Chicken livers are packed full of nutrients, are low in fat and are really quick to cook. What’s not to like? I know some people are a little put off by the thought of eating offal or maybe just think it looks a little unappetising. Ok, it doesn’t look pretty, but I assure you it more than makes up for it in taste. It also offers very good value for money compared to other meats available nowadays. I think offal is seriously underrated and after the enjoyment of this recipe I will definitely be buying chicken livers and other varieties, such as calves and lambs liver, as well as kidneys, more often.
This recipe was inspired by a seven-spice chicken liver dish I had at Dock Kitchen, run by the hugely talented chef, Stevie Parle. I haven’t used seven spices here but simplified by using cumin, all spice and black pepper – enough of each to give a serious taste punch. The sweetness of the pomegranate seeds and freshness of the salad offset the rich spicy chicken livers perfectly. It really is a super quick meal to prepare so definitely one to enjoy in the week when time is poor but you crave a healthy but satisfying meal. Great served with warm flatbreads and hummus as a side if you’re feeling particularly puckish.
400g chicken livers (preferably organic)
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive or pressed rapeseed oil
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp all spice
70g bag of lamb’s lettuce
100g flame-grilled red peppers, chopped into strips
1/4 tin of chickpeas, drained
Handful of pomegranate seeds
- Firstly, prepare the chicken livers. Using some kitchen scissors and cut away any green bits or sinew or they will taste bitter. Cut into as even sized pieces as possible.
- Season the chicken livers with salt. Heat a large frying pan with 1 tablespoon of the oil over a medium heat until hot, add the livers and fry for about 2 minutes on each side so that they are brown and caramelised. Any smaller pieces will take less time to cook so remove these earlier. The livers should be cooked all the way through but still pink in the middle. Rest the livers on a warm plate while you make the dressing.
- Put the red wine vinegar into the same pan and bubble for 5 seconds seconds before adding the rest of the oil and then the spices. Stir the pan and cook for about 30 seconds, add the pomegranate molasses and any juices from the chicken livers, give the pan a swirl to combine and then remove from the heat.
- Arrange the lamb’s lettuce, red pepper, chickpeas and the livers on plates. Drizzle the sticky dressing over the livers, sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over and serve.
Like a lot of people, my childhood experience of eating cauliflower is a negative one with cooked-to-death florets smothered in a heavy cheese sauce or, in my case, a basic white sauce. Sorry mum! In some restaurants I also have memories of it being served as a side dish in a medley of boiled vegetables, such as carrots and broccoli, to accompany meat or fish. Poor cauliflower was reserved to the sidelines and it’s no wonder I gave it a wide berth for many years.
There are not many ingredients I dislike and I struggled with olives for years, which I found overly bitter, but my perseverance eventually paid off. I have to admit, I’m still a bit scared by the huge green ones as they can be so strong tasting but generally I love them now. So I thought I’d try the same dogged approach with cauliflower. Since I have started to eat cauliflower again I have tried it in a spicy curry, a creamy velvety soup and pureed with scallops and black pudding but I had never had roasted cauliflower. Boy, have I been missing out! As with most ingredients that are roasted, it really enhances the flavour, but it was an absolute revelation. Delicious!
So I arrived home today with a perfect looking cauliflower flower and decide to team it up with some oak-smoked chorizo that I have been meaning to use. This warm salad made a really satisfying lunch on a cold, wet day (in May!) and once I had cleared my plate I scoffed the remaining roast cauliflower as it was just too good to waste. I confess that I found slicing the cauliflower looked good in the finished photo but it was quite crumbly and wasted too much, so I would recommend cutting small florets instead.
Serves 4 for lunch or 2 for dinner
15 minutes, plus 40 minutes (is using dried chick peas)
75g chickpeas (soaked overnight)
125g pearl barley
150g chorizo, sliced
50g Manchego or Parmesan, grated
2-3 fat garlic cloves
Generous handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tbsp of olive oil, and extra for drizzling
Salt and pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 180C / gas 4 / 350F.
- Put the chickpeas and pearl barley in two separate saucepans and cover with lots of cold water. Simmer the chickpeas for 40-45 minutes until tender and the pearl barley for about 20 minutes. The pearl barley should still retain a slight bite. Add them both into the same saucepan. Finely chop the parsley, add a drizzle of olive oil, season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Meanwhile trim the root from the cauliflower and chop into small florets. Coarsely chop the garlic and add to a large bowl with the olive oil, juice of half a lemon and some salt and pepper. Add the cauliflower to the bowl and coat completely. Spread out on a non-stick baking tray and roast for 20-25 minutes, turning once half way through. Check the cauliflower with a fork and when it’s nearly cooked add the cheese and the juice of the remaining half a lemon. Stir in the pearl barley and chickpeas and time for about another 5 minutes, until the cauliflower is cooked through.
- Slice the chorizo and cook for a minute each side in a frying pan.
- Spoon the cauliflower mixture onto plates, add the chorizo and a further sprinkling of chopped parsley, if you like.