I know I’ve been harping on about food prices a lot lately. But it’s your best interests I have at heart. Which made me think, you know, I could buy a heart from the local New World, and show them how to cook that.

Then I thought, where do these stupid ideas come from?

So instead I settled for liver. “EEESH” I hear you say, “Who’d eat that crap?!” Well, if you’re worried about food prices then you should. Not only is liver one of the cheapest meats outside of eating insects, it’s also highly nutritious. On my recent trip to Auckland I had liver cooked in cream, and that is pretty damn good and rich.

Another good reason to eat offal is that if you’re Green enough to care, but not Green enough to give up meat, then you should consciously eat more and different portions. The great crime of C21st factory farming is that it allowed consumers to start eating their favourite portions only. Not only is this an inefficient use of a living animal, but its limiting the great opportunities you have to sample a variety of terrific flavours. And a good liver, cooked till it’s fluffy is truly great.

So, what will you need? Here I have a bank-breaking 260g of liver coming in at $2.14.

There’s also 400g of bacon costing $4.16. I’ll only use 100g of that, so it’s costing me $1.04.

Then I’ll use a couple of onions, and a dash of sherry. All up that’s less than $5 to put meat on the table for two.

Otherwise, the meal will include sauerkraut, polenta, and some broccoli.

That’s right, this dish will be everything you every hated eating as a kid.

Heh.

For starters slice your onions very thinly.

Then slice up your bacon. I chose this pack because the bacon isn’t in rashers, and is therefore cheaper. The question you want to ask yourself is, “what am I going to do with this bacon?” If it’s an ingredient, and not served as strips, then why pay more for fancy rashers?

Slice the bacon thinly, and switch your heavy-bottomed pan onto a medium heat. Not too hot though. You don’t want your food to be jumping, just gently sizzling.

Add the onions to a pan at a medium heat. The thing here is to cook the onions slowly, and don’t burn them. Stir until they begin to sizzle, but they should cook warmly enough to caramelise, not to burn.

Once the onions are starting to sizzle, add the bacon and continue to stir. What I didn’t get a photo of was the onions and bacon covered with a lid. Put a lid on the pan, and let it steam the onions tender.

While the onions and bacon are cooking you’ll want to prepare the liver. This is relatively simple. Most liver is already cleaned, but sometimes it still has some mucky bits on it. I’m using lambs fry, so it has these large bits where the veins used to be, and they can be a little tough (chicken doesn’t really have this problem, but it does have sinews collecting at one point, just trim those out). Get a sharp knife under them and trim them out. Also get rid of any where there is “blood-like” stuff.

Once you’ve cleaned the meat, slice very thinly. If I was using chicken livers, which are lighter, I’d slice them more thickly because it is a much more tender flesh.

By now your onions and bacon are ready to be brought out of the pan, so scoop them out with a slotted spoon, and set them aside.

Next, crank the heat up higher, and add the livers to the pan. They should really sizzle.

The thing here is not to over-cook them. They should just be browned on each side, and just cooked all the way through (I actually stopped paying attention for a sec, and over-cooked these…)

The thing to note in the above photograph is the dried-out pan and ‘stuff’ stuck to it. This is important.

Dig all the livers out of the pan and into the same bowl as the onions and bacon. Set this aside for a minute. Then, add a little hot water to the pan to cool it (it’ll mostly steam off), and turn down the heat in preparation for making the sherry sauce.

The pan will really sizzle until it cools. Don’t add too much water, only put in enough to cool the pan, and allow you to start deglazing it. Deglazing involves digging all that dried goodness of the bottom of the pan, and mixing it into a delicious gravy. Once you’ve added the water and it’s partially boiled off, add a couple of healthy tablespoons of the sherry (or Madeira wine). Stir the pan like crazy to deglaze, and really lift that stuff up.

Next chuck in maybe 40g of butter.

Once the butter has started melting you can add something like a demiglase stock cube, assuming you have any in the freezer. Which I just happen to. Add it to the pan, and then whisk the entire sauce until it reduces and thickens.

Now, ideally that’s how the sauce is supposed to go. I on the other hand had the temperature waaay too high, the butter split, and the sauce turned into poo.

The lesson I learned was to just gently simmer the sauce until it thickens and becomes extremely delicious. Do not on the other hand cook the crap out of it because you’re busy paying attention to the polenta and the sauerkraut and being way too distracted…

I managed to salvage the sauce by fishing out the burnt bits, and returning the bacon, onions and liver to the pan to warm again slightly.

Then, plate up the remainder of the dinner, and enjoy! There you go. A meal to frighten children.

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