There are people who do not like to eat offal and they would find the idea of eating blood disgusting. I would say they are missing out on something.
Blood used to symbolise vigour and, according to some books about these periods as they did not keep records themselves at the time, warriors in long-flown times used to drink the blood of beaten rivals. Blood is taboo in Islam and Judaism.
Blood is high in iron, sodium and selenium, contains vitamin B12 and Omega 3 and 6 fats, but it also contains cholesterol.
Pig’s blood was turned into sausages at farmsteads when a pig was slaughtered in Autumn.
In France, the blood sausage has an oblong form and is called boudin noir. In England, black pudding is served in small slices and makes up part of a traditional breakfast with eggs, bacon and beans.
In the Netherlands, the blood sausage is presented in large slices. Apart from the blood, the sausage is made of lard, bacon, herbs and a filler from grains such as rye, corn, barley or oatmeal. The sausage is often combined with apples and onion.
- Two slices of blood sausage (or two boudins)
- Two apples
- Two onions
- Cut the onion in slices.
- Peel, quarter and core the apples.
- Put some butter in a frying pan, heat, then add the onion and apple.
- Stir for five minutes until the onions are brown, then add the blood sausage and continue cooking for two minutes on each side.
We had bought some chicken liver at the poultry stall on the market and I had a package of pie dough left in the refrigerator. With some shallots, raspberry vinegar, eggs and cream, I made a nice quiche-like open pie.
Why raspberry vinegar? It is one of those French habits. The vinegar helps to kill any bacteria that might be lurking in the innards and raspberry gives sweetness to the taste. Alternatively, balsamic vinegar or wine can be used with chicken livers.
Continue reading Chicken liver pie
One Monday morning on our weekly farmers’ market in Mirepoix, the poultry lady had chicken livers.
Not the soggy reddish things in a plastic container at the super market – which are more than decent – but, well, big livers. The point is that most “chicken” killed and sold are in fact still chicklets – boiler, broiler, pullet, roaster – that hardly reach one year of life. Her chickens are adult, they laid eggs for a while and most of the time outside, moved around on the grassy hills, ran to shelter when there was danger. Muscular hens.
So, their livers, with a heart attached, were larger than in the commercial circuit and needed a bit more time to cook. Useless to say, they did not throw off a lot of liquid in cooking and did not fall apart.
I combined the chicken with carrots, and carrots call for coriander, cumin and sesame seed.
So, I cooked the sliced carrots for 15 minutes and fried the livers for ten. Then I mixed them together with the other ingredients and stir fried a bit before serving.
Liver is rich in minerals such as iron and calcium and vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as the B vitamins. But it is also rich in cholesterol and purines so you should not eat it too often.
The combination of liver and onion can be found in Italy, France, Britain, the Netherlands and elsewhere. One of the many uses of onion is that it can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.
The recipe here is rather simple and straightforward but good timing is essential – you want crispy onions, browned but not blackened, and you want bite in the liver, no shoe sole consistency.
- Three onions
- 750 grammes of beef liver
- two spoonfuls of raspberry vinegar
- butter (or olive oil)
- Cut the liver into small rectangles
- Cut the onions in slices
- Put butter in a frying pan, heat and bake the onions until light brown. They should have become slightly sweet (taste). Put the onions aside, add more butter and fry the liver, about 2 minutes on either side. At the end, add the vinegar and reduce.
- Present the liver on top of the onions, add pepper.
The hazards of going to the market in November. There are many root vegetables available, among which some lesser known ones like the Jerusalem artichoke. A strange name as it has nothing to do with Jerusalem and it is not an artichoke although the taste has some similarities.
It is the root of a kind of sunflower, found in America, and some say the Italian word for sunflower (Girassol) has been transformed into Jerusalem over the years. The names sun root, sun choke or topinambour – as in French – are also being used. They contain inulin,potassium, niacin, thiamin, phosphorus, copper and fibre, omega 3 and 6 and vitamins.
They are also being used for bio fuel.
The vegetable tends to blacken after peeling so it is best to keep them in water, with some vinegar or lemon juice.
Chicken liver contains thiamin, zinc, copper, manganese, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, iron, phosphorus and selenium, according to Nutritiondata.com. But they are high in cholesterol.
In France, people usually add some raspberry vinegar to cooked chicken livers. They are also great in mousses and pâté’s.
I combined the two ingredients, and garlic, into a light meal that was plenty of usefull nutrients.
Ingredients for two
- Two to four sun chokes
- One clove of garlic
- 200 grammes of chicken liver
- raspberry vinegar
- Piment d’Espelette (Basque pepper powder)
- White pepper
- Put water in a casserole. Wash or peel the topinambour and put them with the garlic in the casserole, cook for 15 minutes.
- Cut the livers in two to remove cartilages and check they do not have the any remains of the green bile duct.
- Heat butter in skillet, add livers, fry for 10 minutes on moderate heat, turn from time to time. You can put a lid on the skillet if the cooking of the liver seems uneven – the trapped steam will cook those parts not in contact with the underside of the pan.
- Take off the lid, let the cooking liquid evaporate and add a few spoonfuls of vinegar, as well as some white pepper from the mill, and allow the liquid to evaporate a bit more.
- Set aside.
- Take the chokes and garlic from the water with slotted spoon and put in a blender to make a mash.
- Spoon the mixture on the plates.
- Put the liver on skewers and dispose on plates. Sprinkle with piment.