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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Rolled Beef from the Brandenburgisches Kochbuch

Still dealing with the aftermath of the virus, so I apologise for missing out on yesterday’s recipe. Today, I want to share the experiment I did this week. It’s a seventeenth-century recipe recorded in the Brandenburgisches Kochbuch of 1723 (which is itself a pirated edition of Die wohl-unterwiesene Köchin by Maria Sophia Schellhammer). The book itself deserves a closer study than I can give it here, but the recipe is interesting on its own. It is in part two of book one, chapter five, entry 22:

Rolled Beef which is a Fine Dish

Take a piece of meat that is thin and from the belly. Salt it after you have beaten it well and strewed it with saltpeter on both sides. After it has lain for two days, you must water it once. Then remove the skin from one side. Strew this side with bay leaves cut small, lemon peel, thyme, onions, parsley, pepper, cloves, and mace. Roll it up as long as it is, and when it is rolled up, tie three sticks firmly to it with string so that it can just about be stuck into the pot. Then lay it in, add a Quartier (measure) of red wine, a little vinegar, and whole spices. Glue the pot shut and let it cook for 4 to 5 hours. Serve it cold, in slices.

The German cuisine of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries tends to be underestimated, often reduced to a poor copy of French à la mode. Sometimes this happens, but there is a lot of interesting development happening that we should not ignore, and the recipes are often tasty. This is a very substantial dish. Few quantities are given, but starting off with the belly flap of a whole cow or ox sets the tone. The ‘pot’ it is supposed to be suspended in by sticks wedged between the walls is also likely a large, rounded cauldron, not a small saucepan. Being alone at home, I went with a smaller quantity of 1.5kg of beef which I dry-salted and kept in the salt for two days. I did not use saltpeter because it is difficult to source in Germany and potentially hazardous to health, but I imagine it would have produced a more appetising pink colour if I had.

After two days, I watered the beef, cut it open lengthwise, trimmed the ends and proceeded to apply the spice mixture. I was apprehensive that using no salt might make it insipid, but there was more than enough of that left even after a night’s soaking. I coarsely broke up the bay leaves, ground the cloves and mace, finely chopped the onions, and tore the parsley leaves. If I get around to trying this again, I think I will try rendering it all into a paste to see if it produces better adhesion between the meat layers. The flavour was just fine.

A Quartier of wine around 1700 would be about a litre (regionally anywhere between 900 and 1200 ml), but given the size of the meat described here, it sounds as though the cooking is supposed to happen suspended in or over the liquid, not covered completely. I therefore bought an 0.33l bottle of wine and suspended the meat over an improvised rack of chopsticks. Then I added two tablespoons of vinegar and a few whole cloves and bay leaves (my guess as to the ‘whole spices’ and closed the lid. Since I cooked it in a heavy cast-iron pot, I did not use water paste to close the lid, hoping enough steam would remain inside. After four hours simmering on a low heat, I switched it off and let it cool.

The next morning, I cut open the strings and sliced the beef. It was firm and held together well despite the fact I had not pressed it. The taste is very satisfactory, rich, salty and spicy without being overwhelming. I had a sandwich with sweet mustard. The consistency is a little too much on the chewy side, something that more beating and possibly the saltpetre may remedy. I am keeping the piece in my fridge for more slices to eat on bread, but will probably freeze a chunk to see if that works and also because I don’t want to eat just one kind of cold cut all week. Altogether, I declare this experiment a success.

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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 (Hamelßnetz) 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 (Hamelßnetz), 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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Beef and Mutton Sausages (Sausages VI)

More sausage recipes from de Rontzier. We are going for domestic animals now.

Of beef sausages

1 You make sausages that are useful for boiling or roasting of beef that has been roasted dry on a griddle until it is brown and chopped together with butter, whole pepper, ground wild cumin (Haberkoehm) and salt etc.

2 Tender roasting-grade beef (Rinder Moerbraten) chopped with bacon, parsley, pepper, ginger, salt and saffron is filled into guts that have briefly lain in wine vinegar mixed with saffron and been washed again. You roast the sausages and make a sauce of onions cut small, dripping, wine vinegar, and pepper that is served over the sausages.

3 You make sausages for roasting of tender, roasting-grade beef (Rindermoerbraten) with bacon, ground ginger, nutmeg, salt and sugar chopped together. You prepare a sauce to go over them with dripping and sugar.

Mutton sausages

1 You chop mutton small with bacon, large raisins, pepper, ginger, and a properly large amount (zimblich vielem) of salt, wrap it in a mutton caul (Hamelßnetz), roast it, and prepare a pepper sauce (Pfefferbrueh) to serve over it.

2 You chop mutton with marjoram, salt, and pepper, make sausages of this and roast them quickly (hastigen) etc.

3 You chop mutton with onions, parsley, pepper, ginger and lemons, wrap it in a mutton caul (Hamelnetz), boil them in broth, season them with lemons, grated bread, and whole mace, and serve them.

These recipes are mostly not very different from the ones we’ve encountered already. There are the sweet sausages again, the roasted minced meat wrapped in caul, and the sweet and spiocy sauces. The first recipe in the beef section is unusual; It instructs us to make a sausage of previously cooked meat. That is not technically implausible, but I wonder what the point was. The addition of butter makes sense with beef, which is often lean, and consistent with the idea that roasting flavours are supposed to be accentuated, but it makes it hard to see how this sausage would be cooked without leaking. It may be intended to serve cold.

The final recipe in the mutton section also sounds interesting. I suspect the grated bread mentioned towards the end is meant as a crust in a final roasting stage that goes unmentioned. Mutton meatloaf with mace and lemon sounds like a good idea to me.

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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Hare Sausages from de Rontzier (Sausages V)

More game sausages.

Hare sausages

1 You chop the hare meat finely (and mix it) with bacon cut into cubes, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, a properly large amount (zimlich viel) sugar and salt, and a little wine. Make small or large sausages in pig guts. You can use these to boil or roast them.

2 You chop hare meat with bacon, thyme, salt and pepper and wrap it in a mutton caul (Hamelßnetz). Roast them on a griddle and paste them with beef fat or dripping. When you wish to serve them, you pour beef broth over them and strew them with salt.

The idea of sweet sausages may put off many modern eaters, but these flavour combinations are common in historic recipes of the time and survive to this day e.g. in Grützwurst. Wrapping sausage filling in cauls to roast or boil it was quite common and these dishes, like meat puddings cooked in stomachs, were classed as a type of sausage.

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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Roe deer sausages after de Rontzier (Sausages IV)

Two comparatively brief recipes, and again I suspect we are looking at bratwurst-style sausages.

Roe deer sausages

1 Item, you wash roe deer venison in red wine and chop it with bacon, ground pepper, nutmeg, cloves, rosemary and salt all mixed together and put them into ox or pig guts.

2 You chop roe deer venison with bacon, salt, and garlic and make sausages of it. When they have become dry, you roast them on a griddle and serve them with mustard etc.

The garlic ones sound interesting. Other than that, there is not much to add here.

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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Venison Sausages from de Rontzier (Sausages III)

These are made from the best kind of tender meat, the Moerbraten that would otherwise go to roasting. Clearly, a luxury.

Sausages of tender, roasting-grade venison (Hirschmoerbraten)

1 You chop tender, roasting-grade venison (Hirschmoerbraten) together with the intestinal fat of pigs (Schweinflomen) and season it with salt, wine vinegar, grains of paradise, and ginger, and fill it into ox guts. They can be used for boiling or roasting.

2 Item you chop the tender, roasting-grade venison (Hirschmoerbraten) together with bacon, whole pepper, wild cumin (Haberköhm), salt and wine vinegar and put them into pig guts. When they have dried a little, you roast them on the griddle and drizzle them with dripping. You cook drippings, ground cumin and wine vinegar in a pan and use it on the sausages (gib es ueber). When you wish to serve them, strew them with salt etc.

I think these are meant to be served fresh, as Bratwürste, not dried or smoked. The instruction ‘when they have dried a little’ would thus refer to a brief period of resting, not a long exposure to air or smoke. The spice Haberköhm, literally ‘oat caraway’, most likely refers to wild cumin.

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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Bolognese Sausage from de Rontzier (Sausages II)

Bolognese (Bononische) Sausages

You chop together fresh hams of a pig, tender, roasting-grade pork and beef (Schwein unnd Rindermoerbraten) and bacon from the back, as quarter as much. Season it with whole pepper, ground ginger, a good amount of ground nutmeg, salt, and a little wine. Fill it tightly into guts, strew them with salt and let them lie for a night. Then you hang them up, and after they have hung in the smoke for fourteen days, you coat them in butter and hang them up again in a place where they do not have too much smoke and air.

This is an interesting recipe mainly for its nomenclature. A kind of salami, it has little in common with what we know as bologna today (in Germany, this kind of sausage is widely called Mortadella), but its association with the city of Bologna is clearly stated. Figuring out what exactly makes it ‘Bolognese’ sounds like a worthwhile research project.

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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Sausages according to de Rontzier I

Apologies for the intermittent postings, I am still recovering from a nasty bug and dealing with fatigue. De Rontzier has a number of sausage recuipes conveniently grouped into a chapter, and I have decided they are interesting enough to post in their entirety. Today, I will start with the foreign, salami-style ones. That also clears up the mystery of what he means by the zozissen he serves with dried meat.

Of various sausages, and first how to make Zozissen Würste

Item, you chop together the fresh ham of a pig, bacon (Speck) and tender roasting-grade beef (Rindermoerbraten) and season it with whole and ground pepper, mace, and salt. Clean the large intestine of an ox with water and salt so that the fat comes off it cleanly, then fill it tightly (dichte). After they have hung in one place for three weeks where they have much air and little smoke, you shall take them down again and coat them with olive oil. Hang them up again in a place where they do not have too much smoke. This way, they can last (warten) two or three years.

Small Zozischen

1 You chop tender roasting-grade pork (Schweinemoerbraten) with the kidneys and bacon, season it with ground pepper and mace, and salt it. The guts into which you put these sausages must be scraped very thin and then filled. When the sausages have become dry, you roast them on a griddle and turn them often. Then you serve them at the table with mustard or wine vinegar.

2 You chop tender roasting-grade pork (Schweinemoerbraten) and veal together and season it with ground ginger, nutmeg, salt, and a little wine. Fill them into cleanly scraped guts, and when they are dry, your serve them after they are roasted, with dripping (bradfeist) and wine vinegar and strew them with salt and ginger.

(p. 270)

These are interesting, and close to recipes for what is called Italian sausages or sausages to serve with salads from earlier sources. There is nothing inherently different to the recipe, certainly no French innovation. De Rontzier merely calls them by another name.

To modern Germans, these are what we would call Mettwürste, durable air-dried or cold-smoked sausages made from high-grade meat and fat. Today, we mostly eat these as cold cuts on bread, though there are some that are meant for cooking. Historically, Mettwurst is merely a northern variant of the word Bratwurst, and both originally referred to a sausage made from meat that was suitable for roasting (mett in northern dialects, brät in southern), as opposed to organ meats or offal. Today, of course, a Bratwurst is for roasting fresh while a Mettwurst is durable and mostly eaten cold.

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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Roasting heron with de Rontzier

After the previous two posts on the subject, I was gratified to find that de Rontzier has a brief, but interesting chapter on preparing heron.

Of roast heron

Heron has almost the flavour of fish

1 When it has been cleaned, you lay it in water for one night, then boil up vinegar, wash it in that, and stick butter and pepper on the inside. You roast it, and when it turns brown, you strew thinly sliced bacon with pepper and wrap it around the heron. Let it roast until it is done, and strew it with salt and pepper when you wish to serve it.

2 Item you stick (spickt) it with cloves, roast it, and baste it with butter. Boil onions in wine, pass them through a hair cloth, season them with pepper and mace and drizzle the bird with it. But if there is much broth, you shall place coals under the dripping pan (Bradpfannen) so that it boils briefly etc.

3 Item you lard it finely (spickt ihn klein) with bacon and roast it. Then you boil drippings (Bradfeist), wine vinegar and pepper together and pour it over the heron when you want to serve it, and strew it with pepper and salt etc.

4 Item you roast it and drizzle it with olive oil (Baumöhl), but with wine vinegar when it is done. Place pepper and ginger in the dripping pan (Bradpfannen), pour it over the bird when you want to serve it, and strew it with pepper and salt.

(p. 195-96)

As we would expect with a gamebird, there is a universal concern to prevent the meat from drying out by applying butter, bacon, or oil. I do not know whether any of the seasonings will work, but they all look restrained and viable to me. Of course again this is a recipe I am not likely to ever try, given herons are a protected species and probably not very tasty anyway.

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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