rontzier. These are the pork recipes:

Sausages of domestic pig or wild boar

1 You chop pork and roe deer venison, one as much as the other, with the intestinal fat of pigs (Schweinflomen), pepper and garlic, and also salt, and put it into guts that have been washed with wine. You can use these to boil or to roast etc.

2 Item you chop together pork and bacon, one as much as the other, and season it with mace, ginger, pepper, grated parmesan cheese (Parmasanischenkese), and salt. Put it into small or large pig guts and roast them etc.

3 You chop together pork and veal and mix it with parmesan cheese, a little ginger, mace, small raisins, a little wine, and saffron. Make small sausages of this and boil them in capon broth with small raisins. Serve them over sops (suppen) that have the same broth poured over them and bring them to the table.

4 Item you chop together the intestinal fat of pigs (Schweinflomen), apples, egg yolks, grated bread, a little Schweßken (?) passed through, ground pepper, ginger, mace, and salt, put this into pig guts etc.

Pig liver sausages

You chop together the intestinal fat of pigs (Schweinflomen), boiled pig’s liver, ground juniper berries, put it into pig guts etc.

These are in keeping with the other recipes de Rontzier gives us, both in the use of high-end ingredients and the heavy reliance on flavouring ingredients. I am not sure how I feel about Parmeggiano in my sausage, but it is certainly worth trying. The liver sausage, mixing fat and liver with spices, is fairly close to what we do modernly, and recipe #1 also looks like a modern bratwurst sausage, though using venison seems excessive.

One interesting point is that de Rontzier uses the word suppen to mean the bread soaked in the liquid rather than the liquid itself. That is remarkably late – the word Suppe had largely come to mean a liquid food by the 1590s and de Rontzier normally uses it in that sense. An open question is the word Schweßken in #4. It occurs elsewhere as a dialect variety of Zwetschgen, which would make it plums or prunes, but its placement in the recipe seems off for dried fruit. Since de Rontzier is often very terse, I supose it is possible he passed over a step of, say, reconstitution and boiling prunes into a mush that carried spices and coloured the sausage, but that is completely conjectural. I will have to leave it unanswered for now.

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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