Funnily enough, leberkäse translates literally from the German as ‘liver cheese’, despite there being neither liver nor cheese in this meatloaf recipe. Hugely popular in the Bavarian region, it is often served sliced, fried and piled into a burger with mayo, gherkins, mustard and crisp onions, as I have done here. The texture of the meat is really fine, much like a hot dog, and it tastes like a spicy sausage. The curing salt is not essential, but it does keep the meat nicely pink; substituting ordinary salt is fine but the loaf will be darker in colour.
you will need a 21 x 12cm loaf tin, brushed inside with vegetable oil Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas Mark 4.
Place the pepper, salt, mace or nutmeg, coriander, marjoram, chopped onion and garlic in a food processor and whizz to a pulp. Add the bacon and process again until well blended and quite smooth. With the motor running, drop spoonfuls of mince into the processor, allowing it to process for about 20 seconds or so before adding more. Once both the beef and pork mince have been added, keeping the motor running, pour in the ice-cold water in a steady trickle. Allow everything to process for another couple of minutes until you have a really smooth pâté-like paste. If your processor bowl is on the small side you may need to do this in a couple of batches to get it smooth enough, then beat the batches together to a uniform emulsion.
Scrape the mixture into the prepared loaf tin, pressing it well into the corners and mounding it up and smoothing the surface so it looks like a raised loaf of bread. Don’t worry that the tin is full to overflowing – it won’t rise as it cooks and by mounding it high you will get nice big slices when you cut it. Wet a sharp knife with cold water. Make diagonal slashes across the surface to form a diamond pattern, wiping and re-wetting the knife as you go so it doesn’t stick. Put the tin on to a baking tray and slide into the oven. Bake for about an hour and 15 minutes, until it’s browned on the surface and has pulled away from the sides of the tin. It should be piping hot all the way through – if you have a meat thermometer, it should read 75°C/170°F in the centre; if you don’t, insert a skewer into the centre and leave it for 20 seconds, then touch it quickly to your bottom lip – it should feel hot rather than lukewarm.
While the meatloaf is cooking, make the chive mayonnaise by stirring the mayonnaise and chives together in a small bowl and seasoning with a little pepper. Set aside. Place the oil and sliced onions in a large frying pan and set over a medium heat, frying until starting to soften and lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside until the meatloaf is cooked.
Once the meatloaf is out of the oven, remove it from the tin and place on to a chopping board. It should come out easily, skewered on to a fork at each end. Cut into 2cm-thick slices.
Set the onions back over a medium heat, pushing them to one side of the pan. Fry the slices of leberkäse for a minute or so on each side until crisp. You may need to do this in batches, depending on the size of your pan. The onions should caramelise nicely alongside the slices of meatloaf – if they are getting too browned, lift them out on to a plate.
To assemble the rolls, spread the chive mayonnaise on the base of each, and top with a little lettuce and a few slices of gherkin. Add a slice of leberkäse to each, followed by a few onions. Spread a little mustard on to the top half of the bun and press it down on to the burger. Serve immediately.