Liver gets a bad rap. It says a lot about a meat that folks typically cover up their poorly prepared liver with something as strong as onions.
However, with the right preparation and sauce, liver is more tender and just as delicious as any cut of beef. Leave it to Hannibal Lecter to suggest to us a fine pairing of liver with fava beans served with a nice Chianti wine.
8 Tbsp butter, divided
1/2 cup diced pancetta or bacon
1/2 cup diced white onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb fava beans, shelled and peeled if fresh
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 lb young beef liver, which should provide 2 slices
1 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
1/2 cup red wine, Chianti preferred
- In a saucepan, melt 2 Tbsp of butter over medium-low heat then add the pancetta bacon. Cook until the fat renders out; about 5 minutes.
- Add onions and garlic and sauté until the onions soften; about 10 minutes.
- Set aside half to this for later.
- Into half of the onion and pancetta mixture, add the beans and stock. Simmer for about 15 minutes, allowing the stock to thicken.
- While the beans simmer, dredge your liver in the seasoned flour.
- In a skillet, melt the remaining 6 Tbsp of butter.
- Fry the floured liver in the melted butter until golden brown; about 2 to 3 minutes each side. Set the cooked livers aside and cover to keep warm.
- Into your skillet, add the reserved onion and pancetta mixture and the wine. Simmer until the sauce thickens; about 5 minutes.
- When the beans and sauce are done, plate your liver and spoon sauce of the sauce over it. Serve with a side of beans. If you have extra sauce, serve it in a sauceboat.
If you cannot find fava beans, lima beans are an accessible and acceptable substitute. If you buy canned beans of either kind, you should still simmer them just as long, just don’t stir too often, or you’ll have refried beans.
I normally hate liver and onions. This, however, was SO AMAZING. It practically melted in my mouth. The pancetta bacon brings another layer of friendly flavor to the dish as well. It was a huge hit and very inexpensive. So Clarice, tell the lambs to stop crying and enjoy liver again.