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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Hoecakes and Honey

General Washington started each day with a breakfast of hoecakes as described by members of his family and guests. More than likely, Washington’s first mea1 of the day was prepared by the enslaved chef, Hercules Posey. Washington’s family loved Hercules’ cooking – Washington’s step-grandson described Hercules as one of the best chefs in America. Washington praised Hercules’ cooking so much the president was reportedly angered and surprised when Hercules escaped and sought his own freedom.This recipe is a modern adaptation of the 18th-century original recipe found among the letters of Nelly Parke Custis Lewis, Washington’s step-granddaughter.

Hoecakes Collage

 

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Oyster Stew

 

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With the first wave of Irish immigrants entering America in the 1700s, prior to the onset of the Great Irish Potato Famine of 1845-1852, many brought with them their culinary traditions of eating fish and shellfish of their home country. The vast majority Irish immigrants were Roman Catholic. And like most Catholics today, they followed religious dietary customs around holidays, one of which was to abstain from eating meat during Lent and on Christmas Eve and fish was the protein of choice.

In Ireland, the Christmas Eve meal revolved around a fish called the ling where home cooks made a simple stew using dried ling, milk, butter and black pepper. However, Irish cooks could not find dried ling in America and out of necessity, they adapted to using oysters because they were similar to dried ling. Today, many families enjoy serving a most satisfying dish of Oyster Stew as part of their religious customs. Oyster stew can be enjoyed any time of the year and the most important factors in preparing oyster stew is not allow the milk to boil and do not overcook the oysters. Be careful to avoid overcooking oysters, which causes them to become tough.

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 celery stalk, chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
2 quarts whole milk, warmed
2 cups heavy cream
Pinch cayenne pepper
3 dozen fresh oysters, shucked, with liquor reserved
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ bunch fresh chives, snipped, for garnish
Oyster crackers, for serving

Directions:
Drain the oysters using a very fine strainer to remove and reserve the liquor. Set aside.

In 6 quart Dutch oven, melt about 5 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Reduce the heat and add the onion, celery and salt. Cook slowly, until onions are translucent and the celery is softened, for 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour, stirring well to blend, cooking for 2 minutes.
Whisk in the milk, heavy cream and reserved oyster liquor. Add the cayenne pepper. Reduce the heat to a light simmer, stirring often to prevent scorching, for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, melt the remaining butter. Add the oysters in a single layer, being careful not the crowd them. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper and sauté until the edges of the oysters begin to curl, slightly revealing the gills.

Add the oysters to the Dutch oven and return to a gentle simmer to warm the stew through. Taste the stew and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle the stew into shallow soup bowls. Garnish with chives and serve with oyster crackers.

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All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

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