Tag Archives: chicken livers

Recipe | Wild garlic and chicken liver sauce

Get hold of some wild garlic, roast a chicken, and make this sauce. It rocks. Actually it would go terrifically well with most things, particularly a steak, being (if I say so myself) miles better than the ‘secret’ recipe at Le Relais de Venise.

And don’t be put off by the chicken liver part – it’s not at all offally, this sauce, but the liver adds richness and depth and general meatiness. By all means leave it out if liver ain’t your bag.

Makes enough for 4

50g butter
A shallot, peeled and finely chopped
A chicken liver
A big handful of wild garlic, washed and roughly chopped
Roasting juices from a chicken or steak or just a splash of white wine
A small handful of chervil, finely chopped
Juice of half a lemon

Р Melt the butter and add the shallots, gently frying with salt and pepper until softened. Bung in the chicken livers and cook for 4-5 minutes before mashing thoroughly.

– Add the roasting juices, white wine or whatever, and simmer for a couple of minutes until thickened. Now add the wild garlic and chervil, stirring until wilted. Squeeze over half a lemon and serve over the meat. If you’d like to refine the sauce then whiz it up and pass it through a sieve, but who wants refinement on a Sunday night?


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Recipe | Chicken liver, broad bean and parsley salad

As asparagus season ends, broad bean season begins. It’s rather neat, isn’t it? The little pale green nuggets work well enough quickly blanched and served with some shaved Parmesan, tarted up in a salad like this one, or pureed with mint, pine nuts and yet more Parmesan for a sort of late spring pesto. Stevie Parle does them with morcilla (Spanish black pudding) and smoked paprika; as good a broad bean dish as I’ve found. If feeling industrious it’s worth double-podding them – particularly later in the season when the leathery pods within can be quite tough.

Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a starter
500g broad beans
400g chicken livers
A handful of flat leaf parsley
Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
Half a clove of garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper

– Pod (or double pod if you can be arsed – I couldn’t) the beans and set aside. Cut the livers into chunks and trim the chicken livers of any bile and connective tissue and wash. Dry thoroughly.

– Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and add the beans. Simmer for 2 minutes, drain and run under a cold tap for a minute or so. Heat a little oil in a frying pan. Cut the livers into chunks and fry for a couple of minutes on each side, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go.

– Remove from pan to rest. Whisk together the mustard, honey and vinegar, then slowly add the oil. Finally whisk in the garlic, and season with salt and pepper.

– Serve the livers with the broad beans and parsley leaves, spoon over some dressing and grate over a little Parmesan.

PS. It could be argued that this would be better with a sharper vinegar like sherry. You could deglaze the pan with the vinegar, scraping up all the lovely little caramelized bits of liver, before pouring into a small mixing bowl and continuing with dressing as before. Your call. My sister is a slut for balsamic vinegar – in fact she licked her plate clean. Seriously.


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Christmas Canapes

There are only so many bowls of Doritos and dip that you can eat in a month. Don’t get me wrong, I love those processed, cheese-dusted, crunchy beauties (give me Doritos over Kettle Chips any day of the week), but sometimes you just want something a little more refined. That’s not to say fussy, or time-consuming, or expensive. But a little elegance at Christmas is sometimes necessary.

On Saturday I found myself doing canapes for 60 and, with the aid of two super-capable helpers (always a little awkward-making when your sous-chef is more experienced than you), cranked out close to 700 canapes and mince pies with no fuss whatsoever. You could quite happily do a couple of these (along with some mulled cider, perchance), without any stress.

Christmas Koftas

The idea of these was that they look like mini Christmas puds. If you hadn’t spotted that already.

Makes around 30

500g minced lamb

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon harissa

1 tablespoon ras el hanout

1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes

1 egg

Olive oil

100ml Greek yoghurt

A handful chopped mint

Juice of half a lemon


Barberries (available in Persian stores – otherwise pomegranates will work)

Make the kofta mix (can be done ahead) by putting the lamb mince, harissa, spices, onion and egg in a bowl along with a good slug of olive oil and some pepper. Mix thoroughly by hand, and set aside until ready to cook.

The mint yoghurt can also be done ahead. Finely chop the mint and add to the yoghurt with the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Refrigerate until needed.

An hour before cooking, soak the barberries in boiling water for 45 minutes, then drain and press out any excess moisture.

Set the grill to 240C (you could fry the koftas but with guests you may not want to have a smoky, smelly kitchen). Form the koftas into small balls, season with salt and pop under the grill for 8 minutes.

Rest for 1 minute then garnish with a drop of mint yoghurt, a sprig of coriander and a couple of barberries.

Chicory with gorgonzola, cranberries, walnuts and truffle oil

Makes 30

2-3 heads of chicory (3 to be safe)

200g Gorgonzola, roughly chopped

A handful of dried cranberries, roughly chopped

A handful of walnuts, roughly chopped

Truffle oil

Wash and dry the chicory, and break apart carefully, saving the larger leaves for a salad (they will probably be too big for canapes). Trim the bottoms of the longer leaves and arrange on a plate. Add a few bits of Gorgonzola, cranberries and chopped walnut. You can do all this ahead, then just drizzle with a little truffle oil before serving.

Chicken liver parfait on crostini with pomegranate

Makes plenty (the parfait will keep and be of much use over Christmas)

1.2kg of chicken livers, washed, trimmed, and roughly chopped

450g unsalted butter

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

100ml brandy

2 teaspoons of fresh thyme, finely chopped

Pomegranate seeds

A French stick style baguette (as thin as possible)

Melt 250g of the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat. When completely melted, add the garlic and thyme leaves and gently poach in the butter until the garlic is starting to colour at the edges. Add the chicken livers, season with salt and pepper, and continue to poach for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Turn up the heat to high and add the brandy. Carefully set fire to the pan with a match and burn off the alcohol (don’t be alarmed by the longevity of the fire – it will die eventually (just keep tea towels, children and pets away)).

Once the flames have died down blend the livers in a food processor or with a hand blender. Failing these you can make a coarser pate by beating the livers with a wooden spoon.

Transfer to a bowl or posh parfait jar and leave to cool. Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter until the milk solids separate to the bottom. Pour the clarified butter onto the parfait and leave in the fridge to set. Will keep for a week.

When you’re ready to devour this heart-stopping concoction, slice the baguette and pop under the grill for a couple of minutes. Slather on a teaspoon of parfait (or quenelle if feeling poncy) and garnish with pomegranate seeds.


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