Beef Liver with Fig, Bacon and Caramelized Onion Compote [or the ultimate beef liver recipe]
If my previous Beef Liver recipe made me a believer, this new one just made me an real fan.
I simply can’t believe that I, as in “moi”, was sitting there, eating liver, and actually going “OMG YUM” with each and every bite.
And I’m not exaggerating in the least. This was genuinely, incredibly yummy.
You see, when cooked right, beef liver is unbelievably tender and moist and juicy and almost velvety! It’s got a texture that’s simply unrivaled by any other cut of meat. So really, the trick is to cook it at very high temperature for a very short amount of time. The interior HAS to remain a little bit on the pink side.
Cook it too much and it becomes real tough and grainy, like shoe leather. Not what I’d call yummy.
Even the flavor seems to be affected when you cook it for too long…
No wonder, as a kid, I would be served liver with TONS of ketchup on the side (which I also happen to hate, by the way, so needless to say liver has never been a winner in my book!)
But now that I am learning how to prepare nature’s most potent superfood the proper way, I’m really learning to enjoy it.
I say learning because, having despised liver all my life, my brain still wants to voice its opinion and goes “Ewwww, but it’s LIVER!” every time I think about having it, which always leads to this big argument between us where I have to convince it that we really do like it after all.
Rough, I know.
But with a little coaxing, I know that I’ll eventually get it to put its guard down and forget all about its old beliefs and misconceptions on liver.
Our brains are highly adaptable little things, you know. Nothing a little bit of “reprogramming” won’t fix!
I know now that organ meats, and especially liver, are extremely nutrient dense foods that truly deserve to be made a little bit of room on our dining plate a few times a week.
I’m not sure I’m quite there yet, but I sure intend on eating liver way more often than I used to (which was never, so that’s not hard to beat!)
With recipes such as this one, it will be a lot easier for me to get there.
Beef Liver with Fig, Bacon and Caramelized Onion Compote
- 10 oz beef liver, sliced
- The juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tsp arrowroot flour
- ½ tsp Himalayan salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 4 slices smoked bacon, cut crosswise into ½" pieces
- 2 large onions, sliced
- 7 oz mushrooms, sliced
- 4 dried figs, chopped
- ¼ tsp Himalayan salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 sprigs fresh sage, chopped
- 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- In a non-reactive sealable container, marinate the beef liver in lemon juice for at least 8 hours (or up to 24 hours). Yes, that’s in the refrigerator!
- In a cold, large heavy skillet (cast iron preferred) set over medium heat, cook the bacon until nice and crispy.
- While the bacon is cooking, rinse the beef liver slices under running water and pat them dry.
- In a shallow bowl or plate, combine the arrowroot flour, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly with a whisk until very well combined.
- Dredge the liver slices in the arrowroot mixture and shake well to remove any excess. Set aside in a plate until bacon is done cooking.
- When bacon is nice and crispy, remove it to a plate with a slotted spoon, and set aside. Pour the bacon fat into a small bowl but leave about 2 tablespoons in the pan. Put the skillet back over high heat.
- When the pan is really nice an hot, add the liver slices and sear for about 45 seconds to a minute per side, just long enough for them to get a beautiful dark brown and crispy exterior. You might have to work in batches, depending on the size of your skillet.
- Remove the liver to a plate, cover loosely to keep it warm while you work on the onion compote. Put your pan back over the heat source and lower heat to medium-high; add about half the remaining bacon fat and throw the sliced onions right in.
- Let the onions caramelize for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the onions have taken a nice golden coloration, add the remaining bacon fat and the sliced mushrooms. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes, until the mushrooms become soft and slightly golden.
- Add figs, salt, pepper, vinegar and water and cook for another minute or so, until liquid is completely evaporated.
- Stir in fresh sage, kill the heat and place liver slices on top of the onion compote. Cover loosely and let sit for about 5 minutes just to warm up the liver and allow all the flavours to mingle happily.
- Serve immediately , sprinkled with crispy bacon.
The Fig, Bacon and Caramelized Onion Compote, just waiting for the liver…
Come on, you brain. Does this look good or what?
(I think it’s working, I got a nod…)
Served with the onion compote and crispy bacon, with a side of asparagus and butternut squash.
Look at how nice and slightly pink still.
So tender and juicy!