What do you do with chicken livers?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by french fries, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. french fries

    french fries

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    A while ago I got tired of throwing away the livers when buying a whole chicken (something I've done WAY too many times, unfortunately), and started figuring out ways to eat it. The easiest I found was to saute the livers in butter, add garlic parsley, salt and pepper, and (optional) deglaze with a bit of port wine or other. 

    Today I bought a whole chicken and I was looking for something a bit different, so I'm experimenting: right now the livers are slow cooking it a bit of white wine and port wine, with S & P. I'm going to cook them through and fork-mash them with some butter, then put in the fridge - hopefully I'll get something close to "pâté de foie de volaille" (poultry liver pâté). 

    Anyone here ever made pâté with chicken livers? How about terrine? How about... some other idea? 

    Thanks!
     
    anie stewart likes this.
  2. pie maker

    pie maker

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    Chicken liver pate is incredible....some of the delis in Chicago serve it as well. It goes well with Challah.Yummy
     
  3. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Rumaki, Chopped chicken liver, Chicken Livers Hunter Style, Mixed in a poultry stuffing, Hors d Ourves filling , Omelette Chasseur etc.
     
  4. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    French, this morning I was reading in a new cooking magazine where I found a nice chicken "mousse" recipe, often also simply called chicken liver pâté. Normally I cook the livers in a pan exactly like you just mentioned, portwine included but I add a little fresh sage, then get them in the Magimix with around 80% of their volume butter or mascarpone at room temperature. Let it set in the fridge and you have a delicious mousse. Fry some slices baguette golden brown in butter, leave to degrease on paper towel and let the guests spread the mousse themselves on the toasted bread.

    If you wish a more chunky pâté so you can even slice it, you could put only half of the cooked livers in the Magimix with the butter and, I would warm a good tbsp of cream, add one, two or more soaked (in cold water) gelatine sheets and put that in the mixture too, or you won't be able to make slices. I would also roll the remaining whole cooked livers in some chopped parcely first. Then build layers of mousse and chunks. Let set in the fridge at least 24 hours! Very important; I would line a first oiled recipient (pâté mold) with clingfilm before building the pâté. This way it will come out very easily.

    Here's the new recipe I read this morning, it's also a mousse;

    200gr chicken livers/ 150gr salted butter at room temperature/ 10 cl marsala wine/ 1 teaspoon french quatre épices/ 20gr pealed pistachios/ 20gr flaked almonds/ 1 chicken filet (150gr)/ 1 tbsp arachide oil/ 1 tbsp chapelure/ 1 egg

    - clean the livers and let them macerate in the marsala. Transfer to a sauter pan with the marsala, the quatre épices and pepper. Simmer on very low fire for approx. 30 minutes untill all liquid is gone.

    - put the livers in the Magimix with the butter. Fill in not too small verrinnes (glasses). Leave to set in the fridge overnight.

    - before serving; let the vérines come to room temperature.

    - put the chicken filets in beaten egg followed by breadcrums; it doesn't say flatten them first, but I guess they cut them laterally and flatten them a little first when I look at the suggested cooking time. Fry 3 minutes on each side in a hot pan. Cut in very small pieces.

    - dry roast the pistachios and almond flakes. Put on the cutting board and roughly get the knife through

    - add some chicken in the verrinnes and top with the nut mixture

    I put a chicken liver risotto together a short while ago and posted it in the recipe section. There's a picture too how it looked.

    Here it is; http://www.cheftalk.com/t/67794/risotto-siduri
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011
  5. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    When I was growing up we didn't know from "pate," or "mousse," or any such thing. It was just called chopped chicken liver, and it was a staple in my neighborhood. Every housewife had her own version. My mother used sweated onions and hard boiled eggs, in hers, and bound it all with chicken schmaltz.

    I love chicken livers, and have numerous ways of preparing them in addition to pate.

    First, living as I do in the American south, comes fried. The livers are either dry breaded or batter dipped and deep fried. Others include chicken livers in devil sauce, in herb butter, Hawaiian style, a la Basque, in Madeira, paprikash, with apple rings, the list goes on and on.

    Rumaki was a staple of the catering trade when I was coming of age. But I've never had any that worked right. By the time the bacon is cooked properly the livers are overdone.
     
  6. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Usually poach the gizzard in butter until soft, peel it, then saute the gizzard and liver in butter, flame off with cognac.  Eat the gizzard out of hand, and the liver on toast or crackers while the chicken continues to cook.   The better half doesn't care for offal of any kind so the ground/pureed liver variations don't happen much. 

    BDL
     
  7. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Cut into bite sized pieces.  Then dredge in flour and pan fry in olive oil until crispy.  Sprinkle with sea salt and serve with a squeeze of lemon.

    I also pan fry them and then add them to my stuffing.

    Here's a recipe my family loves for Chicken liver and spiced rice.  Sorry for the lack of quantities, I don't measure anything.

    - chopped up chicken liver

    - scallion, chopped

    - crushed fennel seeds

    - cumin

    - salt and lots of pepper

    - rice

    - vermouth

    - water

    - Sear the chicken livers in a risotto style pan then remove and set aside.

    - sweat the white part of the scallion and add the fennel and cumin

    - add the rice and a bit more olive oil an deglaze with vermouth.

    - season and add the chicken livers back in.  Add enough water to cook the rice and cover.

    - make sure it's seasoned well and garnish with fresh black pepper.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011
  8. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Cut into bite sized pieces. 

    Huh???

    By the time you separate the lobs by removing the connective tissue they're already in bite sized pieces. Shouldn't be any need for a knife.
     
  9. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Bacon has to be blanched first then  laid out sprinle with a bit of breadcrumb so liver does not slide out and it's easier to roll up  skewer with pic. Can also be wrapped with pastrami.
     
  10. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    I cook the bacon, generally in an oven, until about half done, still very flexible, then wrap the chicken livers and water chestnuts. Marinate in a soy sauce mixture seasoned the way you like it for up to 3-4 hours before broiling.
     
  11. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    OK, easy-peasy. Save up your livers until you've got 3 or 4, or this is a lot of work for little result. It doesn't matter much whether you use 1 liver or 10, so wait a bit. Just heave them in a plastic bag and freeze solid. In the other corner of a biggish ziploc, put all the fat pads and excess skin -- the fat pads are the big hunks of yellow fat you find in the opening of the cavity and sometimes at the neck. Heave them in too.

    You'll find that the livers and the fat weigh about the same, and if not, make up the difference (too much liver, always) with butter. Add butter anyway to about 25% over the weight of liver, unless you're on a diet. Mince the fat and skin as fine as you can stand. Then put all the fat in a smallish skillet and cook over medium-low heat with maybe a couple Tb of water. Stir every once in a while, but otherwise just wait. It takes a while. Eventually you will have a lot of rendered fat and just a little sizzling going on.

    Now add some onion, leek, shallot, whatever, chopped pretty fine. Maybe 1/2 a big onion, or a couple shallots, whatever. Don't worry about quantities -- it's irrelevant. If you've got fresh thyme, toss in a sprig or two; very good dry thyme is good too, so chuck in 1 Tb (but don't bother with mediocre stuff -- use other herbs, whatever you have, or ignore). I like a good big clove or two of garlic, sliced thin, but it's up to you. I also usually add 1 tsp Spanish paprika, but some don't like that aggressive flavor.

    Cook slowly until the onions are basically melted to nothing and the whole thing is starting to sizzle, which means that there is very little moisture in the pan. Now add the livers, separated into lobes, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Cook just until the livers are barely pink (as opposed to red or gray) in the middle, i.e. a tad underdone. If you wish, now add a scant 1/4 cup cognac or dry sherry, swirl it all around, crank the heat, and boil it off; if you don't do alcohol (like my Muslim friends) then just keep cooking everything gently as before until the livers are just done.

    Scrape everything into a food processor bowl, with the metal blade of course, and wait about 3-5 minutes until it cools a tad. Pulse many times until it's all running smoothly, then run it full blast for 1 full minute (actually look -- you'll want to shut it off after 15 seconds). Scrape down and pulse a bit more.

    Taste the mess: it should be distinctly salty. If not, season for this. (If you've made pate, you know what I mean -- you must overseason pate to season it properly.)

    Scrape the whole mess (and it looks like mess) into a medium wire sieve and work it through into a bowl. Start by stirring a lot, and then eventually work it through with the blade of a rubber spatula. If you are a little nuts, work the result through a fine tamis.

    Pack the stuff into a ramekin, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours and preferably overnight.

    To serve, let it come almost to room temperature, which takes 15 minutes or so. Spread on crackers or bread.

    The cool thing is, it's fantastic and nearly free: when it gets down to it, you bought everything but the cognac and onion already, and for the onion you can just use trimmings because it's all pureed and strained, and you don't need much alcohol and can in fact skip it. So you can do this for almost nothing.

    When you eat it, tell me if you think it tastes like it was free.

    (Incidentally, Jacques Pepin -- when he ran a little local restaurant in Connecticut -- used to give mini-ramekins of this stuff with the bread basket, for nothing, since it cost him nothing. I betcha it prompted more happiness and thus better tips....)
     
  12. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    Has anyone ever added some chopped chicken liver in a classic bolognaise sauce? I know it's done, but I never tried.

    Chicken liver is also used in a plate I never tried but that's high on my to try list, some kind of Italian ancient lasagna called "vincisgrassi".
     
  13. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I have a small bite :)  Seriously though, this is for maximum crispiness.  I'm not making liver nuggets, I'm making liver popcorn.

    In my grocery store they sell chicken livers in little tubs, no need to freeze and save over time.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
  14. french fries

    french fries

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    Wow, thanks to all for the input! Chris, I'll definitely try your recipe next time, that sounds amazing. Great idea to use the chicken fat rather than butter. 

    I didn't get the result I wanted with the fork so in the food processor it went. It wasn't completely smooth, and I would probably need to strain it for that, but I didn't have the time. It's pretty smooth but not crazy smooth. It's pretty good, but I didn't put as much butter as liver, I put maybe 40% butter 60% liver. Is the added fat for taste, conservation, both? Talking about conservation, I still have some of the pate, is it still safe to eat 2, 3, 4 days later? 

    Thanks a lot. 
     
  15. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Tried it , dont like the mouth feel. and it imparts some taste(slightly bitter)
     
  16. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    If the added fat is mixed into the liver, it's for taste.  If it's poured over the top after the cooked liver pate is fully set, and allowed to harden as a seal, it's for preservation.  If you mix the fat back into the liver, it's for both.

    Liver thickened sauces used to be common a generation or so before Ed, but lost it postwar.  You can avoid bitterness by keeping temps down and not cooking the liver too well done.  You run into problems with most liver after med-rare because it's so lean. 

    BDL
     
  17. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    I mostly agree with BDL, of course, but with just about any charcuterie you do have to be rather careful about fat quantities or the whole thing will come out dry. With this mousse it's not nearly as bad as a dry sausage -- horrible! -- but you need quite a bit of fat nonetheless.

    If you have problems with texture, there are two probable culprits. First, if you have a kind of grittiness, you need to puree it smoother and work it through a finer sieve. Perfect results require a tamis, which can be expensive, but you can do very well with a reasonably fine -- and tough -- wire basket sieve. Second, if the whole thing seems kind of dry and coarse, sort of flaky, you don't have enough fat. One thing that helps is to let the mixture cool for 5 minutes or so before you whizz it in the processor. With this kind of mousse, it doesn't matter all that much, because at the end you can mostly stir any broken fat back into the mix, but if the fat stays bound to the meat from the start you'll have better results, and that means not pureeing it too hot. I also find that chicken fat binds to the meat better than does butter, but this may be an illusion; I will say that the one time I've had terrific results with just butter I threw cold whole butter in with the warm livers in the processor, so the butter didn't weep.
     
  18. curious mac

    curious mac

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    Chris,

    For us here in the Colonies what the heck is "french quatre épices"
     
  19. french fries

    french fries

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    Pepper, cloves, nutmeg and ginger (or cinnamon), in equal amounts. Sometimes cloves, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon. Sometimes all five. Sometimes it's used as a name for allspice. Most of the time 5 epices is the name for allspice though. Sometimes quatre epices contains more than 5 spices. Sometimes it actually contains 5 epices (allspice). Confusing huh? /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011
  20. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    Enjoy them! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif.

    I love chicken livers fried in butter with some onions. Nothing better in my opinion but not something I can eat regularly. Season with salt, flour lightly and fry in butter in a cast iron pan. Squirt it with lemon when they are done and they are delicious.