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Friday, February 27, 2015

Food - Liver

If you look back on your childhood trying to find times of interior warmth , what comes to mind for you?
For me it's walking home from school on a frosty evening with  the dark already gathering itself around you.
As you round the corner you see the  lights of your house shining dimly through the closed curtains. You know that your mum and your sisters are already home. You run those last few steps as quickly as you can  and there you are opening the door, throwing your bag on the floor and as you take off your heavy gabardine coat you breathe in the delicious aroma of liver and onions. It's one of our favourite meals for the cold months.
It has to be lambs liver. Mum fries onions in some dripping left over from the Sunday roast then  adds the liver and cooks gently, making sure it's not over cooked - that would make the liver tough. She takes out the liver and onions and  makes gravy with the mouthwatering juices that are left in the pan.
Mashed potatoes peas and carrots complete the dish.
The gravy is so scrumptious that we mop the left overs up with chunks of bread.  Yummy.

When I got married , mother-in-law cooked liver and bacon. I hadn't had liver for a while so I was really looking forward to it. However, it was not at all the same meal. She used a totally different method. Pigs liver  with onions and bacon braised in a rich gravy. Such a disappointment.

I have cooked the dish many more times over the years and am a little perplexed that none of my nine children like it at all.

The version I like best is my mother's recipe but I use pig's liver instead of lambs.

We had some the other day which led me to ponder on how, even now after all these years, the smell of liver cooking takes me back to another time.

5 comments :

Jacula said...

Lamb's liver for me, soaked in milk and water for a while first to remove any bitterness, then braised in large pieces in the oven with onion rings and served with gravy made from the juices, mash and veg. That's what my mother used to serve. I decided to make this meal during the first week of my marriage back in 1977 and, because I couldn't get hold of my Mum at the time, rang my new Mother-in-law (with whom I had quite a shaky relationship) to ask her how long to cook it for. Unfortunately, her method was different from my Mum's and she airly told me 'It only takes about 20 minutes, if that'. I ended up serving raw liver (it looked cooked outside) and was convinced she'd 'done it on purpose to undermine me'. Turned out she fried pig's liver in small chunks. (I should have realised that - she still fries everything!) Meantime, while I was having a mini-meltdown, by new hubs was frying the liver to finish cooking it - probably the only time he ever did cook in our 18-year marriage. I got the 'proper' recipe off my Mum the next day but haven't used it for some time now as neither of my kids like it. My 'new' partner and I save it for when we're on our own.

Marian Green said...

Thanks for that Jacula. Your story mirrors my own - and well told. It's funny how our children don't like it...

Jacula said...

Most 'modern' people don't seem to like the idea of eating offal, Marian. I must say I nearly threw up the first time I saw my ex Mother-in-Law soaking sheep brains in readiness for cooking them on toast. No, I've never touched them! Mum and I decided to try tripe (cow's stomach lining) and onions one night when Dad was having dinner at his parents' house and both found it so revolting that I ended up
walking down to the chip shop to get our supper. I think the local fox probably enjoyed the tripey meal left out on the back lawn that night. I've never fancied heart either, probably because Mum used to cook it in the pressure cooker for the dogs and the smell was revolting. I do like a bit of kidney though... in my beef casserole or my steak pie. I also miss the bit of kidney you used to get in certain pork chops. My butcher tells me EU regulations mean they have to remove the offal from the meat these days and you have to buy the kidney separately.

Jacula said...

Reply done below.

Marian Green said...

You conjure up so many memories. Jacula. The kidney in the pork chop - what a rare treat that was - loved it. It's not at all the same thing getting the kidney separately and putting it with the pork chop - the whole point was that it was part of it. I was just reminiscing with my mother and sisters last week about just this thing. Unlike you though, I do have happy memories of eating pigs heart. We never had it at home with my family but it was one of the delicacies that my mother - in -law introduced to me. She would make a loved bread and onion stuffing , fill all cavities and then roast . it was delicious. Again my children never liked it. And I haven't cooked it for years.