Merguez-Spiced Chicken Liver and Mushroom Lettuce Cups
40 Minutes + Overnight for the Pickled Onions
Before you think “no way!” to this chicken liver recipe, might you give it a try? Or, at least read on to see why liver is so important for your health. The right recipe and cooking technique makes all the difference!
This Merguez-Spiced Chicken Liver and Mushroom Lettuce Cups ensemble has all the components of a perfectly balanced dish—plus it’s so nourishing. There are a variety of spices (similar to the spices in Merguez sausages) balanced with the freshness of dill. The vinegar has a way of making the dish lighter by breaking down the fats in the liver; the pickled onions and lettuce add a nice crunch. This dish is perfect as an appetizer, as a light meal, or for your weekend brunch!
Although liver has been a traditional food for decades, it’s been gaining popularity in the health and wellness space and popular food blogs in the past several years, due to its nourishing properties.
Liver, like other organ meats, can have a distinctive taste and texture, but when prepared right it can be very tasty. If you are up for it, your body will thank you.
Liver is a high source of retinol, which is preformed vitamin A, and is excellent for your immune system.
Liver is a great source of folate, choline, and B-12. Although all meats contain some amount of vitamin B12, liver wins the 1st place prize. You’ll also find other fat-soluble vitamins such as D, E, and K in liver.
Liver is also a great source of iron and copper, which are essential nutrients that help carry oxygen around the body and helps regulate energy production, iron metabolism, and brain function. Liver is a high-quality protein. Intake of high quality proteins have been shown to increase metabolic rate, reduce appetite, help build muscle, and preserve muscle during weight loss.
Using a non-stick cast iron pan can sometimes be a hassle, so we use the award-winning cookware system featured in the photos—the Always Pan by Our Place. The Always Pan is a multi-functional, non-toxic, non-stick, beautiful, and hassle-free pan, perfect to create a beautiful and super simple recipe.
Prepare the pickled onions the night before. Thinly slice the onion, peel and smash the garlic. Add all of the ingredients to a glass mason jar, shake well, open, and press onions so they are covered with the brine.
Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
When it comes to meat, organic is always best. Try finding organic, pasture-raised chicken livers at your local grocery store or farmers market.
Soaking the livers in cold water for 10 minutes is a great way to clean them before cooking and will prevent them from tasting bitter. It is important to remove any connective tissue with a sharp knife. Before searing, make sure livers are completely dry to prevent oil splashes and overcooking.
For Chicken Liver Mushroom Mix: Soak livers in cold water for 10 minutes, then rinse.
Using a sharp knife, cut off the connective tissue from the livers. Place on a kitchen towel to dry.
In a bowl, combine the chicken livers with salt and pepper. Toss to coat well.
Preheat a non-toxic non-stick frying pan such as Our Place and add half of the avocado oil and half of the ghee. Warm oils on medium heat. Spread chicken livers in the pan, making sure they are not crowded so they sear and not steam. Sear livers about 1½ minutes on each side, turning as needed, until nicely browned, but still pink in the middle. Using tongs, transfer to a plate. Discard oil and wipe the pan clean. Add the remaining oil to the pan and cook the rest of the chicken livers. (Do not clean the pan after preparing the 2nd batch.)
To the same pan, add shallots and cook for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms, close the lid, and continue to cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove the lid and stir occasionally making sure the shallots don't burn. After 5 minutes, add garlic and continue to cook for 2 more minutes.
Turn heat to low and add all of the spices into the pan, cook for 1 minute, add the sherry vinegar, scraping the bottom of the pan, and continue to cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Transfer the livers to a cutting board and chop finely into ½ inch cubes (no smaller so they still have a bite to them).
In a large bowl, combine chopped livers, shallot mixture, and the remaining olive oil. Stir and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes until completely cooled to stop the cooking process and allow the flavors to develop.
Remove Chicken Liver Mushroom Mix and Sumac Picked Onions from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature. Prepare the lettuce cups and fresh dill.
Spoon Mushroom Mix into the lettuce cups, garnish with dill, pickled onions, and Maldon sea salt (optional). Serve as an appetizer.
Best when fresh. Any leftovers will keep in the refrigerator up to 2 days.
Nutritional Analysis Per Serving: Calories: 233 , Fat: 12 g, Saturated Fat: 3.6 g, Cholesterol: 431 mg, Fiber: 2.6 g, Protein: 21.5 g, Carbohydrates: 10.6 g, Sodium: 533 mg, Sugars: 4.1 g.