When I was a child, liver was served to me cooked to the point that it had the texture of the sole of my shoe! I remember my brother and I staging a protest against it, making posters stating ‘No More Liver!’ ‘We Hate Liver!’ My mother, who is a very good cook herself, admitted that she just threw liver & bacon into a dish on the lower part of the oven, on baking days & just left it there while she spent the afternoon baking cakes, sponges & scones!
Then we discovered more modern cooking methods and the flavour that it can give a dish, when cooked to perfection. The thing with liver is that it is very cheap, but prepared well, can produce a luxurious supper, paired with a good wine. (One of my favourites is chicken livers with saffron risotto). I often pick up packs of livers when they are in the reduced section of the supermarket and throw them in the freezer. I buy them for such a low price they are almost free!!!! More to spend on the wine!!! Happy me!!!
This dish adds a little sophistication, has a little prep to it and a couple of skillets, but produces a beautiful dish at the end, so worth the little effort. It doesn’t take long, just a couple of ans on the go.
WINE NOTE: I pair a French Pinot Noir with it, so that I am getting those earthy forest floor mushroomy flavours, that give the earthy flavour of the liver a run for it’s money!. Another match is Syrah which displays blackberry flavours with spice, but I prefer the Pinot Noir with this particular dish, as the red fruits and lush raspberry glide smoothly with the balsamic dressing. These wines are usually in the medium bracket price range & upward, but there is the luscious Vignobles Roussellet Pinot Noir, which retails at £4.49 in the UK, which is a huge bargain! Probably the best red wine for under £5!! Makes for a guilt free budget supper all round!!!
2 banana shallots finely diced
small handful fresh curly parsley finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely diced
1 tbsp olive oil
150g/5oz thick cut smoked bacon diced
2 little gem lettuce cut in half lengthways
2 large Portobello mushrooms sliced
2 tbsp chicken stock
450g/1lb lambs’ liver
2 tbsp flour for dusting
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp beef stock
Blend the shallot, parsley and garlic together in a bowl ready for garnish.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the bacon over a low heat for 2-3 minutes, or until golden-brown. Add the lettuce to the pan, cut-side down and the mushrooms and chicken stock and cook for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a skillet over a low heat and add half of the butter.
Season the flour to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Dust the liver slices in the seasoned flour and add to the butter once it is foaming. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then turn over and cook for another minute. Remove the liver from the pan and set aside.
Deglaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar, scraping up any browned bits. Add the remaining butter and beef stock and continue to cook until the sauce is well combined and thickened slightly. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To serve, place the braised lettuce onto serving plates, place the liver on the lettuce & drizzle over the balsamic sauce. Scatter the shallot mixture over & serve.