Chicken livers are not, perhaps, the first thing your eyes are drawn to in the butcher’s case. Most people don’t salivate over a slippery mound of raw livers like they do over a thick steak. However, chicken livers are a primal food that you should be eating more of. They’re high in folate, zinc, vitamin A and copper. They’re also really affordable. This recipe, combining chicken livers with lots of fresh herbs and exotic mushrooms, turns a typically homely plate of livers into a rather stunning appetizer or main course.
What you get from this recipe is lot of umami flavor. When you’re buying dried mushrooms, look for a mix of different types like porcini, chanterelle, oyster, lion’s mane, or anything else you can find. Even throw in some morels if you want to splurge. You’ll notice the mild, creamy chicken livers in the dish, but really, mushrooms are the star of the show here.
Time in the Kitchen: 20 minutes to soak mushrooms, plus 30 minutes cooking time
1 pound chicken livers (450 g)
3 ounces dried mushrooms (85 g)
2 tablespoons butter, divided (30 g)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (15 ml)
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (15 ml)
¼ cup finely chopped parsley (60 ml)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme (30 ml)
Optional: ½ cup crème fraiche
Soak mushrooms in room temp water for 20 to 30 minutes to soften the mushrooms. Drain in a colander, reserving the soaking liquid in a large bowl.
Run clean water over the mushrooms to remove any lingering grit that might be clinging. Squeeze the mushrooms lightly to remove as much water as possible, then roughly chop. Set aside.
Trim (kitchen shears work well) the chicken livers, discarding any veins or stringy bits, then cut livers into 1-inch/25 mm pieces.
Season livers with salt and pepper (about ¼ tsp of each).
Heat 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil in a wide skillet over medium high heat.
Cook the livers, turning them until browned on both sides but still slightly pink on inside, about 4 to 5 minutes total. Remove from pan.
Add the vinegar to the pan to deglaze, using a spatula to loosen any bits of liver. Add the last tablespoon of butter to the pan. After it melts, add shallot and mushrooms. Generously season the mushrooms with salt and pepper as they cook.
After cooking the mushrooms for a few minutes, add ½ cup of the mushroom soaking liquid to the pan. Scoop the liquid from the top of the bowl, as any dirt from the mushrooms will have settled on the bottom of the bowl.
Cook the mushrooms a few minutes more; if they still seem too chewy, add another ½ cup of the mushroom soaking liquid and cook a few more minutes.
Add the chicken livers back to the pan, toss with the mushrooms to reheat.