Twentse bakleverworst is a pan-fried liver "pudding" sausage made in the region of Twente in the eastern part of the Netherlands. It is straight in shape, approximately 60 cm long and has a diameter of around 8-14 cm. The weight varies from 1 to 3 kg. The color varies from gray to dark gray, especially when spices like clove and allspice are used. If an artificial casing is used, it is usually transparent, labeled with the name Twentse bakleverworst, while natural gut casings will give the sausage a more irregular shape. The consistency of the filling is rather coarse, but depends on the percentage of meal used compared to meat. The spicy flavor is largely determined by the amount of pepper used.
Bakleverworst originates from the days of home slaughtering, when nothing was thrown away. The perishable pork liver and extra meat broth were bound with meal into a nutritious sausage. North of Twente, similar liver sausages were made. In Drenthe, heart, lungs, pork rind etc. were included in the recipe. In Groningen, some meat was added to the liver and oat groats, instead of meal, were used. The liver sausages were eaten either fried, together with the hot meal, or on rye bread without frying. South of Overijssel Province, slaughter wastes were (and still are) transformed into a balkenbrij (another meat pudding).
Baklever making was the task of the women. The cleaning of the intestines was the most laborious part. Larger cow intestines were preferred, but usually pig intestines were used, and if these were not available, sewed linen bags and even old cloths or underwear were used. Besides buckwheat-meal, rye-meal was also used as a binder. Both crops grew well on the poor sandy soils of Twente. Just after the Second World War, when people quit home slaughtering but wanted to keep to the local customs, there was a high demand for baklever, still a cheap and nutritious product. Paper casings replaced natural intestines and linen bags on a large scale. In the past people ate bakleverworst within a few weeks. In the 1970s the nylon casing was introduced, which increased the shelf life of this sausage from about two weeks to four weeks. The Dutch Warenwet (Food Regulation) does not allow for a high meal content as in Twenste Bakleverworst. Around 1960, The Crown made an exception for Bakleverworst, which still exists today regarding the percentage of meal used.
Many say that Twentse bakleverworst is best right after preparation. The sausage is cut into slices of 1.5 cm and fried for about ten minutes in butter (or, historically, lard) on both sides. A flat pan without cover must be used, otherwise the sausage falls apart from too much moisture. Bakleverworst is eaten on a slice of wheat bread or, more traditionally, rye-bread. Among the Catholic communities of the population of Twente it was a custom to eat lots of bakleverworst (and other sausage) after for Christmas. Today the sales of Twentse bakleverworst are still at their peak in the lead up to Christmas.
No universal recipe for Twentse bakleverworst exists, but today the average composition is: 15% meat from the head, 15% salted pig liver, 20% diced lard, 30% broth, 20% buckwheat-meal, 2% salt and 0.5% spices (including black pepper, mace, marjoram, ground nutmeg, coriander, cardamom, ginger powder and thyme, and occasionally allspice and clove). All the ingredients are mixed, and have a pancake batter-like consistency. They are poured into the casings, which are then tied and boiled for 1.5-3 hours.
In de 60-er jaren leidde de specialisatie op het boerenbedrijf en de stijgende keuringskosten tot een op grote schaal afstoten van de slachtactiviteiten naar de slager. Vooral direct na WOII was de vraag naar baklever erg groot. De al voor WOII gebruikte perkament (papieren) darm verving op grote schaal de natuurdarm en de linnenzak. De Kroon heeft omstreeks 1960 voor Twentse Bakleverworst een uitzondering gemaakt op de Warenwet, waardoor tarwe-, rogge- of boekweitmeel toegevoegd mocht worden in grotere hoeveelheden (30% versus 4%; de typisch grijze kleur komt door boekweit).
In veel Twentse gemeenten bestond tot die tijd een baklever-verordening. In de jaren ‘70 werd de kunststofdarm geïntroduceerd. De kwaliteit en de houdbaarheid van de worst steeg. Deze worst wordt gemaakt van varkenslever, spek en bouillon van slachtresten. De worst wordt gedurende enkele uren gaar gebraad in water van 90 °C; enkele uren nagegaard in de fornuuspot (soort ketel) en niet meer in linnen zakken. Kruiden: foelie, majoraan, nootmuskaat, koriander, kardemon, gember, tijm, piment en/of kruidnagel. Nog circa 20 slagers produceren de echte Twentse bakleverworst.
Traditie: Van bakleverworst wordt traditioneel door de katholieke bevolking direct na de nachtmis op Kerstavond gesmuld.