Chicken Liver Salad

Just-cooked chicken livers on a bed of spinach leaves and fresh orange segments, dressed with pan juices deglazed with port, redcurrant jelly, orange juice, lemon juice. Salt and pepper.

Recipe suggests slightly warming and wilting the spinach leaves in a sprinkle of oil and lemon, that might be interesting. Just under 500 cals allowing 100 gms liver per serving.

From a Tesco Recipe Collection booklet, 1997

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Chicken Liver Parfait

Another one based on Glynn Christian's Pies, Pates and Terrines. Scaled up, with variations. Makes a beautiful smooth mild creamy pate, great for parties. Keeps well in the fridge if sealed with fat on the top.

  • 150 gms butter
  • 1 medium size onion, finely chopped (about 6 oz)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 750 gms chicken livers, cleaned, but left whole (3 tubs if you bought frozen)
  • 5 fl oz double cream (or possibly more, you want about 6 tablespoons of whipped cream by the end)
  • seasoning and flavourings, see below
  • butter / goose fat to seal

Melt the butter, in a fairly big heavy frying pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook gently until soft but not coloured, don't let the butter scorch. Add the chicken livers, and cook for about 5 minutes – don't stir them or poke them about, just let them set in the warm butter. They should still be pink inside. After 5 minutes, turn them over once, so the pink side is down, and turn the heat off. This is important now, let the mixture cool, not until it's set solid, but so that the fat is thickening and it's definitely not warm. It can easily take over two hours, especially if your kitchen is warm, so go find something else to do. Process in the whizzy-thing until perfectly smooth – the solidifying fat gives a good air content and a moussey texture. Whip the cream until thick, in a big bowl. Fold in the pate mix, and your chosen flavourings. Salt of some kind is good, and about 6 tablespoons of some kind of liquid – alcohol is usual.

Today I'm using brandy and crushed green peppercorns, but we've also had pernod and dried tarragon, prunes and calvados, or any plumped-up dried fruit left over after making flavoured vodkas.

Smooth into a serving dish, with a bit of room left at the top. Melt butter, let the solids sink to the bottom, and pour the clear fat onto the top to seal. You can put bits of greenery into that to decorate, or peppercorns, or whatever. Or you can just melt butter and poultry fat together, and use that. Make sure it's well covered to seal. Keep in the fridge, I think it's best left for a day or so to mature the flavours.

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Chicken Livers times three

I posted this elsewhere in response to a query about what to do with chicken livers:

Stir-fry with butter and garlic, toss into your favourite warm plain tomato pasta sauce, with just a tad of balsamic vinegar and nutmeg, and serve over pasta with a spoonful of sour cream and plenty of fresh basil.

Or cook in loads of butter until the centres are still slightly pink, let it cool til nearly solid, then whizz up in a food processor with a spoonful or two of your favourite strong booze – brandy, pernod, or cointreau are all good. Stir in appropriate flavourings such as green peppercorns or fresh citrus peel shreds, and mix lightly with whipped double cream. Let set in small pots in the fridge. Cover with melted butter to seal and it will keep for about a week. Great on thin crisp toast, or alongside a sharp green salad.

 

The first is a Northern Italian influenced thing, I've used NCG Plum Tomato and Creme Fraiche soup instead of pasta sauce in the past, which has worked well. It needs the nutmeg and maybe even cinnamon to boost the warmth. I can't remember where I got it from …

The parfaits are probably from a Glynn Christian Sainsbury cookbook, either Pies Pates and Terrines, or his Christmas one.

And of course there's the classic Dirty Rice, cooking them with loads of onion, celery and green pepper, with plenty of black pepper and paprika / cayenne, and then adding long grain rice and letting it simmer in wine and stock til done. Adding spicy or garlic sausage at the beginning if you like, and prawns and fresh chopped tomato at the end.

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