Deviled Chicken Livers on Toast with Watercress

I love to serve this dish on thick toasted bread to soak up the sauce. It’s so simple and very budget friendly, If chicken livers are not your cup of tea, you can certainly substitute mushrooms for the livers in this recipe. Most liver is prepared for you these days, but it’s important to remove any white sinewy strings or yellow bits before cooking. Chicken livers are quite rich, so a little devilling with pepper and spices is a great approach. The essential part of sautéing livers is not to overcook them, but to keep them nice and pink in the middle. That way you will enjoy eating them so much more. This dish makes for a really good lunch or supper dish, or a starter for two or more people.

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:
2 heaped tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon English mustard powder
A pinch of cayenne pepper
1 pound chicken livers, trimmed of any sinew and discolouration
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ tablespoon sherry vinegar
Few splashes Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 pieces of sourdough or cibatta bread
1 bunch watercress, trimmed, washed and dried
Splash of olive oil
½ tablespoon capers (optional)
A handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Mix the flour, mustard powder, cayenne and salt and pepper. Put into a flat dish and toss the chicken livers in the mixture. Dust off any excess and put them on a plate in one layer.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan on a high heat. When it is hot, add the chicken livers. When they are all sizzling nicely, turn the heat down a little – you want enough heat to create a crisp coat but not so much that they char. Turn after 2 minutes and cook the other side for 2 minutes.

Lift the livers out on to a warm plate and quickly add to the pan the sherry vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Let these simmer for a moment, then add the chicken stock and stir to deglaze the pan and capture all the flavors. Once the stock has reduced a little, add the butter and swirl it into the stock.

Toast the bread. Dress the watercress with the olive oil, seasoning and capers.

Return the livers to the pan and let them fry for a minute. Throw in the parsley

To serve, place a slice of toast on a plate. Pile the watercress on to the warm toast and spoon the livers and the sauce on top.

devilled-chicken-livers2

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Fancy Fried Chicken Livers

I love chicken livers as much as I love oysters and frying them highlights all the best qualities of the common  grocery store staple, and this quick recipe will make you want to cook them regularly because they are so economical. Really, you can season the eggs and flour however you want, just be bold. Sometimes I use Thai Sweet Chile Sauce, and the hotter the sauce the better—the liver can stand up to it. I like to eat them immediately after frying, when the crunchy exterior gives way to a still-juicy center.

Salt is mandatory plus more hot sauce and a squeeze of fresh lemon for lift. Fried chicken livers can be seasoned to almost any taste. You can swap the Old Bay for a combination of roasted sesame seeds and Korean red pepper flakes. Or try sprinkling them with crushed peanuts with a side of fish sauce and lime dressing and shredded cabbage.

Once cooked, fried chicken livers last in the fridge for up to two days, during which time you could simply snack on them cold with a dab of mustard. My favorite way to use leftovers is chopped in a hearty salad of arugula, ranch dressing, and roasted sweet potato, or you can tuck them into a roll with a spicy slaw and some sliced pickles.

Fried Chicken Livers

Photo Credit: TASTE, 2018

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1 pint container of chicken livers
1 egg
¼ cup hot sauce, plus additional for serving
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
vegetable, oil for frying
McCormick’s OLD BAY® Seasoning
Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions:
Rinse livers in cold water and pat dry with paper towels before trimming them of visible sinew, fat, and areas of green discoloration. Separate large connected lobes, but otherwise try keep the pieces as big as possible.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg with a fork until blended, then add hot sauce and mustard. Gently drop the livers in the egg wash and toss to coat. Let them marinate for up to 10 minutes while you prepare the breading.

To make the breading, mix the flour, cornmeal, and the remaining spices in a shallow pan or plate so you can spread the mixture out. Lay the livers on the seasoned flour and let them sit on one side for at least 2 minutes so the coating bonds well to the egg. Gently turn them over and repeat on the other side.

Heat half an inch of oil in a cast-iron or carbon steel pan. Fry the livers until dark golden brown before flipping, which takes about 2 or 3 minutes depending on the size of the piece. 5 minutes. Don’t be tempted to let them go longer than 5 minutes to insure a  perfectly pink interior, which is what you want. This is how you harness the elegant pâté qualities that are waiting to be unlocked, so keep an eye on the smaller pieces. When the livers are solidly golden brown on both sides, they are done on the inside, Be careful when cooking livers, the liver releases a lot of juice while frying on the first side. I like to wear sunglasses to protect my eyes and then sprinkle a pinch of the dredging flour on the top to absorb the moisture and prevent splattering. Flip the livers and continue to cook until they are uniformly brown, another minute to 2 minutes.

Drain on paper towels. Once the livers are fried, you would be almost negligent not to consider another layer of flavor for the exterior, so lightly dust generously with Old Bay. Serve with lemon wedges and hot sauce.


Chicken Liver Mousse

mouusse

 

Thanks to the “yuck” reaction that offal provokes, and the tedious predictability of their cooking treatment, chicken livers don’t top most people’s shopping lists. That’s a shame, because when nicely cooked (seared on the outside, still rosy within), with their robust, meaty character balanced by another big flavor (think vinegar, pomegranate molasses, bacon, marsala, tart berries), and perhaps freshened up at the last moment with salad leaves and fresh herbs, they make most rewarding eating.And they are affordable if you are trying to stretch a budget.

Chicken livers are high in protein and a rich store of folate, which is important for fertility and helps prevent certain birth defects. (it is advised that pregnant women not  eat liver because too much vitamin A can harm the baby.) Livers are also loaded with iron to give you energy and a treasure trove of certain B vitamins, most notably B12. This nutritional profile makes them a good choice for anyone prone to anemia. Chicken livers are also one of the top sources of vitamin A, which helps eye health.

Supermarkets sell containers or packs of fresh chicken livers for around $2.49/lb. But because the richness of chicken livers means that just a few will go a long way, you can probably afford to trade up for the best. Expect to pay around £8-10/lb for organic livers, either at the farmer’s market or a specialty gourmet market.

Serves 12

Ingredients:
5 pounds chicken livers, soaked 12 hours or overnight in milk
5 cups heavy cream
½ cup Cognac
Salt, to taste
Micro herbs or edible flowers, for garnish

Directions:
Heat oven to 300°F.

Purée livers, cream, Cognac and salt in a blender until smooth, then pour mixture into a baking pan and place pan inside a larger pan. Fill the larger pan with water, cover with foil and bake until a thermometer inserted into mousse registers 155°F.

Remove mousse from oven, remove small baking pan from large pan and place on wire rack to cool. Once cooled, reserve in refrigerator.

To serve, spread mousse over toasted bread or crackers. Garnish with herbs, greens or edible flowers.

Cook’s Note:
To make mousse light and fluffy, whip with mixer before serving.