January 8, 2012

Chicken Livers and Onions

In addition to following the Whole 30 rules for January I also pledged to eat at least one meal a week with organ meats.  Why should you consider eating organ meats?  A big reason for me is wanting to respect the animal that gave its life for you by wasting as little as possible but there are also plenty of health benefits.  While I will eat beef liver occasionally and I liked the beef heart we got with our quarter steer, my favorite and one of the easiest organ meats to find and prepare are chicken livers.

When I was a kid my parents served chicken livers in their spaghetti sauce and I still love them that way, although now on top of sauteed zucchini.  While in college and while dating John I was coming out of my vegetarian years and learned a new way to eat chicken livers. The Metro Detroit area is teaming with good Middle Eastern restaurants and a favorite of ours back in "the dating years" was the Pita Cafe in Oak Park, MI.  At the corner of Greenfield and 696, we passed this restaurant on the way to and from our two homes too many times to count.   Great hummus, good lentil soup (smooth or chunky), juices, and fantastic chicken livers made up our meals there.

They served their chicken livers fried with onions, jalapenos, and lots of olive oil with a side of rice pilaf topped with parsley and toasted almonds.  Lemons were served on the side to squeeze on. You had to be careful to ask for the dish "mild" or they would blow your head off with the jalapenos!   I've updated this to use my Sorta Gremolata from my freezer and keep the dish Whole 30 compatible.  I'm also an even bigger wuss about spicy food now but feel free to overload yours with jalapenos!

Chicken Livers and Onions
Rinse and dry your chicken livers well.  Lately I soak them in a brine for a few hours but I haven't decided if it makes a big enough difference in the taste.  Slice a couple of sweet onions.  Heat up a skillet and add fat of your choice.  I used chicken fat but have used olive oil in the past.  Fry the onions with salt and pepper until caramelized.  Remove the fried onions from the pan and set aside.  Add more fat if needed and fry the chicken livers until done.  Don't forget to season them and don't overcook them!   Toss the onions and livers together and top with defrosted "gremolata" balls.  *If you don't have the "gremolata" you could substitute some chopped parsley with garlic, lemon zest and juice. Finish with some toasted chopped almonds and a squeeze of lemon juice. Wonderful served with a green salad dressed with lemon juice and olive oil.