or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Recipes › Liver and Onions
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Liver and Onions

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
On a recent business trip to Columbus, OH, I had dinner at Cap City Diner Cap City Fine Diner :: Columbus, Ohio :: Menus, Brunch, Lunch, Dinner

The special that day was liver and onions, and it was mighty delicious. Much better than any attempt I've made to prepare it or had ever had it anywhere else.

It was tender, thick, covered with a rich sauce and carmelized onions. Served with creamy mashed potatoes. I suspect there was lots of oil and butter involved due to the residue left on my plate. There was bacon involved and balsamic veal jus (whatever that is).

So, does anyone have a recipe to prepare it in such a manner? I think I can handle a less caloric version, but I'd like to try something this rich sometime.

Also, what kind of liver should I look for, beef? calf? veal? never-frozen?

post #2 of 7
Calf or veal liver are preferable. Beef liver is comparatively tough and bitter. Unless you are very good with a knife, it's a good idea to have the butcher slice it about 3/8" thick. This might mean going to an actual meat market -- depending on the level of service you get from your super.

Based on your short description you can't expect a duplication of the dish you had at Cap's. There's just not enough specificity. For instance, I don't know if bacon was served with the liver, or if there was something special about the bacon itself. Nevertheless, you did provide enough for me to have a pretty good idea of techniques and most of the ingredients required. Fortunately, there aren't a lot of right ways to do this.

It's important to use very fresh liver, and, as I said have it sliced fairly thin. The techniques involved are soaking the liver in milk to remove the bitterness; using medium sliced liver to maximize flavor and surface area; cooking only briefly so the veal is medium-rare to medium; making a simple, butter-finished pan reduction. Also, described is one of the better ways to cook bacon.

(Serves 4)

2 cups milk
1 - 1-1/2 pounds fresh calf's or veal liver, sliced 3/8" - 1/2" thick
1/2 - 1 tsp vegetable oil
4 slices, thick sliced, American style, best quality bacon
2 cups onions, thin (or lyonnaise) sliced
2 tbs kosher salt
2 tsp freshly ground black or white pepper
2 tsp paprika
Flour, for dredging (about 3/4 cup)
2 tbs "everyday" balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup veal stock, or low sodium beef and chicken stock mixed 50/50.
2 tbs butter, divided

Rinse the liver in the sink, shake it dry and place it in a baking pan. Pour enough milk into the pan to completely cover the liver, and turn the liver in the milk. Cover the pan with cling wrap and reserve in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes, and up to 24 hours.

About 45 minutes before you plan to eat, remove the liver slices from the milk, and dry them with paper towels. Set the liver on a plate. Mix the salt, pepper and paprika together in a small bowl, and use the rub to season the liver. Let the salt be your guide as to when to stop. Reserve the remaining seasoning.

Put the flour on a plate, and dredge the liver slices in it until well covered. Set the floured slices on a rack for the flour to set during the bacon and onion cooking processes.

Cut the bacon slices in half, crosswise so that four long slices become eight short ones. Then fry them as follows: Take the pan you're going to use to fry the veal, and while it's still cold add a little oil, about 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp depending on the size of the pan. Turn the heat under the pan to medium and add the bacon slices. As soon as the slices start to go limp, turn them; and when the pan starts to sizzle, turn them again. The oil and frequent turning will maximize the amount of fat rendered by the bacon. The frequent turning also helps keep the bacon rashers flat. When the bacon rashers are cooked to your preferred degree of crispness, remove them from the pan and set them on a paper towel to drain.

Drain the pan of all but 2 tbs of fat, and reserve the rest. Return the pan to the medium flame and add the sliced onions to the pan. Allow the onions several minutes to begin browning before tossing or stirring with a spoon. Continue to cook several minutes more, until the onions are browned all over. Remove them from the pan, and reserve.

Add an additional 2 tbs of bacon fat to the pan, and raise the temperature to medium high. When the fat is hot, add as much of the liver as the pan will hold without crowding. Allow the liver to brown before turning or disturbing in any way. About 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the liver, and brown the other side, about 2 minutes. Remove the liver, set it on a towel to drain, and reserve. If you have any remaining uncooked liver, cook it as you did the first batch. You may have to add additional bacon fat. When it is browned, remove, drain and reserve.

Drain the pan of most of the bacon fat, by pouring it out. Don't wipe out the pan. Set the pan back on the heat, add the balsamic vinegar, and deglaze the pan by scraping up all the cooked flour, bacon, onion and liver bits that stuck to the bottom during the cooking process. When the pan is deglazed, add the stock and reduce by about one third to nappe consistency. Reduce the heat to low. Return the liver to the pan, just to warm it through.

Divide the onions between the plates, in small heaps. Lean one slice of liver against the mound and arrange the other slices as neatly as possible.

Add 1 tbs of butter to the pan, turn off the heat, and swirl the pan until the butter is incorporated into the reduction. As soon as it is, do the same with the remaining butter. Pour the sauce through a fine sieve, to give it shine and texture. Sauce the liver.

Serve with mashed potatoes if you must.

Hope this helps,
post #3 of 7

I'm printing out that recipe now :) stealing it, gonna use it. Thank you for posting all that info - I love liver (can only get lamb or oxen (cat's get that) here, never seen calf), and like the taste, but the bitterness is annoying. Guess the milk soaking takes that out - I tend to cook in a rush, so I add some sugar to counteract it.

Thanks again -DC
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

post #4 of 7
I always use calves liver - soak in milk and then dredge in seasoned flour and pan fry. I serve it with an onion and carrot gravy, made with beef stock, flavoured with a little red wine and serve it with creamed, mashed potatoes.
post #5 of 7
Ishbel -- Sounds lovely. I've always loved wine/beef stock reductions.

DC Sunshine -- It should make great lamb's liver. Pig liver too, if you can get it easily. I'd watch out for mutton that had too much age. Same problem as beef liver, too bitter. And yes, the milk really cuts the bitterness. The milk trick works for kidneys as well; I wouldn't broil a kidney without blanching in milk first.

Henry -- I went back and edited the recipe allowing for slices up to a 1/2" thick since you'd mentioned the liver was "thick." Or, maybe you just meant the sauce. I wouldn't take liver much beyond a 1/2" thick, partly as a result of the way I slice it. The trick is to cook the surface aggressively; and the interior slowly -- stopping at no mare than medium. If you do use a thicker piece of liver, you'll have to continue cooking it after browning. To do that, you put it in the sauce for a couple of minutes on each side, at a bare simmer. Probably medium-low or maybe a skosh closer to low on your stove.

If you want that restaurant gloss and velvety texture to your sauce -- don't forget to sieve the sauce before plating it. Sieving the sauce is one of those devil in the details things that elevates the simple to the sublime. For plain, home-cooking you might want to skip that.

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks BDL,

That sounds awesome. Can you describe two things to me (since you do it so eloquently): 2 cups onions, thin (or lyonnaise) sliced, what is lyonnaise?

and, reduce by about one third to nappe consistency, what is nappe consistency? a desired thickness.

I have to wait till my wife is out of the house for a few hours before I can cook this, but I defintely will!


post #7 of 7
Cut the stem and root from an onion, the cut the onion in half, from stem to root. Peel the halves. Put one half on your cutting board, and starting at one of the cut faces, cut the thinnest slices you can -- or use a mandoline. The slices should be less than 1/8" thick, ideally about 1/12" (2mm), and certainly no more than 3/16". If you can't do this with a knife, and very few home cooks can't -- so don't obsess, use a mandoline That's lyonnaising, not necessarily the best way to slice onions for the dish -- which is strictly "as you like it."

Nappe is a French (of course) term for a light sauce consistency. It's got a very unambiguous meaning, fortunately. Dip a metal spoon into the sauce, pull it out, hold it vertically, and use a finger to draw a horizontal band across the back of the bowl. If the band stays clean for more than a few seconds, the sauce is said to be "nappe." In other words, a nappe will coat the food, but run on the plate.

Glad to help,
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Recipes
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Recipes › Liver and Onions