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How do YOU cook chicken livers?

I love chicken livers, but I am the only one that does. I can get them at a chicken chain restaurant, but they always over cook them, and I like them to be a bit pink. But the batter is so good on them. I cannot duplicate it, so I dredge in flour and fry in a skillet with a bit of oil, but sometimes the breading doesn't stick so well. Another thing I do is just to cook them in a bit of butter with some seasonings, and sometimes a bit of onion, totally skipping the breading.

How do you prepare them?

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  1. in an iron skillet, in olive oil till med rare, wth a sprinkling of kosher salt. that's it!

    7 Replies
    1. re: toodie jane

      Back when my parents bought live chickens (ick), my mother put the feet in the gravy and fried up the chicken livers -- and gizzards, yum! -- in butter. We then smashed the livers and made our own version of liver pate with mayo and relish. I know, horrid, but we liked them.

      1. re: dolores

        That sounds good to me! I like to smush them up and add either mayo or cream cheese and some green onions.

      2. re: toodie jane

        I'm with Toodie Jane, except I add some garlic and sometimes I splash in some red wine and reduce it quickly.

        1. re: toodie jane

          yah, that's for me, too. Olive oil or butter. I think I need to buy some livers and gizzards at the store tomorrow now. :)

          1. re: Morganna

            Me too, this is killing me, I could eat them for breakfast.

            1. re: chef chicklet

              LOL - I don't think I've ever craved chicken livers until this thread! now I'm trying to figure out how I can get some over the weekend at my mom's. hmmmm.... ;-) Happy Holidays y'all!

              1. re: jujuthomas

                You and me both.
                So it is claimed, that the strongest sense tied to memory is smell....I don't know if I'm wired differently but I can actually recall the slightly crispy and salt and pepper taste to the light "batter"my Dad made, and then that bite into the center, buttery, creamy and so full of flavor, juicy with a little garlic scent now hitting the nose...I'm getting some today.

        2. Sauteed with onions and a bit of thyme in either schmaltz or butter. Season with salt and pepper. Add a splash of brandy and top with chicken cracklings. Heaven on a cracker.

          37 Replies
          1. re: JungMann

            You lost me with the butter part. I do mine the way I think my mother did hers. Drain them and pick off the little gobs of fat. Dredge in some matzoh meal, maybe seasoned with salt and garlic. Then sautee with onions in either oil with a touch of chicken fat or all chicken fat. I may have to try the brandy thing...

            1. re: Shayna Madel

              If you dredge them in flour, you'll get a soother gravy which tastes dynomite on a pile of fresh mashed potatoes or flat egg noodles. A little sherry added to the onions works very well and once the alcohol evaps, leaves a nice complex taste

              1. re: Tay

                Yeah, sometimes Mom did do the dredge in flour thing and make a brown gravy with onions and do mashed potatoes. And in straight chicken fat. I forgot about the gravy version. Also good, but sometimes I am in the mood for the crunchy thing...

                1. re: Shayna Madel

                  Does the matzoh meal make them good and crunchy? I really do like a bit of crunch before I get into the creamy flesh of the chicken liver.

                  What about batters? I tried it once with a deep fat fryer (heart healthy - no!) but the batter separated as soon as they got in the oil!

                  And I remember the brown gravy thing over noodles. That was pretty good.

                  1. re: danhole

                    Well, not super crunchy, as it does not cling all over. I never did the batter thing. But, I have had fried chicken livers from a fried chicken place called Brothers, in Dallas, Tx and I think they had some batter. I do recall them having some crunch, so there must have been some batter. I will have to remember to have some when I go back to visit in May and will look at them more closely.

                    Mom did the brown gravy thing for an older cousin of hers/ours. It made him very happy.

            2. re: JungMann

              JungMann,

              You made me look up schmaltz! Who knew, I'm such a Shiska (?) huh. Now what are chicken cracklings? And do you smash this up to get it on a cracker?

              1. re: danhole

                It's basically fried skin. There is no way you're smashing it up unless it's practically incinerated. It's more a 'topping' garnish sort of thing.

                1. re: Tay

                  No, what I meant is did he smash the chicken livers up, with the brandy. Hmmm, fried chicken skin - where do you get that? My DH would love to have some of that!

                  1. re: danhole

                    danhole
                    You are too funny!
                    You cut up chicken skin into strips and you deep fry it lolol!
                    As for the sherry. If you smash up the livers with too much liquid, you lose that rich pate texture, and it gets more 'grainy' so I'd say it depends on the type of texture you prefer If I want them to be cracker spreadable, I drain most of the liquid. If I'm sauteeing them to serve over mashed or egg noodles, I leave them whole or halved.

                    1. re: danhole

                      Well, here may be some helpful info. You can buy schmaltz, but it is somewhat pricey. Or, you can make your own. If you buy chicken necks and backs for soup, pick off the gobs of fat and save in the freezer until you accumulate a fair amount. Also, sometimes you can get it from whole chickens, or from leg quarters, when they still have the backs attached. Put the fat in a small pot, with some small pieces of onion and some salt. Throw in some of that excess skin you might trim off the chicken or that might be left on the backs, or that you can pull off the necks. Heat at a medium heat. Eventually, the fat will melt to a clear, yellow liquid and you will have the onion pieces and maybe cracklings floating around, but to get them crunchy, I think you may have to jack up the heat and you have to be careful not to burn the schmaltz. Tay--do you know how to pull off making it crunchy?

                      If you enter into the world of chopped liver making, you use the schmaltz to cook the livers in, and also onions and once the liver, onions and hard boiled eggs are all ground up, if it's sorta dry, you add more schmaltz.

                      I hear that defibrulator warming up as I type this...

                      1. re: Shayna Madel

                        Rendering in an open skillet gets you crispy cracklings ...

                        JungMann was probably one of the chosen in a former life ;)

                        How I make chicken livers ... first I pick out the palest ones, rinse and trim, drain, salt, freshly cracked white pepper, cayenne, dredge in flour, fry in butter. Keep warm in the oven, and make cream gravy. Also good fried in bacon drippings instead of butter. Y'all have put me in the mood ...

                        1. re: Shayna Madel

                          Shanya Madel
                          I have one of those Fry Baby things and I use that to fast deep fry

                          1. re: Tay

                            Oh great, another piece of kitchen equipment I have to find room for in my under-sized apartment kitchen...

                            1. re: Shayna Madel

                              Shanya Madel
                              You crack me up!
                              It's just a little bit of a thing. It will fit into somethihng else.I actually use it alot. Much easier and more econimical than those jagunda fryers.

                        2. re: danhole

                          Glad the shiksas (and goyim like myself -- hence the butter) can appreciate a little schmaltz. Chickens in NYC tend to be extremely fatty, so I save the trimmings and skin from chicken in the freezer until I have a produce bagful. I cut up the trimmings, fat and all, and toss into a hot pot. While the fat renders, it fries the skin, which gets crunchy -- though you do have to mind the pot as it does easily burn. I strain the fat into a separate container, reserve the cracklings on paper towels and use them to top the liver after I mash it. You can also fry the salted gribenes (enjoy that lexical tidbit) again in oil to get them crisper.

                          1. re: JungMann

                            I only cook this way if at least one of my guest knows CPR.
                            It's so delicious, and evocative of my youth...but the guilt! OY!

                            1. re: JungMann

                              Okay, goy is gentile. Goyim is plural. Shiksa is a female goy. Shegetz is a male goy. So, JungMann, it seems, if I am guessing your gender right, you are a shegetz. But I am impressed that you make your own schmaltz, or that you even knew the term, so maybe you are one of us, after all.

                              1. re: Shayna Madel

                                My love of gefilte fish and whitefish salad is far stronger than most Jews I know, even though my ancestors came from lands not exactly on friendly terms with the IDF. In fact I had Fairway brisket for dinner last night! Your recommendations on my knish thread have certainly helped me appreciate the joys of fressing. Perhaps peace in the Middle East will come at the end of a coffee klatsch with a little nosh.

                                1. re: JungMann

                                  I try. Peace through food. I like the sound of that!

                              2. re: JungMann

                                So, now this is a cooking lesson/vocabulary lesson! I need to start saving the fats. I already save all excess parts of the chicken, and use the fat to get a good stock color and flavor, but I'm going to try your method and make some schmaltz. It's going to be hard to get the skin off the chicken to store in the freezer, because my DH will be crying off to the side! He loves that skin! But I'm sure once he tastes the cracklings he will be alright with it!

                                1. re: danhole

                                  While people everywhere are turning their backs on chicken skin and fat, disavowing having ever touched the stuff, this group is rendering the fat and deep frying the skin!!! Remarkable and hilarious and delicious!

                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                    I don't smoke. I don't drink much. I don't do drugs. Some chicken fat now and again, what could it hurt?

                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                      You are so right! This certainly isn't a PC topic is it? But oh, so good! I never had thought about just cooking chicken skin before this, but now I think I'm going to get chicken breasts, skin on, and then save up the skin! I do already save those fatty chunks off my chickens, but now I have a new use for them!

                                      1. re: danhole

                                        It absolutely is a PC topic. We're being "green," spreading the word about how not to waste any part of the chicken. The less that is wasted, the better it is for the planet.

                                        1. re: Shayna Madel

                                          What a "spin doctor" you are! Good defense!

                                          1. re: danhole

                                            Thanks, it's all in a day's work. But I still can't figure out what to do with chicken lips. (I know, I'm twisted.)

                                            1. re: Shayna Madel

                                              You, Mrs Hole, and I should market a new product: vac packed chicken skins with an attracitively presented jar of rendered chicken fat, a kit to make quick deep fried skins. Customers would be both green and anti-food correctness.

                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                Sounds like a winner! What an entrepreneur! We could enclose a couple recipes for the chicken livers with it!

                                                1. re: danhole

                                                  Some happy idiot would be complaining that we are wreaking havoc on the environment by using a vac pack. But I'm in. And I still need to know what to do with chicken lips.

                                                  1. re: Shayna Madel

                                                    Grind them up and put them in a homemade sausage or a hot dog!

                                                    1. re: danhole

                                                      Kidding? On the thread dealing with portions at fine restaurants I've learned that we could serve three lips well presented and sauced for $45 a plate!

                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                          Yeah, and I guess more chow-ish than my idea of grinding up the lips for fertilizer.

                                                2. re: Shayna Madel

                                                  I bet the chicken lips would be a hit with my dogs.

                                        2. re: danhole

                                          It's easy to collect the excess skin that hangs over the cavity when you roast a whole chicken. That yields a TON of fat and skin. When cooking quarters with backs you can lift the skin to obtain the subcutaneous fat for schmaltz, too.

                                2. re: JungMann

                                  I do this but splash sherry instead of brandy, and no cracklings. I Love chicken livers.

                                3. Simmered a bit in a homemade teriyaki type sauce

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                    Sam,

                                    what is the recipe for your homemade teriyaki sauce? I have one, and am curious how closely it resembles yours.

                                    1. re: danhole

                                      I suspect yours is like mine. Soy sauce (Kikkoman), dry white wine (I'd use Mirin but its too expensive here), some brown sugar, lots of finely grated ginger--all to taste. Simple as can be.

                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                        Sounds very similar. I just wanted to be sure I was doing it right!

                                  2. for a lb. of livers, take 2 med white onions and cut into sliver wedges. saute in 3 T. olive oil over med-high heat until starting to crinkle and brown. remove from skillet and set aside. take the livers, rinse and pick any extra connective tissue and pat dry. heat a heavy skillet to very hot.Add 1/4 c. olive oil and the livers one at a time so they dont touch or lay on each other. saute over high heat till crusted. turn and repeat. add 1/2 c. cognac and flame. add the onions,sea salt, coarse black peeper and 1/4 c. chopped flat leaf parsley. remove from heat and serve withcountry bread toasts. the livers should be crusty on the outside and pink in the center. Unfortunately, I can eat a whole pound of them cooked like this by myself, which isn't real good for one's cholesterol, I am led to understand.

                                    5 Replies
                                      1. re: chazzerking

                                        Ah, but you are using olive oil rather than chicken fat, so you are cooking the low-cholesterol way!

                                        1. re: Shayna Madel

                                          Shayna, truth be told, until recently I actually used 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 butter, trafe, I know, but boy does it taste good that way

                                        2. re: chazzerking

                                          I love chicken livers but I don't have much experience cooking them. My mother never cooked them _ she still won't eat them. I know recipes always say to remove the connective tissue. Sorry to be dense but what is that, exactly? What does it look like?

                                          1. re: NYCkaren

                                            It's pretty much whatever isn't the liver itself, sorta whitish, thready stuff holding sections of the livers together. Not always on every piece. Hope that helps.

                                        3. Clean em up, saute them with some onions and mushrooms and a splash of sherry and serve over buttered noodles (s&p).
                                          Or, homemade chopped liver.