Chicken Livers in Mustard Cream Sauce
April 2, 2016
Chicken livers are not everyone's cup of tea. Presenting them in this creamy, tangy sauce might entice picky eaters into the chicken liver camp.
First of all, buy only organic chicken livers, since the liver is the ultimate repository for whatever nasty things the chickens might have been fed (I'm thinking hormones, antibiotics, etc.). You might have to search a little harder to find organic livers, but it is important to do so.
Chicken livers are quick to cook. Here's what you'll want to have ready before you start, in addition to your pound of chicken livers: 2 tbsp. butter, 2 tbsp. olive oil, salt and pepper, white wine, mustard*, and heavy cream (whipping cream)**.
So there you are with your pound of organic chicken livers. If they are frozen, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator. They are actually easier to work with if they are still slightly frozen--less slippery and wobbly. Separate the two lobes of each liver and remove the little bit of fat that lies between the lobes. You can cut each lobe in half for faster cooking if you wish.***
In a skillet large enough to hold the livers in a single layer, melt 2 tbsp. of butter with 2 tbsp. of olive oil over medium-high heat. When the bubbles from the melted butter have just subsided, add all the prepared chicken livers and spread them over the skillet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. After a few minutes, scrape and turn the livers to expose another side to the heat. Do this several times, allowing enough time to caramelize each side. Do not overcook the livers. They should have a pink interior.
Remove the livers from the skillet and set them aside on a plate. Off heat, add a healthy glug of white wine (say, half a cup or more) to the drippings. Put the skillet back on the heat and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the crispy bits from the bottom of the skillet. Cook over medium-high heat for a few minutes to reduce the wine.
Stir a quarter of a cup, more or less, of your chosen mustard into the reduced wine, then pour in about 3/4 cup of heavy cream. With the heat at medium, stir occasionally for about five minutes, until the sauce reduces and thickens a little. Now add all the chicken livers and simmer for a minute or two .
You can serve this mixture over pasta or rice or mixed cooked grains. Or you can eat it without an accompanying starch, in which case you might want to serve it in a small bowl to keep the sauce from running all over the place. And you might as well provide a small spoon because you'll want to be spooning up the last of that delicious sauce.
Serves 3 or 4 people, depending on what else is being served.
*My favourite mustard for this dish is Moutarde de Meaux, the grainy mustard from France. Dijon is also a good choice. Use any mustard you like, really, but perhaps not
the bright yellow ballpark mustard.
**You can use a cream with lower butterfat content if you wish.
*** I made this dish without flour. Another approach would be to dredge the livers in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. This approach requires more fat for the initial browning (say, 3 tbsp. each of butter and oil). And the residual flour thickens the cream sauce. Just so you know.