Liver certainly has its fair share of detractors, but it’s worth getting better acquainted with this flavoursome, healthy and economical offal.
11 Jul 2012 - 3:47 PM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

Chicken, goose, lamb, calf and ox livers are available from many butchers, and are put to use in recipes around the world including Scottish haggis, Greek sikortaki (a mezze dish of lamb liver, spring onions and dill) and the Lebanese mi’laaq mashwi bi toum (grilled liver with garlic paste and dried mint).

Perhaps one of the most popular ways to enjoy liver is as a parfait or spread – there’s chicken liver pâté; Vietnamese bánh mi (bread roll) pâté; leverpostej (a Northern European pâté of pork liver and lard); and France’s foie gras (fattened duck or goose liver).

A few simple tricks can make liver more palatable for beginners. The strong flavour can be tamed by soaking it in milk for an hour or more; while tougher livers such as ox and lamb can be tenderised by soaking in acidulated water. To do this, place sliced liver in a bowl, cover in water and add a little lemon juice. When it comes to cooking, it’s best to be cautious, as the meat becomes tough and dry if overcooked. It tastes best when it’s a little undercooked – a hint of pink is ideal.

Distinct and strong flavours work well with liver, which is why it’s often served with bacon, chillies, zesty fruit, such as pomegranate, and pungent spice mixes like the Moroccan ras el hanout that we used for our crisp liver salad.

Chicken liver parfait with brandy and green peppercorn jelly
Spiced crisp chicken livers and pomegranate salad

Photography by Janyon.