I’d been thinking about this dish for a very long time now. It was inspired by an episode of Masterchef Australia where Gary and George cooked a trio of rabbit (I think it was rabbit, but can’t seem to find the episode on the google). I wanted to compose a dish that used chicken (yes, the infamously unexciting bird) in multiple ways, using as many different parts of the chicken as possible. Now because I’m particularly proud of this dish, and because it took me lots and lots of effort to make, I figured I’d milk it here on the blog for as long as possible, so I’ll be posting it over 3 different posts. The overall dish was a trio of chicken, like I said, and basically was: Chicken liver risotto, Chicken leg confit on a puff pastry parcel with a truffle cream and a red wine glaze, and a chicken breast roulade with a chestnut filling served with a foie gras sauce. This post will tackle the first of the trio.
With the risotto, I wanted to combine the sharp, beautiful taste of a traditional Lebanese chicken liver preparation, quickly sautéed with pomegranate molasses, with the flavor of a rich risotto, a combination that seemed like it would be a home run. I ended up with a delicious and rich, umami laden risotto, that was topped with soft livers that were sharp and sweet from the molasses, a definite hit!
Serves 4 as a first course
For the livers:
Approx 250g of chicken livers, cleaned well, with all the bile and tough tissue removed
1/2 large onion chopped finely
2 tbsp of pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of butter
1/4 cup of red wine
In a large pan and on a medium high heat, heat the butter and oil, and saute the onions for about 3 mins, until transluscent and soft but not coloured. Add the chicken livers and cook for about 4mins, stirring occasionally to make sure they’re cooked evenly. Lower the heat to a low and add the molasses and the wine. Allow the livers to mix with the cooking liquids for about one or two more minutes (you really don’t want to overcook the livers, they become chalky and very unappealing), remove the livers and reserve, raise the heat on the pan juices and allow to reduce for about two minutes. You will need about half of the juices (about 2 tbsp) and two of the livers for the risotto. Once the pan is cooled, you can return the livers to it and keep ready to warm up for plating.
For the risotto:
2 chicken livers from the above, chopped finely
250g of Arborio or Carnaroli rice
750ml – 1L of good chicken
1/3 glass of white wine
2 tbsp of liver pan juices
2 shallots chopped finely
1 tbsp of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Olive oil (as outlined below)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp of butter
Over a medium high heat in a large pot, warm the a couple of lugs of olive oil, add to it the shallots and saute for a couple of minutes. Add the rice and saute some more (5ish minutes) until the rice grains start to get toasted. Add the white wine, the pan juices and the chopped liver and stir in until it’s reduced by about half (a couple of minutes more) Now add a cup of the stock and reduce the heat to medium. Stir the rice well to help it absorb the stock, and add in more stock by the ladleful as it gets absorbed.
Once you’ve had your rice on the heat with constant stirring for about 15min, it should start feeling done, add the butter and Parmesan. Cook for another 2-3mins until the rice grains are nice and al dente, making sure that the risotto is loose and wetter in the pot than you imagine wanting to eat it (risotto continues to absorb moisture for a while after it’s off the heat).
Once plated, drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil over the risotto and top with as many of the livers as you want, and drizzle with the pan juices. This should be a home run! Hope you enjoy.