Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Swedish Meat Ring!

Swedish Meat Ring
Electric Blender Recipes p. 149
A recent second hand shop find was the charming "Electric Blender Recipes", by Mabel Stenger, copyright 1952. Ms. Stenger has included a lovely dedication:

To Fred Waring
An outstanding musician, a fine person, a good friend,
creator of the Waring Blendor

If you're young, or an uncultured barbarian, you may not know that Fred Waring was an influential bandleader and choral director from the 1930's onward, and yes, he was a financial backer and promoter of the Waring Blendor (which is spelled that way on purpose, so no smart remarks.) My own family has a long and storied history with Mr. Waring and his Pennsylvanians, and my own hoped-for career in corn belt crooning was cut short only by the untimely death of Waring just as I graduated high school.

Ms. Stenger exclaims that, "Working with electric blenders has been a pleasant and exciting experience, of which this book is the joyous fruition...our results have proved conclusively that the electric blender is not a luxury gadget but a useful, practical piece of household equipment...[if] you demonstrate the wonders of your blender to neighbors, friends, and guests, you may discover that you have generated such enthusiasm that until they own a blender you cannot keep your in its appointed place on your kitchen counter!"

And so, we come right to it...The Swedish Meat Ring. HOW COULD I NOT MAKE IT?

I have no idea if people in Sweden eat, or ever ate, anything resembling the Swedish Meat Ring.  Though after ABBA and IKEA, I suppose anything's possible.  Here are the ingredients you'll need:
1/2 pound liverwurst
1 1/2 cups tomato juice
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 thin slice onion
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
6 stuffed olives
1/4 cup diced green pepper

Coarsely cut liverwurst and place in glass container of electric blender. Add tomato juice and gelatin, which has been softened in the cold water 5 minutes and then dissolved over low heat. Add remaining ingredients in order given. Cover container and turn on blender. Run until contents are smoothly blended, about 30 seconds. Pour into lightly oiled 1-quart ring mold. Chill until firm. Serve in molded on cold platter, surrounded and filled by crisp salad greens. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

I'm a great lover of liverwurst, so the central feature of this recipe didn't fill me immediately with revulsion, as it surely did to most of my reading audience.  I was a little more hesitant about the addition of tomato juice, actually, as everyone knows that liverwurst (when eaten on a sandwich) must be paired with yellow mustard, not tomato catsup. 

I'll spare you the fascinating and scientific process of working with unflavored gelatin, since I already covered it.  I'm sure, also, that there's some science behind the admonition to add the ingredients in the order given, so I did.

The blended result was surprisingly liquid-like. I had expected to arrive at a highly-viscous glop that would take me forever to clean up, but it poured right into the mold very easily, and a quick rinse cleaned the blender just fine. 

The final product, once chilled, lacked a certain....visual appeal.  I mean, imagine the color of liverwurst, with a tinge of tomato juice mixed in.  Kind of like something that was either passed painfully of surgically removed from your body, that you're probably grateful to be rid of. My own addition of paprika sprinkled on top didn't help matters. No matter how people in Sweden eat, or how tastes in America have changed since 1952, it's still going to look like that. No telling what Bridge Clubs of the day must have thought when served this for their luncheon.

But what you're dying to know is what husband thought, right?
What we thought: Finally, something he didn't love (or at least kind of like)!  Surprisingly, "too salty" seems to be the biggest complaint. If you're tempted to try this at home, I'd suggest eliminating the added salt (you'll get enough from the liverwurst and tomato juice, I'd imagine.)  I might even be tempted to use lemon Jell-O as a base instead of unflavored. But eliminate the added sugar if you do.
Our Rating: Three screaming husbands!
(all dishes are rated from one to five Screaming Husbands. One Screaming Husband equals a happy home where all problems are solved during cocktail hour. Five Screaming Husbands signals the beginning of divorce proceedings.)


  1. I'm pretty disappointed that the video for this isn't working! I love liverwurst AND bizarre gelatin molds, so regardless of the number of screaming husbands, I'm set on trying this one myself.

  2. I can't imagine what happened to the video, I can't find it on my hard drive either! Good luck, but DO follow my tip about eliminating extra salt - unless you're sodium deficient, of course.