Sunday, July 26, 2015

My take on Weisswurst

I'm just going to start by dealing with the elephant in the room. Yes, Weisswurst is made from veal. Deal with it.

Now that that's taken care of:

As usual, I didn't have the ingredients to make what I might have originally envisioned, and made do. I expect you'll do about the same. The result was incredible, however, so even if it's inauthentic, I recommend it.

I made this on the side because I didn't have any traditionally made sauerkraut. Traditionally made is fermented in a brine solution, then rinsed thoroughly before eating. The end result is a pleasant, crunchy vegetable with a touch of sharpness and piquency. Supermarket sauerkraut, however, is fast pickled in vinegar, and tastes nothing like the real stuff. I wanted something light and sharp to contrast the meatiness of the rest of the dinner, something to act as an astringent palate cleanser. Well, I had the cabbage...

Take 1 head of cabbage and peel off the nasty outer leaves. Quarter and core it, then slice into strips. In a large bowl, add the cabbage, a few tablespoons of mayonnaise, a dash of salt and pepper, a quarter cup or so of lemon juice, a heaping tablespoon of horseradish, and about a teaspoon of dried dill. Mix thoroughly, cover, and stick in the fridge.

As always, cole slaw is better if prepared the day before, but we don't always have that luxury. Thus, get it out of the way at the beginning so it has at least an hour or so to sit in your fridge before eating.


Grab six large russet potatoes. Peel them and chop them into cubes. Dump into a pot of cold water, then heat the pot under high heat. The pot will take a long time to come to boil and cook the potatoes, by which time hopefully everything else should be ready.

Take a half dozen thick cut strips (double the number for normal thickness) of bacon. I used a medium-fatty bacon, so if yours is leaner, use a bit more. For my readers overseas who use bacon which is cut from leaner parts of the pig, you can use goosefat instead. Chop the bacon into strips about a half inch wide by an inch long. Throw into a large, high-walled pan in medium heat. You'll be cooking the bacon until all the fat has rendered out and the whole bottom of the pan is generously covered in fat. Seriously, don't be afraid of having too much fat. While the bacon cooks, make sure to stir it and break it up on occasion so the bacon gets a little crispy.

While the bacon cooks, take a half dozen large leeks (more if you have skinny ones) and remove the outer leaves. Chop off the very tops, but retain as much of the green part as you can. Slice off the root end. Make sure to rinse to remove any dirt present. Separate the green and white parts, then half the white part lengthwise through the middle. Slice the entire leek into the thinnest strips you can and put into a large bowl until ready to use them.

Similarly, take six stalks of celery, remove and toss the tops and bottoms, and rinse under cold water. Slice lengthwise, then chop the celery into small pieces and add to the leeks.

Once the bacon is done, carefully but quickly remove the bacon to a separate container while retaining the fat in the pan. To the still hot pan, add a flat tablespoon of minced garlic. Watch the garlic like a hawk- the fat will be very hot, and the garlic will likely be done within 30-60 seconds. Once the color just begins to turn (BEGINS to turn), dump in the sliced leeks and celery. Stir the vegetables occasionally and add a dash of salt and pepper.  Cook until the leeks and celery have started to soften, but they don't need to be completely soft and cooked through.

Check your potatoes. They should only need to boil for ~10 minutes. By that time, they'll be done but still very firm. If you aren't sure, grab a piece out and (after blowing on it to cool it off) bite into it. You should reasonably be able to tell if it's done then. Drain the potatoes and add to the leeks. Aren't you glad you had that high walled pan now? Add back the cooked bacon, and stir until everything is well incorporated. Ah, the smells should be pretty fantastic now.

Take 8 weisswurst and add them to the pan. You don't want them sitting on the metal bottom getting heated directly by the pan. Stir them around so that they get a nice coating of the leeks and such, and have all of them nicely snuggled into the potatoes. Cover and turn your heat down to low for 25 minutes.

Serve immediately.