Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Chicken Liver Challenge of Thanksgiving 2009

When invited to Thanksgiving dinner at another person's home, most will offer a contribution to the meal. A bottle of wine, perhaps. Or extra cranberry sauce or maybe even pie. Me? I volunteer to bring chicken liver crostinis. Yep.

What was I thinking? I'm not exactly sure. All I can tell you is that I've eaten these toasted bread rounds spread with chicken liver pate in Tuscany and well, you know how I feel about that place! But I've never even thought about making them, so when I discussed the conundrum with my Jewish boyfriend, he suggested we turn to the recipes of Joan Nathan or his own grandmother for help. But the days are ticking by, my friends, and as I type this early Tuesday morning, I'm still without a solid plan, yet my family is talking about this the way they talk about my mother's chocolate chip cookies. In other words, they're excited.

So, I'm turning to you. I am positive that some of you have experience with turning chicken livers into mouth-watering, spreadable goodness. Please! Send me your recipes, tips, and suggestions, and I will love you forever and possibly buy you a Christmas present.


Realtor from Toronto said...

Hi. I don't have exact recipe but my mother used to make duck or chicken livers. It was pretty simple she put fresh livers to the oil, fried them for a while until they were dark brown. When they were ready she mashed them and put some salt. Then we ate them with toasted bread and pickles. However, I can't eat them anymore because my stomach protests when eating too oily food. But I remember that it was delicious food.

Good luck,

Catherine said...

Thanks, Julie! I love the simplicity of your mother's recipe and I think the pickle addition is brilliant. I'm now making a mental note to buy some cornichons before next Thursday...

Ellen said...

Hi Catherine!

While this sounds like a brilliant way to whet the appetite for Thanksgiving, my own extended family -- not food adventurers -- would cringe. So, I'll live vicariously through you. You might check the unflappable Julia Child, but my Antipasti cookbook (by Joyce Goldstein) has this recipe for Crostini di fegatini di pollo all perugina:

2 cloves garlic
4 fresh sage leaves
generous pinch fennel seeds
4 tbs olive oil
3/4 lb chicken livers, trimmed
1-2 tbs capers, rinsed
1/2 c dry red wine
salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
1 black truffle, thinly sliced
12 slices coarse country bread, halved and toasted
chopped Italian parsley for garnish

Finely chop together garlic, sage, and fennel. In a small saute pan, heat 2 tbs olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic mixture and saute for 1 minute. Add livers and capers and saute for another minute to coat with oil and seasonings. Pour in the wine, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Livers should be cooked but still pink in center. Using a slotted spoon, transfer livers to a food processor and pulse briefly to make a coarse puree. Do not overprocess. Transfer to a bowl and stir in pan juices. Season w/salt and pepper. You should have about 1 1/4 cups puree. In a small saute pan, heat remaining 2 tbs olive oil over low heat. Add truffle slices and sautee briefly just to warm through. Place a slice or two of truffle on each piece of toast, then spread chicken liver puree on top and garnish with parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

That's it -- sounds luscious, although truffles are a bit decadent for these trying times, or maybe just what the doctor ordered! Oh, and Joyce recommends a sparkling aperitivo wine with this.


Ellen (from Foodie Book Club)

David said...

Tell us about you trip to NY and all of the interesting meals you had along with all of the interesting people you met. Did I hear you say you met a man nicknamed after a veggie?

Catherine said...

Ellen, that recipe sounds awesome. Thank you! I'm sorry to hear your group wouldn't go for it, though--you can definitely make them for me anytime. Happy Thanksgiving...


Whit said...

How did the crostinis turn out?

Catherine said...

It turned out pretty well, Whit. We ended up going with a very basic recipe--livers, onion, Madeira, and sage. We got it from Epicurious because we waited until the last minute (of course) and needed something simple. Putting the mixture through the food processor and adding fresh parsley and olive oil at the end made it rich and, according to most of my family, pretty darn tasty.