Then yesterday, with Brent's parents visiting, we had some fun with our food (and finally found a use for those leftover livers). We grilled a whole chicken and veggies and peaches, too. But this particular recipe, which we whipped up as an appetizer, has me feeling very gourmet!
We started by making a chicken liver pâté. Then, we stuffed it into mini peppers and baby portobello mushrooms. Finally, we grill roasted them on a veggie grill plate. They were AMAZING! Check it out...
Grill-Roasted, Liver-Stuffed Peppers and Mushrooms
- 4 slices of bacon (we use the sugar- and nitrate-free kind from USWellness Meats)
- 1/2 chicken livers
- 1/2 medium white onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- small peppers and baby Portobello mushrooms (Brent's parents brought 7 little peppers and lots of baby portobello mushrooms, of which we used all the peppers and 3 of the mushrooms)
- 1/4 tsp of thyme
- 1/4 tsp of dill
- 1/2 tsp of lemon zest
- a drizzle of olive oil
- parsley for garnish
1. Dice the bacon slices.
3. Finely chop the onion. (I actually used our little Ninja!)
4. Pan fry the bacon pieces in a deep skillet until soft (about 1 to 2 minutes).
5. Add the onion to the skillet.
6. Immediately press three of the four garlic cloves into the bacon and onion sauté.
7. Sauté until the onion is soft (about 2 minutes).
8. Add the chicken liver pieces and sprinkle the sea salt and black pepper over everything in the skillet.
9. Sauté the mixture for 4 to 5 minutes, until the livers are nearly cooked through.
10. Remove from heat and scoop into your food processor or blender. (Here, again, I used my nifty Ninja. I love this thing. But there's an important note to make: my Ninja still had some pieces of onion from it's fine work dicing. This, I anticipated, would allow a very small amount of slight sharpness to carry through into the pâté.)
11. Add the fourth clove of garlic to the mixture in the food processor or blender. (Again, looking for a little extra zing in the flavor here--the combination of sautéed garlic and raw garlic should create a good depth of flavor.)
12. Blend until thick and smooth.
14. Meanwhile, chop the dill and thyme.
15. Also, clean and prepare the mushrooms and peppers for stuffing.
16. Fold in the thyme, dill and lemon zest.
17. Stuff the mushrooms and peppers with the pâté and place on a plate. (At this point, I actually put a couple pieces of parsley as garnish on top of the mushrooms, but you don't have to do that.)
19. Grill on a veggie grill pan: the peppers needed about 2 to 2 and 1/2 minutes per side (5 minutes total) and the mushrooms took about 10 minutes.
20. Plate, garnish with a few sprigs of parsley, and serve!
Personally, I never enjoyed a single recipe with chicken livers as a kid. No offense to my parents, but the livers with onions they made were gross--leathery, muddy, chewy, chalky, that bloody iron taste. Oh, and did I mention that I didn't care for onions much as a kid either? Yea.
However, as we all know, tastes change and time can play some pretty crazy tricks on you. I was hesitant to put only chicken livers (instead of chicken giblets, which do include livers, I know) in the Paleo Comfort Food's Dirty Cauliflower "Rice". What other option did I have? None. So, I toughed it out and to my surprise it was delicious. Sure, I could taste that iron flavor, but it was subtle and certainly the liver was not like leather in our dirty "rice". I'll say it again--it was delicious!
So, although I can't remember a single time when I've been willing to try pâté, here I was making a pâté in my own kitchen today. I was nervous but eager. The anticipation was thrilling; the bacon, onion, garlic and liver sauté had me drooling from the start. But would I really enjoy the taste? Or was I just excited about the bacon? Only a taste test would tell...
The pâté itself was so savory and rich, but then coupled with the sweet little peppers and earthy mushrooms... O.M.G. Sure, the taste of iron was kind of there; it was subtle, not off-putting. Meanwhile the smooth texture, the salty bacon, savory onion and garlic, and the little hint of smokey sweet from the peppers... it just popped!
I must say, though, I especially loved the combination of the pâté with the baby portobello mushrooms. Sure there was more juxtaposition of flavor in the pepper-pâté combo; but there was something homey and warm and comforting about the savory pâté with the earthy mushrooms. It just makes me want to settle down into a big leather arm chair in front of a glowing fire and read a Jane Austen novel. :)
OK. Are you seriously still reading my ramblings? That's awesome, but I'm sure you're getting tired of them :p so I will stop here, haha. I hope you enjoy these tasty appetizers as much as we did. They take a little time and effort, but they are so worth it.