Chicken livers with Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms & Bacon

This dish is old school and not for the cholesterol or calorie watching crowd, but, since I make it about once every 18 months, I’m not too worried. As you know if you’ve been following, I have a household of men who like their food, so, where I would normally make 1# of chicken livers for 3 of us, today I made 2#. There is left over for two more “normal” portions, so this recipe would feed 6 to 8 people.

CARAMELIZED ONIONS – there are lots of recipes out there on how to caramelize onions, but the best rule of thumb is this — low and slow. It will take about 15 minutes to get them nicely caramelized.

  • 3 Sweet onions (vidalia work well), sliced very thin, rings pulled apart
  • 1/2 Tsp. salt
  • 1/4 Tsp. black pepper

You can use stainless or non-stick, it doesn’t really matter, but make sure the pan is large enough because all the ingredients will be mixed back into this pan. They will also shrink. The 4 Cups or so of sliced onions becomes about 2 Cups caramelized onions. Turn the caramelized onions into a large bowl. You can add a little fat to the pan if you’d like, no more than 1 Tbsp. of butter or oil, but I prefer to “dry fry” them to get them a lovely brown color by caramelizing the natural sugars in the onion.

BROWNING THE MUSHROOMS:

  • 1# sliced mushrooms – button, portabello or any combination will do
  • 1 Tbsp. butter

Melt the butter in the same pan that the onions cooked in and then put in the mushrooms. Cook them over medium heat until they just start to soften and brown a little.

Once the mushrooms are cooked, add the onions back into the pan, stir thoroughly and set aside over low heat.2017-05-07 05.22.10

While the mushrooms are cooking, you want to start the bacon.

BACON PIECES and RENDERING THE FAT:

  • Use 6 to 8 slices of bacon – you can use any kind of bacon you want though thick slices are best. Cut the bacon slices into 1# pieces

Heat a stainless pan over medium high heat, then turn it back to medium and add the bacon pieces. It will take about 5 minutes for the bacon to crisp up and render out it’s fat. While the bacon is cooking, the pan will gather crispy pieces. We will take care of that later, so just keep moving the bacon until it’s cooked crispy.

Using a spatula, remove the bacon pieces and add it to the mushroom, onion mixture. We are now going to add some flavor to the onions, mushrooms and bacon with the addition of some alcohol. Depending on your favorites, you can use 1/3 Cup of dry sherry, madeira, dry white or dry red wines — all will add a slightly different variation to the dish, but will add some elegance to this dish. If you don’t want to use alchohol, add 1/3 Cup of low sodium chicken broth.

CHICKEN LIVERS:

  • 2# Chicken livers
  • Rendered bacon fat (see above)
  • Salt & pepper

Rinse the chicken livers under cool water, and using kitchen shears, remove any fat that is still attached. You can also cut them in half so you have uniform pieces to make cooking a little easier. Pat the livers dry with paper towels then sprinkle them on one side with salt and pepper.

Heat the pan you used to crisp the bacon so that the bacon fat is hot but not smoking. Put the chicken livers, seasoned side down, in a single layer in the pan. Cook the livers for 2 to 3 minutes then turn over and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Cut into the largest one in the pan to make sure they are cooked through. They should still be pink but not raw. Move the cooked livers into the pan with the onions and mushrooms and turn them into the mix. Repeat the process with the livers until you’ve cooked them all.

Now we’re going to finish off the dish by deglazing the pan. Using whatever you used to flavor the onions & mushrooms, pour about 2 Tbsp. into the pan you cooked the bacon and livers in, scrape the bottom of the pan loosening up the crunchy bits. Then add 1 Tbsp. sweet, unsalted butter and about 2 Tbsp. low sodium chicken broth. All this will take about 1 minute for the butter to melt, alcohol to cook off and broth to warm.

Pour it over the onions, mushrooms, bacon and livers. Toss one last time to heat through.

Serve over rice or noodles and enjoy!

2017-05-07 06.14.13

 

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