Beef Liver - Do you choose to eat it?
So after reading the book Julie and Julia, I was left with a pretty intense craving for some good old infamous liver. I went out last Friday night and bought a package (love how inexpensive it is!) and did up some pan-fried liver with onion gravy. Low and behold, however, I was still left with about 4 more servings of the raw stuff in the fridge! I get bored with eating the same thing daily, so I wanted to test out some different preparations. Now, usually google is pretty good at inspiring some ideas, but I found there to be little to no material on creative ways to prepare liver! I ended up finding one recipe that had it sauteed in tomato sauce. So I twisted up that idea by making a sauce with some vodka sauce and my leftover onion gravy. Turned out pretty delicious.
STILL! I was left with MORE liver. So I actually ended up breading and frying up the remainder, melting some cheese onto the top, and threw the leftover tomato sauce over top of that. I put it all into some bread and had myself a little liver parm sandwich...
Needless to say, I am definitely liver'd out for now. There's only so much you can eat before the "interesting" texture starts getting to you.
Now, I ask all of you: Do you eat liver? And if so, what are some interesting ways that you choose to prepare it?
A long time ago, a classically trained chef worked at one of the placed I was associated with. Once he prepared calf's liver for me, which to this day is the best way I have ever had it prepared.
It was dusted in seasoned flour, pan sauteed medium-rare. He made a sauce/pan gravy reduction consisting of heavy cream and balsamic vinegar. He topped the dish with frizzled onions. The only thing missing was bacon.
I've also had sweetbreads prepared in a similar manner @ French restaurants, so it must be a classic recipe/dish.
Medium rare is also my preferred way of eating liver (beef, chicken, calf, pork etc.) It seems to help to minimize the mushiness associated with it. This classic French way of preparation, with or without the cream and onions, is also the way I am almost never tired of, when the craving for veal or chicken liver hits.
For the bigger ones such as beef and pork, one very simple way that impressed me more than 10 years ago and that I have adopted to since, is preparing them as though you would for stir-fried meat slices Chinese style. You cut the liver into thin slices of 5mm each, marinate them in soy sauce, sherry, a tiny bit of sugar and cornstarch, and then sear very briefly in a hot pan with oil, so that the inside is still pink. It goes very well with fried onions and rice.
Edit: Oh, I (again) neglected to notice that the thread has been resurrected from more than a year ago, and the OP must have long finished the excess liver by now.
I love liver, but mainly chicken and calf liver done in the classic ways (sauteed with onions and sometimes bacon, or in the case of chicken livers chopped with onions, eggs and schmalz as a spread... or added whole to a tomato based sauce for Spaghetti a la Caruso).
I have also used pork liver is making traditional Hungarian hurka (a sausage made with offals and rice).
I don't have an aversion to strongly flavored foods, but beef liver is just too intense and overbearing for me. Maybe I just haven' found the right recipe for making it.
re: The Professor
I love liver, and prefer the strong taste of beef liver to calve's liver, and don't really like the mushiness of chicken livers.
That said, My chopped liver is made with 60% chicken liver and 40 calves' liver.
I often will slice beef liver about 1/2" thick and cokk on the BBQ grill like a steak until med-rare. I serve it with baked potato and broccoli.
I also love liver, broiled and chopped/dice fine, mixed with mashed potato and used as the filling in a knish.
Also, finely dice satueed liver and onions make a great filling for ravioli or kreplach, Better if fried like a pierogi, than just boiled.
I too find calve's liver too mild when making traditional fried liver, onions, and bacon, but I do like chicken livers as well (add a little soy but otherwise same method as with beef). I use a 50/50 chicken/beef liver for chopped liver. I think a small amount of minced sauteed beef liver is good in spaghetti sauce along with the usual ground beef and Italian sausage.
The absolute best liver and onions that I've ever had was at the Union House restaurant in Framingham, MA. some years ago when I was up there for a training class at Honeywell. It was cut thick, about 1/2 - 3/8 inch, sauteed in butter with a splash of white wine, and the onions were also cut thick and lightly cooked in the same sauce. It was simple and absolutely wonderful! I shoulda had seconds.
Just remembered reading that pureed raw liver goes into the ground beef in White Castle slyder copycat recipes, which contributes a certain smoothness to the texture of the burger. I must try that in ordinary homemade burgers and in meatball/meatloaf mixture.
There's always the classic German dish, Leberkloesschen (liver dumplings). But I must admit that when I buy a pound of liver I generally just divide the remaining raw liver into portions and freeze for future frying.
My 'Liver Gourmet Style'...
2 to 3 pieces of beef liver.
Butter, quarter stick (+ or -).
Sliced 'yellow' onion (amount to suit).
Sliced mushrooms (amount to suit).
Pignolias (pine nuts) 1/2 to 1 1/s oz (or amount to suit).
Some sifted flour (seasoned with garlic salt or garlic powder and fresh milled pepper) and laced with a 'small' amount of yellow corn meal and mix all with fork.
(Optional, but highly recommended) Chopped or crushed sun dried tomato.
In an iron skillet melt butter over a low flame.
While butter is melting dredge liver pieces in seasoned flour mixture, set aside for moment.
Turn up burner to medium flame and just as butter begins to brown slightly add liver pieces. Brown on both sides for a total of 5 to 7 minutes, then remove and place on 'holding' plate.
Now to the skillet add onions, mushrooms, and pignolias add a little more butter and sautee for three or four minutes or until slightly browned. Now return liver pieces to skillet on top of mixture, cover and cook for just a few moment more.
(Serving suggestion...I serve this with a Caesar Salad and French cut green beans topped with slivered almonds both which really seemed to compliment the liver prepared this way)
Presentation...Plate liver and spoon on top with sauteed onions, mushrooms, and pignolias and garnish with a sprinkle of the crushed/chopped sun dried tomato. Plate green beans. Salad on plate or serve separately.
Because the liver is the animal part that acts as a "clearing house" for all the chemicals that pass through the body, I avoid liver from beef that has been fed on anything other than grasses and grains. I prefer it braised in a mixture of wine, herbs and spices until it is fork tender.
Here's a simple recipe that works out pretty well.
Soak the liver in cold water. Boil two tablespoons or so of mustard seeds in about a 1/4 cup of water for a few minutes.
Salt the liver, both sides. Fry in a teflon pan with a small amount of oil. When you turn the liver over, put the mustard seeds on top. Turn the liver over a second time cooking the liver until it's pink inside. Put the liver aside and add some evaporated milk or cream to the mustard seeds in the pan for a nice sauce (if avoiding dairy, use chicken stock).
When eating, the mustard seeds will pop in your mouth like caviar.
The results seem much fancier than what it costs to make.
I really don't choose to eat it though occasionally I have an urge when I think I wouldn't mind liver and onions.
What got me curious about this post is the lack of creativity in terms of beef liver.
This doesn't really stray too much off the onions/bacon/liver trio, but the addition of apples somehow sounds good
Baked Liver with Apples
The gourmet treatment
Beef Liver Pâté with Cognac
Other liver and onions variations
Liver with Caramelized Onion and Pecans
Sautéed Beef Liver with Raspberries ... the recipe actually looks better than this sounds
Some other beef liver ideas
Fegato a Scapece Vicidomini
Liver Fricassee Recipe
Spiced Liver with Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage
Beef Liver in Coconut Milk Recipe ... sounds like it would disguise it enough to make me like it
Beef Liver Creole seems like it could be good also
Leber Und Bratwurst Auflauf (Liver & Sausage Casserole)
Filipino Beef Morcon Recipe
THAI SPICY LIVER SALAD
There are some recipes on the border of what I'd try
Grandma's Liver Nip Recipe
Kyinkyinga (Beef and Liver Kebabs) :
BEEF LIVER CASSEROLE
And there are some I just wouldn't conemplate such as "Recipe to make Delicious Raw Beef Liver children will love"
Isn't that cruelty to children? I have to man up to eat cooked beef liver but ... raw? Is this where little Hanibal Lector got his start?
Beef Liverwurst ... and why does this guy have 22 lbs of beef liver hanging out in the fridge?
Sorry - but I have to say NO WAY! If I even smell it cooking, I turn green. I tried so hard as a kid and had it prepared several ways, but always with the same outcome. I've also had others say I have just not had it the way they cook it. Tried some of those too. I've just figured out it was just not something I could tolerate.
As the above posts attest, beef liver is great. HOWEVER, as someone who raises beefcattle, I only eat liver (and most other "offal") from my own animals. I suppose if you don't have that option, relying on a butcher who KNOWS what went into the animals--and onto their pasture and fodder--is a pretty safe alternative.
I've also worked in a custom-kill slaughterhouse's gut room, and so have quite a lot of experience with the organ itself. Even organic, grass-fed beef of relatively young age can have liver flukes. As greygarious writes above, the liver's lobes should be carefully eviscerated to remove the ducts where the flukes can be. I even "skin" the liver after an overnight soak in milk. The soak is even more important for livers of wild game.
Don't be scared, but don't be foolish, either.