Good Gravy Recipes - Liver & Onions: Beef, Pork, and Wild Boar
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.
Liver and Onions and Gravy
A variation that uses the diet black cherry cola is provided at the end of this recipe.
- 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
- 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.
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
- 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
- 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.