I love the idea of eating offals. I love the offals too, but I love the idea even better. To think that every part of an animal is respected and utilized instead of being thrown away makes me happy. It is good for the planet and for your health. I can’t say that I cook offals often, but there’s one dish that is a regular in my repertoire — creamy chicken liver.
Would you be terribly surprised if I said that creamy chicken liver is something my mom used to make? She still does, actually. As well as chicken hearts and stomachs with gravy which tastes less like actual gravy, and more like rich stock, fortified by onions and garlic.
The thing about offals is that you are more likely to be excited about them if they were part of your diet as a child. Chicken hearts and liver were certainly part of mine. And, not to get you revolted, but chicken feet too. Granted, in Russia we don’t eat chicken feet per se, but use them along with other less desirable parts of animals to make kholodets, a meat jelly, traditionally served for major celebrations, like the New Year.
Liver for dinner to me, therefore, is quite ordinary. If it is not for you, I hope this recipe will be a gateway into the bold new world of cooking with offals. The recipe is easy, with only three main ingredients: liver, onions, and sour cream.
The result is tender pieces of liver in tangy creamy sauce with lots and lots of onions. You cook the onions for quite a bit until they release sugar, and then the sauce becomes sweetened too. It’s addictive. And the way I know it is not based solely on the response of my taste buds, but on the fact that my husband — who was not raised eating offals and usually would not touch a dish featuring hearts, stomachs and the like — loves this creamy chicken liver.
A Few Tips On Making Creamy Chicken Liver
- When preparing the liver, cut out all connective tissue (the white membranes) — they are hard to chew when cooked.
- Adding baking soda to liver helps to soften it. Cover the liver pieces with baking soda and leave to rest for 15 minutes, then wash the pieces well under running cold water.
- Use a mandolin to slice onions into rings, it will make your life so much easier.
- Reduce the heat before adding sour cream so it doesn’t curdle.
- Serve over buckwheat and decorate with chopped parsley.
- 350 grams/12 ounces chicken liver (about 8 pieces)
- 1.5 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 350 grams/12 ounces onions (2 large), peeled and sliced into rings
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 110 grams/4 ounces sour cream
- A good grind of black pepper
- 1 small bunch of parsley, chopped (optional for decoration)
Prepare the liver. With a knife, remove all the connective tissue (the white membranes) and cut the liver into 2.5 cm (1 inch) pieces. Place the pieces into a bowl, add baking soda and mix well. Set aside for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil in a heavy base pan over medium heat. Add the onions and reduce the heat to low medium. Let the onions sweat under a lid for 15 minutes, mixing every so often, until they become soft and translucent.
Rinse the liver in water to wash off the baking powder and add the pieces to the pan with onions. Add salt, turn the heat up a little and cook under a lid for 10 minutes.
Turn the heat to low, add sour cream to the pan, mix well and let it simmer gently for 5 minutes. Taste for salt and add more, if needed. Grind black pepper on top.
Serve over buckwheat and decorate with chopped pasley.