Wednesday, April 7, 2010

From "The Widow Maker" File

Here's a dinner from the file I fondly call "The Widow Maker". It is a southern favorite consisting of sautéed chicken livers paired with spinach salad with a hot bacon and white wine dressing. It's not particularly difficult to prepare and does have a unique taste; chicken livers being so delicate and flavorful when prepared in this fashion. It's made in a single skillet on the stove top. My recipe calls for about a pound of chicken livers and serves four.

You simply brown eight strips of bacon and prepare your fresh spinach, along with whatever additional salad fixings you may have handy. I like mushrooms, bean sprouts and tomatoes with this. Then you saute the chicken livers (which have been dredged in seasoned flour) in the bacon fat along with some butter. A quick cooking of three minutes per side ensures the tender livers do not over-cook (which if you do, will become grey and leathery). Once you remove them to a warming pan, which you can keep covered in a slightly warm over, you prepare the bacon dressing.

I usually start that process by chopping a small onion and sauteing it in the pan drippings. Sometimes I need to add a little more oil to the skillet if the bacon has been lean. Then I add 1/2 cup of white wine and scrape up all of the pan fond. While the wine simmers for a couple minutes, I prepare a slurry of 1/2 cup water, a teaspoon of flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar and salt and pepper. This mixture is poured into the simmering wine/onion mixture along with 1/4 cup of cider vinegar. I stir with a whisk until hot and thickened slightly then pour over the salad, finishing with the bacon which has been crumbled into small pieces. Place several of the cooked livers aside the salad and serve with a good slice of crusty bread and a glass of Chardonnay.

So why do I call it "The Widow Maker". Well my MasterCook recipe program analyzes every recipe I give it. Here's what it says about this one. Per Serving: 342 Calories; 17g Fat (46.4% calories from fat); 27g Protein; 17g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 525mg Cholesterol; 596mg Sodium. My cream pie recipe (which starts with nine egg yolks and eight cups of cream) is also in this category.

While these are not dinners you want to serve often, they are a rare treat that you should have at least annually! A little extra time at the gym is worth the joy these special meals bring.


  1. Sounds wonderful. Haven't had chicken livers since I was a little girl. Grandma Alesiano use to fry these with garlic a little salt and pepper in olive oil and serve with a big slice of crusty bread. Brings back fond memories.

  2. After all of our years together, I didn't know that... in fact I didn't know you liked chicken livers at all. Next time you visit, I'll make you some.