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There are varieties of liver sausage from all over the world, but many of them use similar techniques in the process. Making sausage came about as a method of preserving meat through salting and aging, although with the advent of refrigeration, many types of fresh liver sausage are now available. Liver sausage generally is made from chicken, beef or pork livers, but the liver also can be combined with other varieties of meat, depending on the exact type of sausage being produced. The sausage is either placed into casings, left in bulk to form patties or utilized in various cooking recipes. Pâtés and delicatessen-type sausages can be made by grinding the meat more finely and cooking in hot water.
Liver sausage generally is a type of cooked sausage, which means that it is combined with other ingredients before being cooked immediately and eaten. Meat that is freshly ground makes the best type of liver sausage for this application. Basic liver sausage usually is placed into casings made from pig, sheep and cow intestines and cooked in a hot water bath just below the boiling point — approximately 176° Fahrenheit (80° Celsius) — for 10 minutes. The sausage can then be cooled and stored in a refrigerator for a few days before being eaten. If the sausage mixture is not stuffed into casings, it can be cooked and added to recipes.
The amount of liver in the sausage depends a lot on the recipe and the personal preference of the people eating them. Beef liver should not be more than 25 percent of the total recipe so that the taste is not overwhelming. Pork liver is a popular choice in many parts of the world, as are goose, duck and turkey livers. Venison and other wild game generally are deemed unsuitable to be used in liver sausage because of the strong taste of the liver. Other common ingredients include pork belly, pork meat, sugar and spices.
Another type of liver sausage is known as delicatessen sausage or pâté. This variety is ground more finely than regular liver sausage and spends time being emulsified in a hot water bath to combine the meat and fats. Delicatessen sausage and pâté are often used as a spread and eaten on bread and crackers. Pâtés are sometimes cooked in the oven before being eaten, but different recipes dictate the cooking terms. They utilize the same ingredients as regular liver sausage, aside from being smoother in texture.
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