Friday, June 10, 2011

What Is Wurst and Why Curry It?

Currywurst is a dish of German descent. It is a spicy, generally pork sausage (or wurst in German) seasoned with curry. How did curry get into Germany, one might ask? After World War II there was a huge influx of foreign workers who made their way into Germany, bringing influences from around the world into the culture. Middle Eastern and Eastern European influences began fusing with German traditions, leading to the marriages of tastes and the creation of yummy dishes.

Traditionally, currywurst is a fast-food dish, usually served from food trucks. Legend has it that currywurst was first made by Herta Heuwer in Berlin in 1949 with ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and curry powder that she got from British soldiers stationed in Berlin. Now, it has become a traditional “diner” food and a favorite of many. It is found most often in the metropolitan areas of Berlin and Hamburg.

This dish is back by popular demand at Restaurant Eugene. Chef de Charcuterie James Ellington of Holeman and Finch is making his currywurst with lamb. “I’d say it’s about 90 percent lamb, 10 percent pork, and about 78 percent lean and 22 percent fat.” The lamb comes from Border Springs Farm in Virginia and the pork comes from Riverview Farms in Ranger, Georgia.

After being ground and combined with curry and spices, the currywurst will be piped into a casing and poached. The H&F currywurst will be made with cream, to give the meat lightness and just the right texture.

It is estimated that 800 million servings of currywurst are sold in Germany every year, and it seems that currywurst is growing in popularity in the states as well; overwhelming demand is what inspired James to put it back on the menu. “We usually serve it in early spring, but everyone likes it a lot and wants us to bring it back, so I’m making it now before it gets too hot.”

Currywurst is on the menu at Holeman and Finch now, being served with roasted beets and cucumber chutney, topped with pea shoots and beet greens. Come see what you think.

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