Picnic Gold: Hugh Acheson's Liverwurst Recipe

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James Beard Award-winning chef and all-around food hero Hugh Acheson's new cookbook, The Broad Fork, is inspired by the questions asked at farmers' markets. Acheson demystifies varietals and underused veggies with in-depth analyses, seasonal recipes and other forms of vegetable-forward culinary encouragement. So why liverwurst? Well, you'll need something to go with all those excellent cucumbers you picked out. 

Simple and wonderful, and a first step in learning about the vast art of charcuterie. This recipe is from the brain of Ryan Smith, my very talented friend who used to be the chef at Empire State South. It makes about 4 pints of finished product, enough to feed a good-size party some wonderful sandwiches. Life couldn't be better than watching U.S. Open tennis with a bunch of friends while eating liverwurst sandwiches.

Reprinted with permission from The Broad Fork

Picnic Gold: Hugh Acheson's Liverwurst Recipe
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  • 2/3 lb chicken livers
  • 2/3 lb lean ground pork shoulder (also called sausage-grade ground pork)
  • 1/2 tbsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp Instacure #1 (available at Sausagemaker.com)
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground mace
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  1. Combine the livers and the ground pork in a mixing bowl. Season with the sea salt and the Instacure #1. Place the meat mixture, uncovered, in the refrigerator to cure for 1 hour.
  2. While the meat is curing, heat the canola oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until soft and just browning. Deglaze the pan with the brandy, and cook for about 1 minute to reduce the liquid by half its volume. Remove from the heat and chill in the refrigerator.
  3. After the meat has cured for 1 hour, place the mixture in a food processor, add the chilled onions, and puree. Make the mixture as smooth as possible without the processor warming it too much. Transfer the mixture to a metal bowl, and stir in the pepper, cardamom, ginger, and mace. Cover with plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a tea kettle or saucepan.
  5. Evenly distribute the liver mixture among 4 sterilized 1-pint mason jars. Cover each jar with foil and place all the jars in a baking pan. Fill the baking pan with enough boiling water to reach halfway up the height of the jars. Place the pan in the oven and bake the liverwurst for 30 minutes, or until it has reached an internal temperature of 150°F.
  6. Remove the baking pan from the oven and carefully remove the jars to a cooling rack. Allow the jars to cool to room temperature and then pour 1 tablespoon of the melted butter on top of each potted liverwurst to preserve it. These will keep for 1 week, covered, in the fridge.
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