Chicken Livers

Having written about liver in general in Lovely Liver!  I thought I would also look at chicken livers in particular.

These would have featured in my shopping on a regular basic many years ago but have been somewhat neglected in recent years – this will now change!

I could not find any fresh chicken livers in my local shops but did find tubs of frozen chicken liver – they contain around 225g per tub and the cost was very reasonable.

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Soaking the livers

All my recipe books say to soak the livers for at least 1 hour – to help remove any bitterness.

I do not remember doing this in the past but decided to try this out – they tasted lovely – not sure how much was due to the soaking.

Buttery Chicken Livers with Onions

450 -500g of chicken livers

500ml of milk

3-4 tablespoons of plain flour

3 onions

4-5 tablespoons  of butter

1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning

Salt & pepper

Method

Put the chicken livers in a bowl with the milk and leave for at least an hour.

Drain them off and pat them dry and dredge them in the flour.

Cut the onions in half and cut them into thin slices.

Fry the onion gently in some of the butter until they are golden brown.

In a separate pan fry the floured chicken livers on all sides for 2-3 minutes.

Sprinkle them with the Italian seasoning, mix well and cook for a further few minutes.

Add the livers to the onions and mix well.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

 

These are best served with something quite plain such as boiled rice or crusty rolls and maybe a tomato salad.

Chicken Livers with Apples

450 -500g of chicken livers

6 tablespoons of butter

2 to 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil

2 onions

2 eating apples (I used Pink Lady)

1 tablespoon of granulated sugar

Salt & pepper

Method

This really needs 3 frying pans!

I have described each as a separate stage but you can  do these at the same time.

Cut the onions into half and then slice into thin half circles.

In one frying pan,  fry the onions gently in 3 tablespoons of butter until they are golden.

Peel and core the apples and cut them into quarters.

In another frying pan, melt the 1 tablespoon of butter and heat the apples gently on all sides.

 

Add the tablespoon of sugar and continue to cook on a low heat for 2-3 minutes until the sugar starts to caramelise.

Add the apples to the onions and mix together.

 

In a seperate pan melt 2 tablespoons of butter.

Fry the chicken livers in the butter, stirring and turning them for around 3-4  minutes.

Srpinkle with salt and pepper.

Mix the livers with the apples and onions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good served with crusty bread.

 

Breaded Liver

This is a very simple and easy way to cook liver but it is delicious.

Depending on how it has been prepared by the butcher,  you might have to remove some veins or membranes.

I used lamb’s liver for this.

Ingredients

300g of sliced liver

1 beaten egg

Dried breadcrumbs

Sunflower oil for frying

Salt & Pepper

Method

Slice the liver into thin equal sized slices.

Dip the liver slices into beaten egg.

Sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper.

Coat the slices in dried breadcrumbs.

 

Fry the slices in hot sunflower oil.

 

Served here with lettuce with a soured cream dressing.

Royal Doulton – Carnation – 1982 -1988.

 

Lovely Liver!

For many people  – liver is love it or loath it.

I think certainly for me and most Poles it is love it!

The Polish for liver is wątroba – which means “waste maker” – as the liver is the organ in the body where substances are broken down.

In Poland the most sought after livers  are calves liver & rabbit liver.

My aunty in Białystok- cooked some rabbit liver for me when I  was there last – I thought it was utterly delicious  –  but as far as I am aware it is not readily available to buy in England.

I  see calves liver for sale more and more here in England and I  buy this whenever I can.

My mother always cooked pigs’ liver, never ox liver.

I usually cook lambs liver if I cannot get calves liver.

I think liver is best lightly cooked, even slightly pinky,  it becomes hard and tough if over cooked.

There is a restaurant in Krakow called Dom Polonii ( House of the Poles) just off  Rynek Główny (Main Square) it serves very traditional dishes.

Rynek Główny (Main Square)

 

I like to eat there very much and can never make up my mind which dish I want the most. Their fried liver is super and I will have that at least once when I visit Kraków.

Liver is the main ingredient of  pâtés and similar dishes which are very popular in Poland –  I will look at these in future posts.

Cooking Liver

These recipes are all  variations on a simple theme.

I use calves or lamb’s liver for these recipes .

Preparing the liver

Depending on how it has been prepared by the butcher,  you might have to remove some veins or membranes.

Slice the liver into thin equal sized slices.

Dip each piece into a mixture of plain flour and ground black pepper.

 Simple Style Liver

Lightly pan fry the liver slices in a mixture of butter & sunflower oil on both sides.

Sprinkle on some Italian Herbs.

Add around 150 ml of chicken or vegetable stock (can be from a cube, concentrate or powder) … depends on the size of your pan.

Put the lid on the pan (a glass lid is good for this) and simmer gently for 2 -3  minutes.  (The time will depend on the thickness of the slices)

 

 

 

 

Liver with Soured Cream

Follow the instructions for the simple style but only cook for 1 -2 minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and add 2 tablespoons of soured cream and mix well.

Return to the heat  and allow to simmer for  1 -2 minutes.

Liver with Onions 1

In my old Polish cookery book  (my bible in many respects) this simple recipe (without the herbs) is called  …. po angielskiu  which means  …. English style!

Kuchnia Polska – Polish Kitchen or Polish Cookery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thinly slice 1 or 2 onions (I like lots of onions with the liver).

Fry the onions in butter & sunflower oil till golden.

In a separate pan lightly pan fry the liver slices in a mixture of butter & sunflower oil on both sides.

Sprinkle on some Italian Herbs.

Add the onions to the fried liver and mix together and serve.

 

Liver with Onions 2

Thinly slice 1 or 2 onions (I like lots of onions with the liver).

In a pan, fry the onions in butter & sunflower oil till golden. (You can fry a little longer to slightly char or caramelise them if you like)

In a separate pan, lightly fry the liver slices in a mixture of butter & sunflower oil on both sides.

Sprinkle on some Italian Herbs.

Add around 150 ml of chicken or vegetable stock (can be from a cube, concentrate or powder) … depends on the size of your pan.

Put the lid on the pan (a glass lid is good for this) and simmer gently for 2 -3  minutes.  (The time will depend on the thickness of the slices).

This will give a tasty sauce with the liver.

Place the fried onions on top and serve.

Liver with Mushrooms

Thinly slice mushrooms around 100g of button mushrooms

Fry them gently in a mixture of butter & sunflower oil.

Add the mushrooms to the fried liver as in the simple style above and mix together.

Add around 150 ml of chicken or vegetable stock (can be from a cube, concentrate or powder) … depends on the size of your pan.

Put the lid on the pan (a glass lid is good for this) and simmer gently for 2 -4  minutes.  (The time will depend on the thickness of the slices).

Liver with Mushrooms & Soured Cream

Follow the instructions for the Liver with Mushrooms but only cook for 1 -2 minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and add 2 tablespoons of soured cream and mix well.

Heat up slowly and allow to simmer for  1 -2 minutes.

 

Served here on Royal Doulton – Carnation, 1982-1998

Serving suggestions

Sprinkle liberally  with chopped parsley.

All of the above go well with boiled potatoes, creamy mashed potatoes, boiled rice, noodles or pasta such as tagliatelle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kotlety with Sauerkraut

Having made kotlety mielone (minced meat burgers ) with first fresh and then cooked cabbage,  I started to think of a variation which in a way is more Polish!

I decided to use sauerkraut and also some fresh mushrooms  – though dried ones might even be more Polish.

Ingredients

500g beef mince

Half a 900g jar of sauerkraut *

150g of mushrooms

1 onion – chopped fine

2 -3  tablespoons semolina

2 eggs

Butter & sunflower oil for frying

Dried breadcrumbs  

Salt  and pepper

* I often freeze the other half of the jar in a plastic tub for another time.

Method

Drain the sauerkraut and rinse with cold water.

Place the sauerkraut in a pan of water and simmer gently for 5-10 minutes.

Drain the sauerkraut and leave to cool then dry  it with a tea towel.

Chop the sauerkraut into small pieces using a sharp knife.

Fry the chopped onion in a little hot oil and butter.

Chop the mushrooms into small pieces and add them to the onions and continue frying until the onions are lightly browned – leave the mixture to cool.

In a large bowl mix the minced meat,  the sauerkraut and onion and mushroom mixture until they are evenly mix.

Add the eggs and mix.

Add the semolina, salt and pepper and mix until you get a uniform mixture.

Try to make each one the same size, take a handful of the mixture and press it between your hands to make a flattened circle and then place this in the dried breadcrumbs and turn it over to cover both sides and edges.

Once coated place them on a tray dusted with breadcrumbs until you have used all the mixture up.

Pre-heat the oven to GM3 – 160°C

Shallow fry the kotlety in hot oil, depending on the frying pan size,  you can do 4 to 5 at a time, turning them over so that both sides are done.

Place them on a  metal tray  and put in the oven and keep adding to these as you keep frying the batches.

 

Served here with gherkins

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They were voted as delicious!

Note

Should you have any left,  you can reheat them in sauce made with chicken or vegetable stock.

 

Bean Salad

Bean Salad with Apple & Hard-boiled Eggs

As I was trying out some herring salads I came across the following mixture which worked so well together.  I decided it would make a good salad mixture on its own.

Originally this would have been made with soaked and then boiled haricot beans  – for ease I use a tin of baked beans from which the sauce has been washed off.

Ingredients

1 tin of haricot beans (tinned beans (410g) with the tomato sauce washed off , rinsed and patted dry).

1 thinly sliced then chopped onion

2 chopped (red skinned) apples

3- 4  chopped hard-boiled eggs

2-3 tablespoons of  mayonnaise ( full fat is the best here)

Salt & pepper to taste

 

 

 

 

Method

Prepare all the ingredients

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.

You can sprinkle chopped flat-leaved parsley on top when serving.

 

 

 

 

 

Caraway Yeast Buns

Whilst doing some research on caraway,  I found that in 2011, Finland  produced over 25% of the worlds caraway.

So I thought why not a recipe from Finland!

This is a based on a recipe for pulla –  in Poland they would be called  bułeczki  – they are yeast buns and in Finland they are served with coffee.

These buns  are originally flavoured with crushed cardamon seeds – I have adapted this for caraway.

In Poland caraway is often added to rye bread but not usually added to wheat flour buns.

Ingredients

500g plain flour

50g butter

80g of granulated sugar

300ml tepid milk

1 teaspoon of dried yeast

1 egg beaten

1 tablespoonful of caraway seeds

1 teaspoon of salt

1 egg white, beaten, for glazing (does not burn as easily as whole egg).

Optional

Crushed sugar cubes.

Method

In a small dish start the yeast off with 2 tablespoons of the milk and 1 tablespoon of the sugar until it is bubbling.

Rub the butter into the flour.

Add the salt, caraway seeds, sugar, yeast mixture, milk and egg.

Mix thouroughly with a wooden spoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover the dough with clingfilm or a cloth and leave to rise.

I left mine over night in a cool cellar and then followed by a few hours in the morning in a warmer kitchen.

Grease 2 baking sheets.

Take the dough out of the bowl – a special dough scraper is very good for this.

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Divide the dough into 12 pieces  – a dough cutter is most useful for this  and shape each one into a ball using floured hands – do not over work the dough or add flour – keep the mix as soft as possible.

Place the balls on the sheets – leaving room for expansion.

Cover and leave to rise.

Pre-heat the oven to GM 6 – 200°C

Brush the top of each bun with the beaten egg white and sprinkle with the crushed sugar if desired.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden – brown.

 

Getting ready for morning coffee

 

 

Enamelled coffee pot by the Cathrineholm ironworks in Norway  –  Lotus – from the 1960s,

Coffee cups and saucers by Elizabethan  – Carnaby – from the 1970s

The buns are on a hand-decorated  cake stand made by Fairmont & Main who were established in Huddersfield in 1994.

The pattern is Carnival and this is a recent birthday present from one of my friends.

Note

As with all yeast buns these will go stale quickly – if I have any left – I cut them in half and pack into bags and freeze them.

On de-frosting I toast them and serve with butter.

Podpłomyczki – Polish Unleavened Bread

This is a very old recipe for an unleavened, flat bread  – that is one made without yeast.

In Polish, bread has to contain some rye flour, so these are not called bread as  they are made from wheat flour.

Podpłomyczki – płomyczek means flame  and pod means under – these would have originally been baked on stones placed on a camp fire.

The most original recipes are made with just flour, water and salt* and are cooked on a cast iron griddle – these I think are delicious.

I think podpłomyczki are cousins of  the  rotlis from Gujarat that my friend taught me how to make!

As well as this recipe I tried out two other versions.

The first had an egg added to the mixture – I do not think it was any better.

The second used eggs and milk rather than water and were made slightly thicker and one suggestion was to bake them in the oven.

I tried baking in the oven,  on a griddle, both thick and thin.  I thought they were all horrible!

So I am only writing up this one recipe which was really good.

Ingredients

250g plain flour

200ml water

1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Method

Mix the flour and the salt.

Add the water and mix to form ball of soft dough.

Place the dough into a plastic bag and leave it for 30 minutes.

On a floured board flatten the dough into a thick circle.

Cut the dough into eight.

 

Form each peice into a ball and then roll this out thinly using a rolling pin.

Cook these using a cast iron frying pan or griddle.

Do not use any fat or oil.

Turn then over to cook both sides.

Bamboo tongs are very useful.

Watch as they puff up as the water in the dough turns to steam !

They are best eaten straight from the pan.

Otherwise wrap them in a tea towel to keep them warm.

I ate them with butter and with butter and honey – delicious!

* Salt – Polish Salt Mine &  Legend

In southern Poland there is one of the oldest salt mines in the world – the Wieliczka salt mine. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has produced salt since the 13th Century until 2007.

Legend has it that when Princess Kinga, a Hungarian Princess, became betrothed to Bolesław V,  Wstydliwy  (Bolesław V, the Chaste), Prince of Krakow, she asked for salt as her dowry and then threw her betrothal golden ring into a Hungarian mine.

On her arrival in Poland she asked a miner to dig in the ground and there he  found her golden ring inside a rock of  salt and that place became the site of the Wieliczka salt mine.

Because of her good works, Princess Kinga became Saint Kinga after her death.

Photos taken at Wieliczka