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Jan 10, 2008 10:44 AM

chicken liver questions

looking at Julia's chicken liver pate recipe on Epicurious. one of the reviewers suggested soaking the livers in milk. two questions:
--why would i want to do this...does the step add anything appreciable?
--and if so, for how long?

(i just skimmed through that whole long chicken liver thread from last month, so sorry to bring up all those cravings again, but hey, it's a whole new year.)

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  1. It "softens" the taste of the liver.

    1. Yup, it smooths the edges off the strong flavor...ever notice how liver almost has a "smell" inside your mouth, almost like sucking on a penny. Soaking in milk will prevent that to a certain extent. Also keeps the livers nice and tender.

      FYI I sometimes soak white fleshed fish in milk over night before cooking it. Removes some of the fishy odors (although if its too odiforous it's probably not fresh). Sometimes I'll soak chicken breasts in milk and hot sauce to tenderize it...the vinegar in the hot sauce almost turns it into a buttermilk soak.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ballulah

        I usually soak canned anchovies in milk before using them. It pulls out the fishy flavor and some of the saltiness. Must be an enzymatic interaction.

        1. re: Tom Steele

          But why would you want to pull out the fishy saltiness of anchovies!? Hahaha. That's the whole point of anchovies for me!

      2. "They say" that soaking liver, any kind of liver, in milk removes the bitterness. Liver does have a faint bitter flavor to some people. I've never noticed any difference after soaking so I never bother.
        I've used that Julia chicken liver paté recipe for years and it's terrific. It freezes well too. The top darkens but a quick stir and it's fine. I like to keep some on hand in the freezer for easy hors d'oeuvres if I have to put together something on short notice.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MakingSense

          I too have never soaked liver. If you are someone that frequently eats and enjoys liver, then I would skip the soaking; if you are new to liver, or can sometimes find it a bit too intense, then it may be worth a shot.

        2. I've not ever soaked chicken livers, but beef yes always.
          Never noticed any strong undesirable flavor to the chicken livers, but I will try it next time.
          My dad would soak fish sometimes in milk, even freshly caught, I never knew why.

          1 Reply
          1. re: chef chicklet

            I'm in agreement about when to soak. Chicken livers are much milder than beef livers and really don't require the same soaking.