Big bird liver

I have mentioned, often, how much I enjoy autumn.  It is the season of special light, colour, sunrises and sunsets.

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Morning sun through the autumn vine leaves over the outside shower

After a sunrise rather like this

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There is, however, a chill in the air, so the menu moves to hearty, warm and warming meals.  Sometimes, dishes hark back to our respective childhoods, with the key ingredient one that is now mostly shunned.  Except, perhaps when it’s incorporated into some or other more “sophisticated” product like paté, turned into a canapé or parfait.  It’s also “risked” when incorporated into not-often-eaten or fashionable ethnic cuisines, and then it’s usually from a smaller bird:  chicken.

Well, that is my experience, anyway:  my home made chicken liver paté is one of my best sellers at the market, but suggest to many people that one should have liver for supper, the response is often one of revulsion.

Offal?  I’d never eat offal.  Urgh!

However, both The Husband and I grew up eating liver.  Usually lamb or sheep’s liver.  Sometimes ox.  We had to; or in my case, if I didn’t eat my supper, the meal was put on top of the fridge and became breakfast.  In The Husband’s case, it was that or nothing.  Going hungry wasn’t an option for him;  still isn’t.

So, the other evening, supper’s protein was ostrich liver, which netted a hail of almost-insults from my social media pals.  Occasionally, one sees liver and onions (with the ubiquitous mash) on a pub menu and, I confess that I, too, tend to shun it.  Why?  Liver, like fish, is very easy to overcook and destroy.  This brings me back to my childhood memory of liver, I now know as overcooked:  hard, grainy and with an awful, dry texture that neither gravy nor mash could ameliorate.  Besides, for me, mashed potato was (still is) also an “un-favourite”, unless as tatties and neeps.

Anyhow, for a change, it’s good to eat something different;  and liver is a great source of not just protein but iron and a whack of other nutrients.  I’d not considered ostrich liver until, a few years’ ago, we had it when we went to friends for a casual supper.  The dish was not dissimilar to this, but I’ve made it my own in that it I only use fresh ingredients and no commercial soup or stock powders, and when I thought about it, it could be considered as a “sort-of” stroganoff.  I make it from time to time – both with ostrich and lamb’s liver.  I don’t think it would work with chicken livers because it’s difficult so slice them, which would have an impact on the cooking time and what the dish ultimately looks like.

Ostrich liver and onions – Stroganoff style

Ingredients*

± 500 g liver (ostrich/lamb/your choice)
2 onions
250 g mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
125ml water
2 T seasoned flour
2 generous sprigs marjarom (chopped)
½ bunch Italian (flat leaf) parsley (chopped)
¼ red or yellow bell pepper
Good glug of red wine
2 – 4 dessert spoons Greek yoghurt

Thinly slice the onions and mushrooms and sauté in a combination of olive oil and butter until soft.  Add the garlic (crushed or finely chopped) and marjoram.  While this is cooking, cut 0,5 cm slices of liver and roll in the seasoned flour.  Add to the mushroom and onion mixture, add the water and yoghurt and allow to cook gently for about 5 minutes.  Add the red wine, watching carefully because you don’t want the liver to over cook.

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Finally, add a good heap of chopped parsley.  Serve over broken** potatoes (or mash!).

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The secret to the flavour of this meal, served with a side salad, is not just that the liver is cooked until it is just cooked through and still soft, but the red wine and sweet bell peppers.

Lovely and warm after a sunset that heralded one of the first cold nights of the approaching winter.

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© Fiona’s Favourites 2016


10 thoughts on “Big bird liver

  1. We only ever had lambs liver at home, with onions and delicious gravy. Never with mash. My mother cooked it beautifully, it was one of my fave lunches. We also had it at school with bacon. Horrid salty bacon and touch rubbery liver. A world of difference.

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      1. Don’t know. We didn’t eat many potatoes at home. I liked mash potatoes though. Think we had them with oxtail stew and neck of lamb stew. Neither of which I was fond of. Too much bone and not enough meat. I liked easy meat meals, steak and kidney pie for example. No bone there. No bones with liver. We probably ate spring cabbage with liver I suspect. Maybe carrots? Can’t remember. I think the vile school meal came with tinned tomatoes and either mash or boiled.

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      2. The boarding school meals really stick in one’s mind as do our least favourite, don’t they? My loathing of cabbage (boiled and coleslaw) is a hangover from school. Don’t know where my dislike of potato comes from, though. I like both oxtail and neck of lamb. The latter as a curry, mostly. I am so conscious that some offal (oxtail and, to some extent, neck) have become both acceptable and sought after. Consequently, no longer cheap meals.

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  2. Hi Fiona
    I was intrigued not scathing about your ostrich liver? I too like liver, especially calves liver.
    We serve it with mash too here in England
    Lisa

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  3. That reminds me of meals of my youth – but not ostrich. I imagine the grandkids would turn up their little snub noses at any form of it, these days. I don’t think I’ve ever had a liver dish with wine as an ingredient. If I were to do it I would probably, like the late Keith Floyd, glug the stuff before it could be included!

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