Tagliatelle pasta served with chicken liver sauté, bacon, shallots and fresh parsley.
Photo © J E Nilsson for CMC
In my view chicken liver is a true delicatess. Its mild flavour and fine texture is likely to appeal even to those who normally are not that enthusiastic about liver. It is inexpensive and the health aspect is overwhelmingly positive.
It is also tender and usually quite fail-proof to cook, since it is done in about 3-5 minutes in a dollop of butter.
However, liver can’t be combined with everything and if you want to go beyond butter things can get ugly pretty fast.
Some additional ingredients might not go well with liver, others might be too dominating and kill off the liver flavour, making the dish pointless. Too much onion or meat cubes for example, are mortal enemies to the sophisticated aroma of tender chicken liver.
In general, safe combinations are cream and herbal spices, but here we have tried to be a bit more adventurous than that.
This dish is one of my favourites since besides containing a few surprises that makes it interesting, it shows off chicken liver from its very best side.
To serve four persons, we will need about 500 grams of pasta to this dish.
400 grams of chicken liver
3-4 medium sized shallots
150 grams of bacon
1 tbs dried marjory
1 handful of fresh parsley
1 cup of cream
Tidy up and cut each chicken liver in three parts.
Slice and dice the bacon into small pieces.
Chop the shallots
Grind the dried marjory finely in a mortar
For flavour and appearance of the final dish, I would use two frying pans; one skillet and one grill pan.
Start off with frying the bacon cuts in the grill pan and at the same time, fry the onions in some melted butter in the skillet. When done, move the bacon cuts to the same skillet as the shallots. Then fry the liver in the grill pan with the remaining bacon fat.
Two pans: the first is a flat skillet for frying shallots and the second has bacon bits in a cast iron grill pan.
Chicken liver in a cast iron grill pan.
Pour the liver pieces into the grill pan with the bacon fat still in it. You will be surprised how well the liver fries in this grill pan. Don’t stir the liver at all; just turn the pieces when they starts to get some colour.
When the liver is done, pour two-thirds of the pieces into the pan with the onion and bacon mixture. Stir together with one cup of cream, the marjory, some white pepper and two-thirds of the chopped parsley.
Chef’s secret; To bring this dish from good to heavenly; add a few drops of Courvoisier XO Imperial.
Fresh parsley on top, before serving.
When serving, add the liver sauté on top of the pasta. Dress the sauté with some of the crisply fried liver pieces that we kept aside and top each dish with a pinch of fresh parsley.