If you like liver and onions, you’re going to love this. If you’ve been subjected to bad liver and onions, I might be able to change your mind about them.
Interesting note: during our first conversation my husband and I discovered that we both love Star Trek,
We were also both big fans of the 1971 cartoon The Funky Phantom, about a Revolutionary War Ghost who solved mysteries with a group of teens and their cat.
And it turns out we both love liver and onions. I preferred mine with a side of spinach, which Tim turned his nose up at, until I made fresh spinach. Now we’re on the same page. It has taken me a few years to learn how to properly cook liver. Many people turn it to the consistency of jerky or shoe leather and often it is not well-seasoned. We’re going to fix all that.
I’ve used calves liver here, veal liver is tenderer, but also more expensive. You may only be able to find liver frozen, so thaw it out and then season with salt and pepper. It’s a very important step. Give the seasoning awhile to flavor the raw meat, overnight is best.
I am willing to admit that raw liver is the most unattractive thing on the planet. Here it is after I’ve patted it dry and it still ain’t pretty. Do pat it dry, though. We want to get a nice sear on the liver.
If you have large pieces of liver, cut them in two. We want nice-sized pieces that fit easily into the pan and onto the plate. Try to fine thinly sliced liver, otherwise it will either be over-cooked on the outside and raw (blech) on the inside.
Mix flour, salt and pepper together in a dish.
Slice a medium sweet onion thinly and mince a clove of garlic.
In a large frying pan (I prefer a non-Teflon coated one for this purpose) add butter and olive oil and turn on medium heat.
Now carefully flour the liver. It’s delicate and you don’t want to tear the meat. Stay strong, the raw liver shots are all done now.
By the time you finish, your butter and oil should be shimmering.
Using tongs, carefully add the liver. You should hear a sizzle.
Add as many pieces of liver as you can manage without crowding the pan. If it’s too crowded, you won’t get a nice sear. The browning is important. Remember, this is beef you’re dealing with.
After a minute or two, your liver should be nicely brown. Flip it and give it a minute or two on the other side. When it’s done, remove it to a foil tented plate and cook the rest of the liver. After that’s cooked, allow the meat to rest. This is very important. The heat contracts the meat and rest gives the fibers time to loosen up and become tender again.
Now your pan has bits of browned meat and flour, the base of your delicious sauce. Add some butter and then your onions.
To those onions, add salt and a sprinkle of dried thyme.
Sautee until the onions become soft and then add the minced garlic.
Give the garlic about 30 seconds and then add red wine to deglaze the pan. If you don’t care for wine, you can skip straight to the veal or beef broth.
Give it a good stir, getting all the brown bits of flour and meat off the bottom of the pan. This is what will thicken your sauce.
Now it’s time to add the broth. I love Kitchen Basics veal broth, but you could also use beef broth.
Add about a cup or cup and half, based on how much liver you have. This sauce is going to reduce by more than half before you serve. Do not add salt now. It will cook down and become too salty. If you’ve chosen to skip the wine, add about half a teaspoon of sugar.
Eventually it will reduce down to a lovely glaze. Then it’s time to add some butter. This will enrich the sauce and make it glossy. This is also time to salt and pepper to taste. TASTE it!
Arrange the liver either on a warmed platter or individual plate and spoon the sauce on top.
I’ve served it here with my favorite, spinach with oven roasted tomatoes. This would also be delicious with mashed potatoes.