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I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Liver & Onions Revisited

It's that time of the year when I'm doing some type of preserving daily with a large emphasis on canning. That means I want simple to prepare meals that take advantage of the extra produce I have on hand. It's always nice when the meal happens to be both frugal and comfort food. Such is the case with liver and onions. In an earlier blog entry, Three Simple Budget Stretching Dishes, I gave the method my husband uses for cooking liver and onions.

Many people turn up their noses at eating liver quite often because of unpleasant childhood memories. Liver should never be dry or tough. It should be melt in your mouth, full of flavour and nicely textured. If you refuse to eat liver because of previous experiences, consider cooking it using our method. It might just change your mind. Liver is generally quite inexpensive making it a very frugal meat choice. It is rich and filling so less goes further. Leftovers heat nicely in the microwave but I don't know if they would freeze. It's high in protein and iron but also high in cholesterol so those watching their dietary intake of cholesterol should limit their intake.

The original instructions I posted follows this discussion.

The total price for 3 packages of fresh liver was $6.58 giving enough for dinner for three adults, lunch for one adult, and dinner for two adults. Paired with new crop Spanish onions (50 lb - $8.99) and new crop potatoes (50 lb $7.99) it makes for a nice frugal meal. Choose firm, fresh liver (1) preferably calf liver with the intent of cooking it the day you buy it. The liver should have good colouration with glistening appearance. Do not buy if there is excess blood leaking around the liver. Open the package to allow the liver to breath about 5 minutes before coating.

The coating should be kept simple with a little seasoning to accent the liver but not so as to overpower it. We used about 2 cups of unbleached flour (2) with a couple of dashes of garlic pepper and garlic salt but you can add whatever seasonings you like as long as they don't overpower the liver. Old Bay seasoning works nicely too as does simple salt and pepper. The best way to coat the liver is to dredge using your hands. Once coated the liver is placed into a medium sauteƩ pan to brown only (3). You will need two fry pans, one for the liver and one for the onions. SauteƩ sliced onions until translucent in butter then add the browned liver (3). Butter is the best for flavour but it can be cut in half with extra virgin olive oil to reduce the saturated and trans fats or you can use half ghee and half extra virgin olive oil for the flavour. Continue cooking the liver and onions on medium heat stirring often until the onions are caramelized (4). Remove from heat and let rest about 5 minutes.

Method: You will need a sautee pan and fry pan for this method. Timing is important so be sure to use mis en place. Cut two large spanish onions in half then into slices against the layers. Melt about 2 tbsp butter in the sautee pan then add onions. Stir occasionally and if need be add a little extra butter. While the onions are sauteeing, dredge the liver in flour seasoned with a little salt and pepper or garlic salt if you prefer. Lightly brown on both sides in heated fry pan on medium heat. Remove from heat. When the onions begin carmelizing, transfer the liver to the sautee pan. Continue cooking until the onions are carmelized, stirring often.

Presentation

Liver and onions are comfort food so choose comforting sides like potatoes and/or carrots cooked simply without added fats. I served the liver with steamed new potatoes with a just little butter and sea salt. A side garden salad with lemon juice instead of dressing rounded out the meal. Lemon juice brings out the flavour of a salad without adding fat or calories. It was an ideal side for this dinner. We had plain yogurt with a bit of fresh fruit for desert.

So all in all, liver is a very frugal, comforting and healthy meal. Do give it a try.


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