Gram's Soltz (Sultz) and Liver Dumplings

Both Gram and Great Aunt Mary (at left in 1976) made these and they were wonderful, old-world treats. I don't make them anymore but sometimes I think about it. I'd hate for these recipes to be lost.

Soltz (Sultz)
When Gram made this it was always something of an event. Her brother George would come by and bring hot rye bread from Meisel's Bakery. We would sit on her front porch on the big swing and the glider and eat the soltz with rye bread, mustard, sliced onions and cold beer. It is a sort of pickled meat that is really delicious. Those old German's used up everything so soltz was a way of using up the meat scraps left on bones. Later people added extra meat --- Jim Auman (who is married to Aunt Mary's daughter Snooky) added chopped up turkey to his. Gram used to say that the only part of a pig you couldn't use was the squeek.

Place 5-6 lbs. of meaty bones in a large kettle, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Simmer 2-3 hours until the meat is falling off the bones. Remove meat and strain the broth well. Measure it and add an equal amount of cider vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste (best if you use a fair amount of pepper). Let the meat cool a bit and remove it from the bones discarding all the fine bones and gristle. Grind the meat and add extra if you like. Add an onion. Place it back in the broth. Simmer for 5 minutes in the vinegar broth until the onion is cooked.

Ladle into loaf pans. In some Pennsylvania Dutch communities they make an arrangement of carrots and pickles to look like flowers in the bottoms of the pans "chust for nice", as they say. Cool the soltz and it will gel. Refrigerate until very cold then slice and serve with mustard and rye bread. Have a beer.

Liver Dumplings
I know it sounds strange but they are absolutely delicious! Gram often made them with a commercial onion soup mix for the broth which is fine. They are extra delicious if you make a batch of Mom's Egg Noodles to serve with them.

1 lb ground calves liver
1 stack of saltine crackers, crushed
1 egg
1 small onion, minced
1 tsp salt
juice of one lemon (optional)
Bring the onion or a beef broth to a rolling boil. Drop the liver mixture in by the tablespoonful. Boil about 20 minutes or until the dumplings float to the top and are done on both sides. Ladle the broth and dumplings into a soup plate and serve with noodles.

Parlez-Moi Blog Post about Soltz



Jack’s Smoked Sausage

In My Last Romance and other passions the last story, “Treat Yourself to the Best” is about a young woman named Fifi whose big, noisy, rural family drives her crazy. In the story she takes her husband back to her hometown for a sausage making party, a thing I have plenty of familiarity with!

My brother Jack was a great sausage maker. This recipe is in the original cookbook written exactly the way he wrote it down for me. Jack died in 2002 and I think of him every day. This is his recipe:

Grind up 25 lbs. Of venison or beef and 25 lbs. Of pork. Pork butts are the best but bulk pork may be used. Crush 6 cloves of garlic and soak them in a quart of hot water. To the ground meat add 1 lb. Morton’s Tender Quick (available at most butcher shops), 1/4 lb. Sugar, 2 oz. Black pepper, 1/4 t. sage and the juice of two lemons. Blend in. Work in the garlic water until the meat and water is completely mixed. Stuff sausage into casings. Hang the sausages and let them dry overnight. The next day it is ready to be smoked. During smoking you must keep an eye until it gets to a rich, red color, and the casings are dry.

To serve, boil them for 15-20 minutes, grill over open fire or sauté over medium heat until firm and cooked through.

At home, as in the story, we usually had them with baked beans and pancakes.

More about Jack: Good Night, Sweet Prince