Chicken livers, it has to be said, aren’t everybody’s cup of offal. My wife, case in point, positively hates them and has even threatened divorce if I ever fed them to her.
Now, I do love my wife, the mother of my children, very, very much indeed. But I also love chicken livers, and I was convinced she would love them, too – if she could taste them in the right context.
That aside, I’d also been given some chicken livers to try by my friendly butcher, Bob. You cannot waste a gift like that on solo dining: it simply has to be shared.
And here is how I chose to share them. The verdict: ‘Delicious,’ my wife proclaimed. ‘That was the best ragu I’ve ever tasted: deep, rich and velvety. What was the secret ingredient?’
‘Er, aged balsamic vinegar,’ I replied.
Which was only a semi-lie!
25g dried porcini mushrooms (I used Found! Click here for more info)
1 cup boiling water
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2-3 sprigs of thyme
500g minced beef
500g chicken livers, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
100ml double cream
1 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar (I used Due Vittorie Oro. Click here for more info)
To serve: freshly grated Parmesan and fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1. Put the porcini mushrooms in a small bowl and add the boiling water, leave to soak.
2. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add a glug of olive oil. Add the shallots and cook for 3-4 mins until softened, then add the garlic and thyme and cook for a further 2 mins.
3. Add the mince to the frying pan and brown all over.
4. Add the chopped chicken livers to the pan and brown.
5. Drain the porcini mushrooms, reserving the liquid, and chop the mushrooms. Add the mushrooms and their liquid to the ragu.
6. Bring the pan to a simmer, then cover and cook for 20 mins.
7. Add the cream and cook uncovered for a few more minutes until the sauce is thick enough to cling to your pasta.
8. Stir through the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
9. Serve with pappardelle, cooked according to packet instructions.