Finishing de Rontzier’s Sausages

Again I must apologise for the long silence. My health has not been the best, and I had the opportunity to see the “Untergang des Römischen Reiches” exhibit in Trier, which took a lot of time and energy. Here, at long last, are the remaining sausage recipes from de Rontzier:

To make red sausages (Rothwuerste)

You cut a little of the Stiche (the skin and/or subcutaneous fat around the neck incision used to bleed out the pig?) into cubes, mix it with Schweinfarb (blood?), grated white bread (Semmeln), large raisins, pepper, mace, salt, and a little cloves, and then put it into guts.

To make white sausages (Weiße Wuerste)

1 You mix milk, white bread loaves (Semmel), and the intestinal fat of pigs (Schweinflomen) so that it is thick. Then you chop it with ginger, sugar, small raisins, and salt and make sausages of it etc.

2 You chop together the intestinal fat of pigs (Schweinflomen), pig’s tongues, almonds, mace, cinnamon, saffron, sugar, and grated white bread, put it into pig guts etc.

To make sausages of sheer meat (MetWuerste)

You chop the meat of the pig shin (Ißbeine des Schweins) and tender roasting-grade pork (Schweinmoerbraten) together, salt it, and put it into thick beef guts or large pig guts that must first be cleaned in salt, then washed again in water, then lay them out on a table so that the water draws out again etc.

These Metwuerste are also seasoned with wild cumin (Haberkoehm) and caraway (Gartenkoehm), coriander, and juniper berries, in such a way that each is seasoned separately etc.

Of capon sausages

1 You chop capon breasts with the intestinal fat (Flomen) of the capon or of pigs (Schweinflomen) or with bacon, a little grated bread, and egg yolk, season it with mace, a little pepper, and salt, and put it into the guts of lambs or pigs etc.

2 Item you chop capon breasts together with bacon, thyme, mace, ginger, cinnamon, raisins, egg yolk, and salt and put it into pig guts. You can cook them and serve them with lemons, three or four egg yolks mixed (gebrochen) with wine, and mace etc.

3 Item you chop together capon breasts, bacon, bitter oranges (Pommerantzen), dates, three or four egg yolks, cinnamon, mace, and a little salt, wrap it in a caul, and roast the sausage on a griddle. Baste it with butter, slice dates, boil them in wine with sugar, and serve it over the sausage. You drizzle it with bitter orange juice etc.

Sausages of Blammensey

You mix blammensey with hard-boiled egg yolks, boiled and chopped chicken breasts, and dates sliced lengthwise. Put it into pig guts.

Rice Sausages

You mix rice that was boiled in wine with a little finely chopped Stiche (the skin and/or subcutaneous fat around the neck incision?), small raisins, a little Dutch cheese, ground ginger, mace, sugar, and salt, and make large and small sausages from it etc.

These sausages are all boiled in water and then taken out so that they cool. They can then be used for boiling or roasting etc.

The tail end of the chapter is a mixed bag, but there is a fair number of interesting things going on here. The red sausage looks a lot like our Rotwurst, assuming my interpretation is correct. In some twentieth-century descriptions of Schlachtfeste, the skin and fat around where the pig was stabbed to death is cut out separately and added to a sausage, and I suspect that is what the Stich is. The Schweinfarb, literally pig-colour, would then be the blood, an odd phrasing that I have not encountered anywhere else. The result would be a cereal-thickened, firm blood sausage.

The white sausage, on the other hand, is not like modern Weißwurst. It is white because it mainly depends on cereal binder and fat, using pig’s tongues in one instance and no meat other than fat in the other. This is much more like white pudding.

Mettwurst today usually refers to a salami-like hard, smoked sausage, but that does not seem to be the case here. Linguistically, mettwurst is the North German variant of what is called bratwurst in the south, and it is possible that is what de Rontzier is describing here, but in that case it is hard to see why he would bother. There are plenty of recipes for such sausages in the preceding entries for pork, beef, and venison. Possibly these are softer sausages cooked in large intestines to be served in slices or even like a pudding. Some Kochmettwurst looks like that, though it is usually preserved in tins or glass jars nowadays.

The capon sausages are placed a bit oddly here – they seem a better fit with the other meats. They are certainly luxurious: capons, castrated roosters, were raised solely for their tender meat, and making them into sausages verges on the decadent. The recipes themselves, involving plenty of spices, citrus fruit, and eggs, are quite extravagant, but not unusual.

Finally, the sausages made with blammensey (blancmanger) and rice are more akin to meat-flavoured rice puddings than what we would call sausages. These appear to have been popular, but have little to do with charcuterie. With this, the chapter on sausages concludes, and tomorrow I hope to write up the Roman meal we shared before our excursion to Trier.

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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