Chicken Livers with Madeira and Caramelised Onions Recipe

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Chicken & Eggs River Cottage HandbookThis fabulous quick lunch is infinitely adaptable. Try sautéeing 200 g mushrooms along with the garlic and a little chopped sage. Or leave out the cream and toast and use the oniony livers as the base of a salad with rocket and sliced radishes.

Don’t be tempted to overcook the chicken livers 2 minutes either side is long enough to cook them while retaining their gorgeous creaminess.

  • Yield: 4 Servings (as a starter, or 2 for lunch)


  • 400 g chicken livers
  • 5 g butter
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 8 tbsp Madeira (or port or dry sherry)
  • 180 ml double cream
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
To Serve
  • 4 generous slices of good bread
  • A handful of parsley, finely chopped
How to Make It
  1. Trim the chicken livers, removing any tubes and discoloured bits, keeping them whole. Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add the onions, season and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Turn the heat down a little and cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 10 minutes or so, until soft and caramelised. Stir in the garlic and cook for a further 3–4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the garlicky onions to a bowl.
  3. Turn the heat under the pan up to medium-high. Add the chicken livers, season well with salt and pepper and cook, without stirring, for 2 minutes. Turn the livers and cook for a further 2 minutes they should be brown on the outside and a little pink in the middle. Remove the livers with a slotted spoon and add to the onions.
  4. Turn the heat up to high and pour in the Madeira. Set it alight with a long match to burn off the alcohol. As the flames die down, scrape up any burnt bits from the bottom of the pan and stir them into the liquid, using a wooden spoon. Add the cream to the pan and boil rapidly, stirring, for 2 minutes to reduce the liquid a little. Meanwhile, toast the slices of bread.
  5. Pile the onions and liver onto the warm toast slices, spooning on as much sauce as you fancy. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

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