I like liver, but lots of people don’t like offal and organ meats. They are ugly, gross things that only cavemen (or Europeans) would eat. They have funky textures, flavors, and scents. The way many people eat now, it is totally understandable how such things are foreign, strange, or just plain gross. At the super market, most of the meat is very clean, it looks white, sanitized, and tastes similarly.
With it’s sweetness, liver pairs well with sweet things, really well. Reach for fresh fruit and fruit sauces, sweet wine like madiera, port, sauternes, vin santo, etc. A little honey or sugar in a dish with liver will be well rewarded. Because liver goes well with fruit, every year I make a point of serving it simply floured and crisped, with a sauce of chanterelles and sweet wine to accompany it.
In this particular recipe, I have used veal liver, chanterelles in a sweet wine cream sauce, and garlic mustard cooked with apricots, caramelized onions, and a splash of apple cider vinegar. Garlic mustard is a wild invasive green that we will occasionally receive from the Minnesota DNR in large garbage bags, we also receive trapped crayfish from them in the summer. Garlic mustard is quite bitter, but it is in season, and the bitterness is tempered by serving it with not one, but three sweet components, the sweet chanterelle sauce, the apricots, and the sweet caramelized onions.
Veal Liver with Chanterelle Cream Sauce, and Garlic Mustard
- 8 ounces veal liver cut into four equal slices (you can definitely sub beef liver here)
- AP flour for dredging
- 4 decent handfuls garlic mustard blanched in lightly salted boiling water and cooled in ice water to retain it's green color, to yield about 1/4 cup per person
- 1/4 cup cooked caramelized white onions (1 cup thinly sliced white onion after cooked should give you this)
- 8 dried apricots diced
- 1 teaspoon sliced fresh chives
- oil for sauteing like grapeseed canola, or animal fat
- Heat a saute pan until lightly smoking then add the onions and stir occasionally on medium-high heat until the bottom of the pan is lightly browned. Deglaze the pan with a tbsp of water and stir to help color the onions, repeat this process until the onions are cooked and deep brown in color, about 10 minutes.
- Heat the caramelized onions, apricots, and blanched greens together in a pan, adding a table spoon or two of water to make sure the greens don't dry out too much and burn. Season the greens mixture with salt and pepper to taste, and reserve.
- Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a large saute pan. Season the liver slices lightly on both sides with salt and pepper, then dredge lightly in flour, tapping off any excess, and adding to the hot pan. Cook the liver slices until golden brown on one side, then turn them over and cook gently for a second to "kiss" the other side of the liver. Cook the liver to medium doneness, remove from the pan and allow to rest on a paper towel while you reheat the greens.
- Just before plating, stir the chives into the chanterelle sauce.
- To plate, put some greens in a pile on each plate, topping with a slice of liver, spoon the sweet chanterelle sauce around and serve immediately
Chanterelle-Sweet Wine Sauce
Makes 1/2 cup, enough for4 plates
- 1/4 cup sweet white wine
- .8 oz fresh chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and sliced if very large
- 1/4 cup light chicken broth or stock
- tsp apple cider vinegar, or more to taste
- 1 cup sweet cream
- Saute the chanterelles in some oil on high/medium heat, adding a little more oil if they soak it all up. When the chanterelles are nice and golden brown/caramelized lightly, (about 3-4 minutes)
- Add the sweet wine and reduce until the pan is almost dry, then add the stock and reduce that by 3/4. Add the cream and reduce on medium heat until the sauce can coat the back of a spoon and has thickened a bit. Taste the sauce for salt, also make sure you can taste the acid of the wine and that it is pleasantly sweet, if it isn’t you can adjust the sauce with a bit of sugar or honey if you like. Reserve until needed, whisking occasionally and adding a tiny bit of warm water if the sauce gets too thick to dress a plate.