We recently had to collect a colleague from Schipol airport horridly early in the morning. We made it bearable by staying nearby in the old Dutch village of Abcoude, staying in the canalside Hotel De Goudvink. It was the second time we’d stayed there, the first frosty nights of winter, but the beds are very comfortable, with fluffy duvets and the rooms sport welcoming tartan-upholstered arm chairs.

The inn (it only has five bedrooms) has a restaurant which is bafflingly named The Green Duck Irish Pub. Baffling because there was absolutely nothing Irish in evidence here at all. Even the beer I drank with my meal was a damn good blond organic Dutch beer called Puur. Hoppily fresh, it was about as far away from a thick, dark Guinness as you could possibly get.

The food side of things wasn’t very Irish either. The idea was to order a selection of tapas type dishes all served on wooden platters. I had lobster croquettes, prawn pil pil, and…. duck livers.

What a revelation! I’d had duck liver pâté before (subject of another post) but never whole livers. They were delicious.

And, if they were anything like chicken livers (why shouldn’t they be) I reasoned, they should be a cinch to make oneself. I was right. They are – but they’re a bit more substantial than chicken livers. You still need to allow time to take off the fiddly sinews however.

how to cook duck livers

Make sure the livers are plump, dark and shiny…and, ideally, Gressingham

I later discovered that Dominic Chapman (one-time head chef to Heston Blumenthal, now chef-patron of The Beehive in White Waltham) has developed a method using cream and whisky, and served (as you would pâté), with brioche. I made up my own, simple recipe, and only subsequently found the Chapman one on the Gressingham website (here’s the link). His version includes shallots, stock, butter, lemon juice, chives and parsley as well as the cream-and-whisky basics. Mine is much simpler, and I use dill quite effectively instead of the more obvious chives.

Leftovers of my simple version recipe can be added to a green salad, along with some crispy bacon.

Leftovers of Dominic Chapman’s approach can be whizzed up with butter and transformed into pâté.

I use Gressingham duck livers since I think the quality of the meat is superb. Make sure the livers are plump, dark, and shiny.

Serve with toasted brioche (or the black bread we had at Abcoude went very well) and a green salad (dressed with a pomegranate molasses and olive oil dressing).

 

Recipe for dead simple way of cooking duck livers – serve with toasted  brioche and a green salad

 

how to cook duck livers

Simply cooked = fry and deglaze with red vermouth

Per person (best made portion per portion and served immediately)

 

  • 130g/5 oz duck livers (sinews removed)
  • 1 tbsp seasoned flour
  • Duck fat, or olive oil for frying
  • Red vermouth to deglaze
  • Dill (or chives)
  • Spanish sweet smoked paprika

 

  1. Warm your plates.
  2. Warm the fat in a smallish frying pan.
  3. Lightly coat the livers in the seasoned flour, and fry for a couple of minutes, then turn and fry on the other side another couple of minutes. The livers should still be rosy in the middle.
  4. Meanwhile toast your brioche.
  5. Serve on warmed plates, sprinkled with the paprika and herbs.
  6. Deglaze the pan with the vermouth and pour the sauce over.
  7. Serve with the green salad and the toasted brioche.

 

 

Recipe for slightly more sophisticated cream and whisky coated duck livers – – serve with toasted  brioche and a green salad

 

how to cook duck livers

Slightly more sophisticated version with whisky and cream

Per portion – again, make each person’s portion one at a time, and serve them immediately

 

  • 130g/5 oz duck livers
  • 1 tbsp seasoned flour
  • 60 ml/¼ cup/4 tbsps double cream
  • 2 tsps whisky – to taste – double is a bit over the top
  • Duck fat or olive oil to fry
  • Freshly chopped dill or chives

 

  1. Warm your plates.
  2. Warm the fat in a smallish frying pan.
  3. Lightly coat the livers in the seasoned flour, and fry for a couple of minutes, then turn and fry on the other side another couple of minutes. The livers should still be rosy in the middle.
  4. Meanwhile toast your brioche.
  5. Add the whisky, and then add the cream – get it bubbling.
  6. Serve the creamy alcoholic livers sprinkled with the herbs, together with the brioche and a plain green salad with an oily dressing.

 

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