Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Paper Chef #37 - Liver Challenge!

I just finished making and styling my entry for this month. I didn't find it at all difficult, but then I had a bit of an idea of a way to tie the ingredients together when I selected them. My idea: creamy, cheesy, polenta. Add to that being inspired by Jamie Lauren's lovely herby parsley salad at Absinthe over the weekend, and an idea was born.

I always think of liver as just another opportunity to consume bacon, so of course, I had to have some in this dish. I started with bacon, apples, and shallots, all in fine dice. Sauteed the bacon, drained, then sauteed the apples and shallots in the drippings. I also chopped some packaged steamed chestnuts, chives, and Greek oregano from my pot garden.

For the herb salad, I used fresh parsley leaves, chives cut in to 1" pieces, and some of the smaller oregano leaves. Made an herby vinaigrette from apple cider vinegar, EVOO, chives, oregano, salt, and freshly grated black pepper. I also sliced some apple thinly and chopped a chestnut for garnish.

Next, I made a creamy polenta with chicken stock, and stirred in 2 oz. freshly grated Parmiggiano Reggiano, 2 big tablespoonsful of mascarpone, and 1/4 cup of heavy cream and seasoned with salt and white pepper.

Finally, the liver. I had two pieces, one large and one quite small. I dredged in flour, and added some oil to the saute pan with the bacon drippings, and sauteed lightly to brown. Took out the liver, and deglazed with apple juice, then added chives, oregano, salt, and white pepper, and put the liver back in to simmer and finish cooking. When the liver was just done (still slightly pink-the key to keeping it moist), I strained the liquid, added 2 tbsp. dry sherry, and reduced and seasoned. When it was reduced to about 1/2 cup, I stirred the bacon, apple, shallot, and chestnut dice in and seasoned.

I have to say this turned out really good. The only caveat is that I should have de-veined the larger piece of liver. The apple, parmesan, and oregano tied everything together nicely, and I'm sitting her right now licking up the last bits of bacon-apple-shallot-chestnut goodness. The herb salad added a nice brightness to what would have been a pretty rich meal, so thanks Jamie!

Now I definitely need to go work out.

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