Good Gravy Recipes - Liver & Onions: Beef, Pork, and Wild Boar

A Venezuelan version of Liver and Onions.
A Venezuelan version of Liver and Onions. | Source

Do You Like Liver?

As a child, I could never eat liver, because it smelled very bad in the cooking. Afterward, it offered the consistency and texture of shoe leather with the taste of dirt. It reminded me of the feeling in my throat that I experienced when my tonsils were infected. I literally gagged and choked on my first bite, so my parents did not force me to eat it.

In college, I met a friend at church that made liver and onions with a bottle of diet black cherry cola. Right before making gravy, she poured in the cola over moderate heat and let it reduce somewhat to flavor the meat. Then she made the gravy and it was all tasty.

Organ meats may not be the healthiest things to eat, but once or twice a year or so, I make liver and onions. I use beef liver, even though many pigs are raised in more sanitary conditions in some areas of the US than previously, but I prefer beef liver, when I do prepare it.

Provided by CraigPJ on sxc.hu
Provided by CraigPJ on sxc.hu

Liver and Onions and Gravy

Serves 2-3

A variation that uses the diet black cherry cola is provided at the end of this recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium-sized sweet onion (like Spanish or Vidalia), sliced and [ulled apart into rings
  • 2 Tablespoons of butter
  • 1 LB sliced beef liver
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • Salt and pepper, a pinch each, or to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  • In a heavy skillet, sweat onion rings in butter over low heat until almost soft, but do not brown.
  • Take onion out of skillet and save for later. 
  • Place the liver slices into the skillet and add a pinch each of salt and pepper.
  • Cook liver over medium heat 3 minutes on first side. Turn over and then add the onions to the skillet.
  • Cook skillet contents about 3 minutes until the liver is slightly pink in the middle.
  • Remove the liver and onions from the skillet.
  • Stir water, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce into pan drippings, heat thoroughly and pour over liver and onions.

VARIATION

After cooking liver only 2 minutes on the first side, turn it over and cook for 1 minute. Then add a 12-oz bottle of Faygo diet black cherry cola and cook down the reduction to desired consistency. Remove liver and add the lemon juice and Worchestershire to the skillet. Heat through and reduce mixture again to desired consistency and pour over liver and onions.

Liver & Onions with Sour Cream Gravy, from Russia

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2.5 Lb liver (any kind), sliced
  • 2 medium-sized sweet onions, chopped
  • 1 Cup sour cream - litor fat-free, if you wish
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Cups beef stock
  • 2 Tablespoons dill, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Wash and pat dry the liver before slicing.
  • Sprinkle slices with salt and pepper.
  • Dredge liver slices in flour and fry in a skillet on each side in butter for 102 minutes and remove from the pan.
  • Sauté onions to a golden brown and layer liver and onions in alternating layers in a pot.
  • Deglaze skillet with beef stock, stir, add sour cream, and stir once more for a gravy.
  • Pour gravy mix over liver and onions in the pot. Cover and cook slowly over low heat 20 minutes.
  • Uncover, stir, cover again and cook 10 minutes.
  • Remove liver from pot, place on plates and pour gravy over.
  • Sprinkle dill over each plate. 
  • Serve with potatoes or rice and a salad.

Chef Paul's Chopped Beef & Chicken Liver

Wild Boar as a Delicacy

Wild Boar Liver

The liver recipes I have looked at on the Internet seem largely to include beef liver, but some countries prefer pork liver. Many folks seem to like Wild Boar Liver, some stating that it is sweeter naturally than the usual pork liver. However, there might be problems with eating wild boar livers and kidneys in certain countries.

Some health problems associated with wild boar liver are discussed in the journal article Mercury contents in liver and kidneys of wild boar (Sus scrofa) and red deer (Cervus elaphus) by researchers Anna Dobrowolska & M. Melosik of the Department of Animal Anatomy of the Agricultural University in Szczecin, Poland. This particular study looked at livers and kidneys taken from hunted wild boar and red deer in Poland in 2000 and 2001. Boar livers and kidneys contained higher concentrations of mercury, and most of them dangerously high, than did red deer. In fact, mercury levels in the deer were actually low.

Another article suggests problems with wild boar liver in Japan: Consumption of wild boar linked to cases of hepatitis E [HEV virus].Journal of Hepatology , Volume 40 , Issue 5, by Y. Tamada. Other studies agree with this finding in Japan and include pigs, deer, and wild boars.

In America, wild boar meat seems to be safer and is available in certain markets, through hunting, and on the internet. Internet recipes indicate that the boar's liver can be cooked in the same manner as the beef liver, or it can be cooked in wine or even in milk.

Vegan Chopped Liver Alternative

Is Liver Safe to Eat?

Controversy exists surrounding the consumption of any type of organ meats, and particylarly livers.

In an article from the Mayo Clinic entitled Heart-healthy diet: 7 steps to prevent heart disease, it is suggested that organ meats are to be avoided altogether, because of fats and cholesterol.

The website The World's Healthiest Foods suggests taking a safer course by using Calf's Liver. Their rationale is that the Calf's Liver has not had the time to accumulate such amounts of toxins that adult animals (pigs, cows, boars) may contain. I am not sure that this is a convincing argument, but each cook must decide this for himself. The link provides positive nutritional information concerning Calf's Liver as well.

Fun with Liver & Onions ala Google Docs

More by this Author


Comments 15 comments

Tom T profile image

Tom T 7 years ago from Orange County, CA

Interesting page. From a personal standpoint, I have too many scars from being forced to eat liver as a child.. so I'm still going to pass, but well done!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

I can understand that, Tom. I'm only glad to have not had to endure the smells of cabbage and liver cooking at the same time. Don't know what they did, but I think parents cooked the cabbage core - it was horrid.


B.T. Evilpants profile image

B.T. Evilpants 7 years ago from Hell, MI

Hi Patty! As a child, I was forced to eat liver and onions, once. I have yet to get the taste out of my mouth. I have eaten some pretty foul things since then, but I still can't look at a piece of liver without gagging a little bit.

I see you are also still toying with the jackalope pie. As I have said in the past, jackalopes taste just like chicken; so why not just go get some dang chicken? Otherwise, I may have to publish my world famous Patty-melt recipe, if you catch my drift...


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

That sounds like a fun challenge for 2009, BT! We will distract the populace with that recipe showdown, while you pull strings in the shadow government.


goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

i'm a hundred percent carnivore, but my taste buds have never agreed to that liver, even with those sauteed onions dripping all over it, however, your recipe has somehow made my mouth start to water up


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Well, goldentoad, one of these recipes may be OK for you. Cooking liver in bacon also provides a much better taste. But I still don't eat organ meats very often. I see tv shows of folks going all over the place eating all kinds of organ meats and it makes me kinda queasy to think what some of those organs have filtered.


B.T. Evilpants profile image

B.T. Evilpants 7 years ago from Hell, MI

Cooking liver with bacon sounds ok, Patty. As long as you remove the liver before serving! On a more healthy note, I just saw a restaurant on tv, that was serving bacon that had been battered and deep fried! If it came with scrambled, deep fried eggs, it would be perfect!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Batter fried bacon?? Bacon tempura. A new take on chicken fried steak. Now if we wrap the bacon around the chicken first, then we might have something.

Seriously, once a year I by a pound of bacon.


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 7 years ago from United States

Once or twice a year, even though I personally like liver and onions (with gravy) isn't going to hasten anyone's death, so that's a good plan.  Geat hub as always, some of my wild boar hunting relatives are so going to love trying your recipe, thanks!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Jerilee! - really!? I hope they try either one of the recipes and love it. What fun!


eovery profile image

eovery 7 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

That deserves a goodd Hee Haw, Yummmm, Yummmm!


RGraf profile image

RGraf 7 years ago from Wisconsin

Personally, I cannot stand liver. My father used to love it until he had his heart attack and the doctor's educated him on how bad liver was for him though it did carry some benefits. He quit eating it after that. He says he felt great doing it. Since I never started, I felt like I was ahead of the health game :)

Good article again.


C. C. Riter 7 years ago

I just discovered your hubs Patty, so far I like them. I love liver and onions with bacon. It has to go along with good smashed potatoes too. We like to use Vidalia onions. Of course, this from someone who will eat worms on occasion too, raw or fried. LOL


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

Great comments! I don't think I can eat worms, though. Ants and grasshoppers are OK.

eovery - I don't think I like liver that much :) but many people do.

RGraf - that is certainly a testimony for the negatives of eating organ meats and thanks for telling us.

C.C. Riter - Welcome to my Hub Pages and I hope you enjoy many of them. 


susi 6 years ago

thankyou. have been looking for recipes to try to make organ meats palatable for me. also have scars from childhood - yarrgh - but struggle with anaemia and family are always hassling me to incorporate organ meats into my diet

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