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Liver Nips are not for cats but perhaps a link to our past?

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I don't know how many of you have eaten liver nips as I have only seen them served in the Dutch Fork Counties of South Carolina ( but I'm always surprised that there is nothing new under the sun where food is concerned ). The Dutch Fork area of S.C. was not settled by Dutch but rather the word Dutch was really a misproununciation of the word Deutsch or German. Therefore it is thought that liver nips are probably of Germanic origin. There is also a high concentration of Lutherans living in the counties where liver nips are common. One area associated with liver nips is Saxe Gotha in Lexington County.

Liver nips are a peppery creamed but chunky liver dish that IMHO are fantastic. Anyone who likes liver will love liver nips. I only know of two retaurants in S.C. that serve liver nips on a regular basis. One is the world famous Shealey's in Leesville and the other is The Backporch in Prosperity. I always call ahead to find out when they are available.

I would love to hear from others who have tried liver nips or could provide more information about this unusual dish. Perhaps it's popular in Germany or in many other places outside of S.C. It is amazing to think that food in some instances may be the only remaining link to our heritage. Now that's truly food for thought!

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  1. I've lived most of my life in South Carolina and my alma mater is The University of South Carolina which is in Columbia and I lived there for five years and have never even heard of liver nips. I can trace my family back 200 years in South Carolina and called my mother and she has never heard of them.

    Are you sure someone isn't pulling your leg?

    Creamed liver? No thanks.

    8 Replies
    1. re: BlueHerons
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      Aromatherapy

      Leberknöedel = liver nips. (Courtesy of Google.) See link for more info and a recipe. I love Leberknöedel in soup, will have to try this.

      Link: http://www.knowitall.org/sandlapper/s...

      1. re: Aromatherapy

        If that's what the OP is talking about, it's not creamed liver but liver-stuffed dumplings. (Knödel is German for dumpling.) Much easier to take.

      2. re: BlueHerons
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        Paul in S.C.

        I've lived all my life is S.C. as well ( Easley, Spartanburg, Columbia, W. Columbia, and Irmo ) and my alma maters are Wofford and USC. I had never heard of them either until I moved to Lexington County. They may not exist outside of Lexington and Newberry Counties. They are a very popular dish at Shealy's in Leesville( see Stern's "Roadfood" review ) and I wouldn't be surprised if GWB didn't eat some when he visited there during his last campaign. My mother was a home economics teacher who spent 90 years in Pickens County and she had never heard of them.

        It's for sure that if you don't like liver you won't like liver nips.

        1. re: Paul in S.C.

          So it seems that Liver Nips are available in a confined area. Thank goodness LOL!

          1. re: BlueHerons
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            Paul in S.C.

            or they are so good nobody wants to share their secret family recipe.

          2. re: Paul in S.C.
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            Aromatherapy

            I realized after my last post that the article I linked only talked about their being served in beef broth (which is how I remember eating them in Germany, and damn were they good). Can you tell us more about the sauced prep?

            I gotta say I've never heard of an Oktoberfest in SC. Sounds like a trip for when I'm next down that way in October.

            1. re: Aromatherapy
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              Paul in S.C.

              I have no idea how they are made. Everyone seems so guarded when I ask. Ever been to Oktoberfest in Helen, Ga.? It's the best this side of Munich.

              1. re: Paul in S.C.
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                Aromatherapy

                There's a recipe linked in my first reply, for the dumplings themselves. Don't know how they differ from the mother country version but there must be a ton of recipes for those. Never been to Oktoberfest in SC, it's duly noted.

        2. p
          Paul in S.C.

          I forgot to add that liver nips also contain dumplings

          1 Reply
          1. re: Paul in S.C.
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            Aromatherapy

            Like flour-based drop dumplings? Dumplings plus dumplings? This is sounding better and better. Fieldwork is required.

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. How I long for liver nips! That's how I ran across this post. (And, yes, I grew up in Lexington County...Leesville, to be specific.) I've heard that "nips" comes from the German word "knepps" which may or may not mean dumplings. In any case, my grandma and mama, neither of whom were of German heritage, always cooked a chuck roast for the broth. The dumplings were made with flour, sage and beef liver that was basically scraped so that it was almost liquified. The nips were then dropped into the boiling beef stock and cooked till done. Nothing special was done to thicken the broth; that just happened from the flour in the dumplings. We usually had these in the winter and they were so tasty! The cooked chuck roast was shredded, sprinkled with chopped onions, squirted all over with mustard and ketchup and then put in the oven, covered, long enough to let the onions soften and the flavors to blend. I guess you could have called it deconstructed barbecue beef.

              2 Replies
              1. re: PaulaCat

                I am from Newberry county and grew up with my grandmother making liver nips but had not tasted them until recently. At the time she was living, I didn't like liver but have been eating it for a while. (I'm pushing 60) Needless I say, I never tasted them. OMG!!! They were delicious. I found a simple recipe for them at livernips.com. I am going to try them myself and hope they are as good as the ones that I tasted. I have been to Shealy's a hundred times and never even tried them..how stupid of me!!!

                1. re: janzjax

                  I saw a recipe on livernips.com but it called for cooking the liver with the beef, then grinding the liver and mixing it into the dumplings. I know that all the nips I ever ate did not use precooked liver. Somehow, I think it would change the texture of the dumpling as well as alter the taste of the broth. Anyway...just a thought. Let us know how they turn out!

              2. I lived in warrenville South Carolina until I joined the Air Force and my grandmother would cook us livernips all the time. When I came home on leave she would make sure that I got my livernips before I left. Many people do not know shat they are missing until they get a taste and then they go wild. Another thing that we used to have in the Warrenville are was collard kraut. I have found out thru my travel that this is another local item. I still purchase it by the quarts when I go to visit in the fall and winter months. It is made the same as cabbage kraut but with mostly collards and a little cabbage. If you have ever had any of it you will know just how great it is. Buddy

                1 Reply
                1. re: whall

                  The collards episode of A Chef's Life, on PBS, has North Carolina native Vivian Howard raving about, and learning to make, collard kraut. The local experts insist on something involving making it only at specific times, to do with phase of the moon, or harvest schedule or something. Can't recall the specifics.