Another Liver in a Caul

Yes, Philippine Welser also has one:

121 To fry a goat liver

Chop the liver thoroughly (?raych) and add a good part of bacon to it, and sage, onion, and parsley. Chop it all together and take a little caraway, 3 eggs, and a little little (repeated) milk. Beat that well into the liver and grate a semel loaf into it. Then take the caul and wrap the chopped liver in it. Beforehand, make it spicy with pepper, ginger, and raisins. Lay it in a pan and have a good part of fat in there. Set it on the floor (of the fireplace) on a griddle and put a small amount of embers underneath. When it is brown underneath, turn it over carefully so it doesn’t break and also let it fry in the other spot.

Similar recipes show up in many fifteenth century sources, which means it is an establisahed tradition by the 1550s. We also find it later, not least in the Kuenstlichs und Fuertrefflichs Kochbuch that comes from Augsburg originally. Clearly, the tradition was alive. The version that Philippine Welser preserves is interesting in that it is fried while the others are roasted. I suspect that it is meant to go on the grill after frying on all sides to make sure it cooks through, but it could equally be finished in a slow pan.

It is unclear whether the liver is pre-cooked or not. The recipe doies not mention it, and it is possible to use uncooked liver for some sausage recipes, but I suspect that it was cooked. Raw liver, if chopped finely, turns almost liquid and would require a lot of breadcrumbs before it developed a consistency fit to wrap in a caul. More importantly yet, many of the other surviving recipes specify boiling the liver first. If they are of a tradition – as I think they are – that degree of difference would be improbable.

I am not convinced by the combination of sage, parsley, pepper, ginger, and raisins for a liver sausage analogue, but I have been wrong before.

Philippine Welser (1527-1580), a member of the prominent and extremely wealthy Welser banking family of Augsburg, was a famous beauty of her day. Scandalously, she secretly married Archduke Ferdinand II of Habsburg in 1557 and followed him first to Bohemia, then to Tyrol. A number of manuscripts are associated with her, most famously a collection of medicinal recipes and one of mainly culinary ones. The recipe collection, addressed as her Kochbuch in German, was most likely produced around 1550 when she was a young woman in Augsburg. It may have been made at the request of her mother and was written by an experienced scribe. Some later additions, though, are in Philippine Welser’s own hand, suggesting she used it.

The manuscript is currently held in the library of Ambras Castle near Innsbruck as PA 1473 and was edited by Gerold Hayer as Das Kochbuch der Philippine Welser (Innsbruck 1983).

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