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Nov 25, 2012 04:18 AM

Where to start with Liver? From which beast and how to cook?

We are venturing more and more into Offal territory at home, as seems to be the trend of late, and perhaps its time to tackle "Liver" at home. But where do you start?

Calf's Liver seems to be one obvious choice as I hear its a bit milder. Is that true? and How to cook it?

But what about Lamb Liver, Ox Liver, Chicken Liver, Duck Liver, Goose Liver, Foie Gras, Pig Liver - how would you rate each? And what are classic preparations?

Whats your favourite liver and preparation?

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  1. Go with calves' liver to start if you've never eaten it before now. Fry it, but not 'well done' because it will be like shoe leather. There are probably a myriad of recipes on the internet. Liver is often served with fried onions and/or bacon.

    I like chicken livers from which I make chopped chicken liver pate, but only about twice a year. Liver is high in cholesterol with which I have a problem. Also should be loads of recipes on the internet.

    I ate pork liver only once in my life. I found the taste rather gamy. Never want it again.

    Buon appetito!


      I don't care for liver, but I have been willing to try it every so often because everyone in my family adores it. Marcella Hazan's recipe (link above) is the closest I have come to liking it. As far as my liver-loving-family goes, it was A+++

      1. Chicken livers, sauteed until just pink w/ tons of onion; then chopped, combined w/ schmaltz and chopped egg and served w/ rye....
        Or sauteed to med., w/ bacon and onions, finished w/ a splash of whatever booze is open (usually brandy or port) and a splash of cream. W/ noodles.

        3 Replies
        1. re: mamachef

          ...or a chicken liver sauce (or duck liver...). Yum!

          I sometimes make a simple chicken liver sauce to accompany my Hainanese Chicken with the livers that come w/ the chicken especially if I get a nice honking big piece of it. Chop the washed & trimmed liver into mush, sauté some finely chopped shallots (NOT "the usual" onions) in some good oil (but not olive - use veggie or maybe peanut), add the chopped liver (low heat), swish around, add stock, season, maybe add some fortified wine (sherry or port; but usually I leave that out) or maybe brandy, simmer for a while, smoosh up the mixture from time to time...voilà! - a nice simple semi-grainy (I like that) liver sauce. Great with just the rice alone, even.

          1. re: huiray

            I would eat this with paparderlle, any day. Yum.

          2. re: mamachef

            I second the motion. I use the recipe in "Jewish Cooking In America" by Joan Nathan. Cokie Roberts appeared on Joan Nathan's TV show years ago and added Tabasco Sauce. Cokie is from Louisiana.

          3. sliced calf liver:
            thinly slice 2-3 onions and caramalize in a butter/oil mix in a large pan. Once browned, move to side of pan. Dredge liver in flour, add more butter/oil to pan if needed. Saute liver in pan, browning both sides. Add water, stir onions onto and around liver, simmer until thickened. Plate & enjoy.
            Can use same method with pork or chicken liver (haven't tried other types).

            The owner of our favorite chinese resto gave us some cold cooked chicken livers last week, said her neighbor made them. They were delicious. I'm guessing they were braised in a soy/5 spice liquid. I'm going to try it soon.

            1. Calf liver - wonderful taste & texture. As with all livers, cook quickly, needs to be a bit pink inside. The classic meat for fegato alla Veneziana.

              Lamb's liver - the one I eat more than any other. Perfect with bacon and onion gravy. Also pretty good with a devilled sauce.

              Chicken liver - pate or a quick fry to dump on top of salad leaves as a starter

              Pig's liver - I only use this to add richness to a pork terrine.

              Foie Gras - prefer not to eat this on ethical grounds unless assured that it is from the humanely raised birds (and it never is!)

              2 Replies
              1. re: Harters

                There are differing opinions about foie gras - and there is also the Spanish "wild" foie gras produced by Eduardo Sousa.

                1. re: huiray

                  The Spanish product, or similar, is the one I'm happy to eat. But I've never come across it in the UK.