I'm not exactly sure where I acquired my taste for liver. Maybe in a past life I was a successful bison hunter and got to sink my teeth into the fresh, still hot liver as my prize for making the killing shot. Maybe my body is severely lacking in B-12 thusly causing my cravings. Or maybe I'm just itching to get a bout of gout. Regardless of the real reasons, I really do love livers.
As Ohio Farmgirl knows well, one of the benefits of raising your own Creepy Meats is the feast you have before you feast on a roast or fried chicken. After a hard day of butchering chickens, you are left with a bowl (or six) of fresh chicken livers. Batter & fry those puppies up and you've got yourself a well-deserved reward after all that back-breaking work of chicken plucking & eviscerating. Or, if you're feeling fancy, you can make a pate out of those livers. But, but....Pate is made from GOOSE liver, you say? Well, sure it is. But that's not going to stop me from making it from the livers I have sitting in a bowl of ice water on my counter top.
We've recently begun butchering our own hogs here on the homestead. And like any animal (well, except for a sea cucumber or something), you're going to get yourself liver along with all that other meat. Do you know how big the liver is of a 320 pound hog? Me neither. But it's a shitton bigger than a chicken liver I tell ya. The first hog liver we cut up for Charlie. And it pained me to see the Giant Sloppy Dog (GSD) get to eat it and not me. So the second one I sliced up, battered and fried and served for supper. Unfortunately it seems that I am the only liver-lover here. Rhiannon will eat it with the bribe of ice cream for dessert. Paul will choke it down and then remind me how he does not like liver.
The last pork liver was sliced up and shoved in the back of the freezer earlier this year and was recently brought out on accident by my husband thinking it was some sort of roast. We need to be more diligent when labeling frozen packages. Anyways, he called me at work and asked me if he could give it to the GSD. I squealed "No!", and even though he said he wouldn't, I dreaded coming home to see the dog's food dish heaped up with the liver. So I made a compromise; the GSD could get half of the liver and I would get the other half.
When thinking about how I was going to prepare the liver for myself (as it was already made known to me that Paul was NOT going to be eating liver with me) I though that I could try to make liver sausage. I love that stuff. Well, I love it enough to buy it once in a while and have a sandwich, but not really knowing how or what went into that little plastic wrapped tube of "liver sausage" it doesn't make it to our refrigerator more than every few years. So I started looking up liver sausage recipes online. Almost every single one of them required the majority of the ingredients to be pork meat, not so much liver. And I'm sure it would be yummy, but I was hoping to get something akin to the wonderful chicken liver pate I made before. So I did what I normally do. I winged it.
Basically I took my Hillbilly Pat-Hay recipe and substituted the pork liver for the chicken livers. And used six times as much of everything. I told you a hog liver is a shitton bigger than a chicken liver...and I didn't even use half of the liver from the hog.
So. How did I do it? Well, here's the recipe I used:
3 lbs. pork liver, sliced & soaked (and soaked & drained & soaked & drained & soaked....)
1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaping tsp. rubbed sage
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. marjoram
2 bay leaves (mine were old so that's why I used two)
4+ cups water
2 sticks butter at room temperature
Bring all (except butter) to a boil for 10 minutes, skimming the foamy stuff off. Drain and pick out bay leaves. Put small amounts into your food processor or blender and small chunks of butter & blend away until smooth. Keep putting the liver/onions/garlic and butter into the processor until it's all smooth.
I don't have a food processor so I used the blender. I'd have to say that having a food processor would have made it easier and probably made the paste a lot smoother, but I got what I got and that's what I used.
If you're a proper cook, you'd put the paste into a ramekin, but I don't have one. So I put it into glass dishes (because, again, I don't have ramekins. I got old, rectangular glass dishes with lids. Deal with it.) and shoved it in the refrigerator. And then I had to wait because you're supposed to let it cool in for like six hours. So I watied it out. For like four hours. Ok, ok. I waited two hours. It was still torture.
I opened the smaller dish and slathered the livergoodness over a cracker. And it was good. Was it $80 a pound foie gras good? Well, seeing as I've never had "real" pate, I couldn't tell you.
What I can tell you is that it wasn't nearly as smooth as the chicken liver pate, but in all honesty, I wasn't aiming for that, but a Braunschweiger'ish / Liver sauage'ish recipe. So in that regards, I think it went well. I was thinking about actually following the recipes for liver sausage, the ones that call for actual chunks of meat, but since Paul doesn't like liver sausage anyhow it would be a waste of pork chops; I think this is the best way to use the livers from now on. We don't get much lunch meat here unless we slice it up ourselves, so it will be a nice addition to the Homemade Sandwich Fixin's.
Even Rhiannon had some on a cracker and ate it without making faces...and then asked for another "cat food cracker". Which is a truthfully accurate description. I'm certain she tells her friends that her family eats Catfood Casserole and smears cat food on crackers for snacks. The file the DCFS has on us must be pretty thick at this point.
|So. Is this liver sausage?|
|And this braunschweiger?|
|Goose liver pate? Chicken liver pate? Raccoon liver pate???|
|Cat food? Makes you wonder now, doesn't it???|