Liver is a Love or Hate it Dish and with some people that don’t mind it. I can tell you this. I am not crazy about it either. Although if you use Veal Liver then that changes the whole game.
Veal liver doesn’t have the same metallic iron taste as regular does. It takes a bit longer to cook but is so much better in taste. There really is a big difference.
It is a powerhouse of vital nutrients. A small amount provides well over 100% of the RDI for many essential nutrients. It is also rich in high-quality protein. It provides Vitamin B12, Vitamin A, Riboflavin, Folate, Iron, Copper, Choline just to list a few.
Organ Meats have a much higher density of Nutrients. Which is why this should be a dish that is made up once in awhile for replenishment. Too often and it can have adverse health effects but this is usually in conjunction with people who take vitamin supplements as well. It really is powerful stuff.
Toxins in the Liver
As far as eating toxins in the liver. This is somewhat misleading. While the Liver job is to eliminate toxins. That’s just what it does. Eliminate the Toxins. It doesn’t store it. It may store some that was in the process of elimination. But since it was in the liver it was already neutralized.
It also has to contend with your liver as well in which case it will be more readily eliminated as it is already Neutralized and then finally eliminated by your Liver. So in the end you’re not eating any toxins.
It’s also interesting to note that animals in the wild will go for internal organs first – “The Prized Meat”. This is because it is the most nutrient dense parts. In other parts of the world, internal organs are a necessity for survival. The Real Value is in internal organs.
For this reason Liver is a dish we periodically have, and it doesn’t have to taste bad. Not at all, which is what prompted me to share my recipe with you.
I pick up mine at my local Halal / Middle Eastern Store. It is always fresh and the best place I have found for Veal Liver. These shops do an excellent job in maintaining the meat through every stage.
Avoid Liver sitting in a lot of blood. There is no way to tell how long it has been sitting there. Fresh Liver should have a bounce to it, springy like with a consistent color throughout.
When Fresh it should be vibrant and moist but not slick with a clean smell. This can be refrigerated for up to 1 day or frozen for longer.
Remove the thin membrane and discard. This will cause the meat to tighten and toughen up when cooking.
How to Slice Liver
Slice into 1/2 inch thickness across the liver if not done already. Slice on an angle to get wider pieces if desired. The pieces should be about 2 – 3 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick.
The Liver contains ventricle veins running the length of it. If you cut it length wise then a few pieces are going to be full of ventricle veins. Cutting it across minimizes the vein in the meat to an unnoticeable amount.
Where we pick up ours, it is already sliced into 1/2 inch thickness so all that is left to do is to peel the membrane off and chop into portion size.
Most people suggest to marinate in Milk which takes out the Metallic taste or in acidic water which is Water to cover with the Juice of one Lemon or 1-2 Tablespoons of Vinegar.
Even with the above method, I still prefer Veal which does not have to be marinated, although you could if you wanted too, and contains none of the metallic taste.
The most basic is just Salt & Pepper on the Liver and/or Coated in Flour. However you can Season this up a bit with Garlic & Sage with Salt & Black Pepper blend. Or any other Herbs & Spices like Mustard, Paprika or Thyme. Then coat in Flour or not.
Salt & Pepper Blend
- 1 Tbl Sea Salt
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/2 tsp White Pepper
Dredging is optional. Some people don’t and some do. The Standard at least for me when growing up eating this was dredging in regular All Purpose Flour. You can add the Seasoning to the Liver and Flour as well.
Other Flours may be used such as Corn Flour & Rice Flour. Barley Flour is one of my Favorites and for this reason I often use Seasoned Flour. Another that I haven’t tested but is claimed by many people to be the best is Wondra Flour.
- 1/3 C each of All Purpose Flour, Barley Flour & Corn Flour – Not Corn Starch, or Corn Meal.
- 1 Tbl Sea Salt
- 1/4 tsp Black & White Pepper
- 1/8 tsp of Cayenne Pepper (more or less)
Dredging the Meat in Flour is an old school French style of cooking. It helps to create a crust and seal in the Flavors. Browning the meat and creating a Flavorful crust as well as texture contrast. It’s a natural barrier used quite often in various other foods such as Fried Bass & Trout Fillets, Smelts, Mackerel.
Sauces for Liver
Because the Meat is coated in Flour and Fried. It creates a fond at the bottom of the Pan which can be lifted up with Liquids. This creates a light Sauce thickened by the Flour that can be served over the meat. Add Pork Broth to Pick the Fond up and cook until thickened.
For a Cream Sauce use 1/2 Vegetable Broth and 1/2 Chicken, Pork or Beef Broth and add it to the pan. Reduce until thickened, add Cream and a small amount of Dijon Mustard.
This can also be done with Balsamic Vinegar added to the pan and reduced. Then some Butter added for Creaminess.
Another option is to deglaze the pan with some lemon Juice and add some Butter.
By Far my most favorite Side Sauce is a mixture of Ketchup & HP Sauce. If you want it a bit spicy add a small amount of Sriracha Sauce. I usually have this on the side so that I can dip the meat into it or just over the pieces of meat.
How to Cook Liver
The Cook times depend on how thick the pieces are. I typically slice these about 1/2 of an inch thick or they come already sliced to 1/2 inch or slightly more. I’d like to test out some other cook methods and will do so but for now I have always just pan fried these.
Pan Fried Liver
In a large Skillet over medium heat first cook the chopped Bacon and Onions which will render out Bacon grease that will be used throughout the Dish and Brown the Onions. Then set this aside reserving some of the bacon fat to cook the liver. Add the seasoned meat either with Salt & Pepper or dusted in a Seasoned Flour and Fry for 3 minutes per side. Optionally the last minute you can add butter and scoop over the meat.
If you cut into this right away there will still be some blood in the meat. Let it sit 5 minutes to finish cooking with the residual heat to get it perfectly cooked. This will give you a liver that is practically cooked through with only a slight barely noticeable Pink.
If you want it cooked fully through without applying excessive heat or cooking longer, then cover the meat with tin foil so that the heat dissipates at a slower rate.
If the Pan starts smoking too much the heat is too high. Remove it for a few seconds to allow to cool slightly, place back unto the heat.
Medium Rare / Medium Liver
Some people like medium rare. This is more nutritional as when you cook until done some of the Vitamins and Minerals are destroyed. When done Medium rare or Medium you preserve a bit more of the nutrition.
In any event if medium rare is what you are looking for. Fry for about 1 minute per side before setting aside to rest for 5 minutes.
For Medium fry 2 minutes per side and let rest 5 minutes.
Liver and Gravy
A simple Pan Gravy can be easily made up and served over the Liver with Onions. Optionally some Bacon too.
Pan Fried Liver
- Salt & Pepper blend for the Liver and to season the Gravy and the Onions.
- Slice 1 lb Onion Rings and place into a pan over medium heat with 2 Tbl Bacon Fat. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Stir, cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Uncover and cook another 5 minutes while occasionally stirring. Empty into a Bowl.
- Salt the Liver and dredge in flour. Into the Frying pan with 1/4 C Bacon Fat. Sear 3 minutes per side.
- Line a plate with tin foil alternate layering the Onions and Liver. Keep covered while you prepare the Gravy
Liver & Onions
- Add 3 Tbl of Flour to make a roux, if there is too much flour, add some more fat.
- Cook until the roux is brown and then add in 2 Cups of water and 1 beef bouillon cube, cook until thickened.
- Add 1/4 C of Cream (10%) and season with Salt & Pepper blend to taste.
- Plate the Liver & Onions and ladle Gravy on top
Liver & Gravy
Liver with Bacon and Onions
- 1 Large Skillet
- 1 Bowl for the Seasoned Flour
- 1 lb Veal Liver
- 1/2 lb Bacon
- 1 Onion - or more
- 1 portion Seasoned Flour
- To Taste Salt & Pepper
- Remove the membrane covering the liver and slice into 1/2 inch thickness across the Liver if not already.Then cut into serving size, about 2 – 3 inches wide. Set aside until ready to cook. If you don't plan on Flouring the Liver, then Season it with Salt & Pepper.
- Slice Onion into rings and chop Bacon into chunks. Cook both the Bacon and Onions over medium heat in a large Skillet until desired crispness. Leave the Bacon Grease in the Pan and scoop out the Onions & Bacon to set aside.
- Optionally coat the Liver in Flour and place into a Skillet. Fry each side for 3 minutes. If the Pan starts smoking too much, remove it from the heat for a few seconds to slightly cool, then back to the heat.
- Set aside and don't touch it for 5 minutes for just cooked liver (Slight tinge of pink). If you want it fully cooked through, cover with tinfoil and leave for 5 minutes.
- Once all the Liver is cooked, you can discard all or some of the fat and deglaze the pan with Liquid and serve over the Liver or make a Pan Gravy to serve with the Liver.
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