Another Liver In a Caul Recipe

Life continues to throw stuff my way, so I apologise for missing another day. Today, there is only a short and familiar recipe from the Kuenstlichs und Fuertrefflichs Kochbuch:

37 To Roast Calf Liver

Boil the liver and salt it. When it has boiled, chop it very small and put it in a bowl. Break eggs into it and pour in hot fat (brenn schmalz daran) and stir it well together. Or take bacon and chop it into that in place of the fat. Season it nicely and colour it yellow, and also take Rosinlein and Weynberlein. Add them, and do not make it too thin with the eggs. Then place it in a caul (netzlein) and sew the caul shut so the liver does not escape. Take a pot, place a lid (sturtzen) on it, lay small pieces of wood (hoeltzlein) on the lid. If you have bacon slices (specklein), you may place them on the wood so the liver does not stick to them. Then lay the liver on them and set the pot into the oven by the fire, and see to the oven that it does not burn, thus it will be nicely crisp (roesch) and good.

Liver roasted in a caul is avery common dish across the German corpus, with similar recipes occurring in Cgm 384, Cod Pal Germ 551, the Königsberg MS, and Meister Eberhard. The process is always similar: The liver is parboiled, chopped, mixed with eggs, seasoned, and has raisins added. It is then wrapped in a caul and cooked. What makes this particular recipe interesting is the technique. Instead of roasting it on a griddle, it is here carefully rested on skewers laid across the inverted lid of a pot with bacon slices put under it to prevent it from sticking. The entire description speaks to the skill and experience of the cook. It is then cooked in an Ofen. These ovens were not primarily baking ovens, but designed to heat a room, and were used to cook while the fire was burning inside them. This method was both economical and elegant.

The short Kuenstlichs und Fuertrefflichs Kochbuch was first printed in Augsburg in 1559 and reprinted in Nuremberg in 1560 and subsequently. Despite its brevity, it is interesting especially as it contains many recipes for küchlein, baked or deep-fried confections, that apparently played a significant role in displaying status. We do not know who the famous cook referenced in the title may have been or if he ever existed.

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