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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Time to Tell You What It Is

When I was a child – which was a long time ago, but not THAT long ago – my grandma used to make chicken soup and there were chicken feet, and a throat, in the soup. And I remember my mom, who didn’t cook very often, cooking a cow’s tongue from time to time. Yeah, that’s right! And it was delicious.

In my last post – With Respect to the Animals – I mentioned that unintentionally I got to this web site chooseveg.com, and watched a video depicting the awful life and death of animals – cows, pigs, and chickens, raised on “farms” (click here if you are brave enough to watch it). If you were wondering, no, I am not becoming vegetarian, but for now I’m taking some time off from meat. So in the past days we had Linguine with Shrimp Scampi (recipe here) and a few vegetarian meals (except for that BBQ we went to on Saturday), and I will soon post the recipe for the lovely onion quiche I made last night.

But I did decide that we will eat those animals in smaller portions and less frequently. And when I buy meat, chicken, or poultry, as well as seafood, I will choose free-range, organic, local, and sustainable food. It doesn’t necessarily cost more. Here’s an example. I went to Whole Foods and bought a pound of organic chicken liver. It costs $2.99 per pound, and $2.49 for free-range! Enough to feed 2-4 people. You do the math.

I had a great recipe, really special, which everyone loved – baby, kindergartner, husband, and yours truly. And the house smelled like cake! The one below is based on a recipe I got about 15 years ago. It’s by an Israeli cookbook author, Elinoar Rabin, and my brain remembered it because of the unusual flavor and pretty unique use of fruit with chicken liver (unlike foie gras).

Chicken Liver with Cinnamon and Apples
For 3-4 servings

¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 lb. chicken liver, washed and patted dry
A few tablespoons butter
2 medium apples, cored and cut to ½-inch slices
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, optional

Mix flour and cinnamon in a bowl. Sprinkle liver with salt and pepper, and then dredge in flour-cinnamon mixture.
In a medium size skillet melt butter over medium heat. Sauté the chicken liver until nicely browned on each side (I didn’t measure the time, about 4-5 minutes on each side). Remove from skillet and place in a covered dish to keep warm.
Add some butter to skillet and sauté apples until golden. Turn to other side, sprinkle with sugar and cook another 2 minutes.
Serve liver with apples and a drizzle of balsamic.

Another use I made for this recipe is to serve it, without the apples, with fresh (but store-bought) pumpkin ravioli. Make a sauce with shallots sautéed in butter, some canned pumpkin, heavy cream, cranberries, and roasted chestnuts. Delicious.

If you want to see something really special regarding eating the whole animal, I stumbled upon this post showing how to cook pork head, click here. It’s fascinating. And, hey, people in the world are eating like that.


doggybloggy said...

these look really good...I love chicken livers in all formats..

I can come up with a chevre cheesecake very quickly for you - e mail me....

Vered - MomGrind said...

Chicken liver. OF COURSE.


I buy organic. We eat meat once or twice a week.

Holly said...

Hi! You don't know me from soap, but that sounds super delicious, so I have to comment! I usually make chicken liver with egg, but this sounds even better. I remember having something similar in a tiny bistro near Chicago once, and it was out of this world.

We're really picky about our meat, too. First of all, for health reasons: as I say in my podcast at Sustainable Suppers this week, if they're ingesting hormones, antibiotics chemicals, etc., so are we. Secondly, because of the reasons you mentioned: factory farmed animals are given horrible lives. Why would we want to honor such an abusive system? As for the chicken liver and the head cheese (and the sweet breads I had for dinner the other night), you're absolutely right: people do eat this way, and what's more, they've been doing so for thousands of years. Very nutritious.
A good source for pastured meats is Jo Robinson's site: http://www.eatwild.com

Nurit "1 family. friendly. food." said...

I hope you will stop by again as I visited your web site/blog and couldn't find a way to comment on your posts or find an e-mail address. I love the concept of your blog. It's important to bring these things to people's attention.

Maggie said...

This looks like a great recipe!

We're big fans of chicken livers. Mostly we eat them Lebanese style (copied from the restaurants around Detroit). It's simply livers sauteed in olive oil with onions and finished with lemon juice and parsley. I also like them finely chopped up in pasta sauce.

Sophie said...

MMMMM....You a very creative!! this dish looks wonderful!!