Monday, August 1, 2011

We Love Liver

Submitted by Rheba Kelley, Silver Spring, MD

Prep and cooking time: 30-45 minutes

Ingredients per person:
2 tablespoons lard or ghee (clarified butter--doesn’t burn)
1 medium onion, cut in half and sliced into thin slices
1/3 pound liver
Fine sea salt
Pepper

Heat half the lard or ghee in a heavy skillet (cast iron is great for this) over medium high heat. When the fat is hot, carefully add the onions and stir to coat with fat. Sprinkle with a few shakes of sea salt.

Cook, stirring often, until onions begin to soften—about five minutes. Lower heat to medium and cook for 10-15 minutes until beginning to brown, stirring every five minutes or so.

Meanwhile, rinse the liver in cold water and pat very dry with paper towels. Cut any long pieces in half. Season with salt and pepper on the top side.

Raise heat to medium high and cook onions for 5 to 10 more minutes, stirring often, until they are nicely browned and shiny. If the onions seem to be getting brown before they are cooked, add a couple tablespoons of water to the pan and stir to slow the cooking. They are done when they are all nicely caramelized and soft and sweet to taste.

Remove pan from the heat (leave the burner on if an electric stove) and remove onions to a glass or metal bowl. Be sure to get all the onion pieces out of the pan or they will burn black when the liver is frying.

Add the remaining lard or ghee to the pan and return the pan to medium high heat. When the fat is hot, carefully add the liver pieces, seasoned side down. Don’t crowd the pan; they may have to be cooked in two batches. The liver will shrink up immediately. Season the top side with salt and pepper.

Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn with tongs when a little bit of blood rises to the surface. The second side will be done in 1 to 2 minutes. Test for doneness by sliding a knife tip or fork into the liver. It should go in easily. If you’re not sure, slice through the middle. The center of the liver should look like medium rare steak. The color will lighten from the dark red-brown of the raw meat to reddish pink. Don’t overcook, or the liver will be tough and, well, “livery.”

Remove each piece from the pan to a warm plate as soon as it is cooked.

Serve the liver with a pile of onions on top.

Variation: Liver with Bacon and Onions
Allow 2 pieces bacon per person.
Cook the bacon until crispy and remove bacon from pan.
Cook the onions in the bacon fat and remove with slotted spoon, taking care to remove any little onion pieces but leaving as much bacon fat as possible.
There should be 1/4” of fat in the pan to cook the liver; add lard or ghee if necessary, and continue with recipe. Top the liver with onions and crumble the bacon over the onions.

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