Todays recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is Chicken Liver Gâteaux - Gâteaux de foie de volaille à la lyonnaise. I opted for the Lyonnaise version of this dish, hence the name. It is traditionally served warm with a tomato sauce - coulis de tomates, green olives and mushrooms.
Dorie mentions that the Gâteaux can be served with pickled onions or Lyon style (see her Bonnee Idée). And since there were quite some onions on our menu lately (caramelized, fried, onion chutney, etc.), I chose to prepare a wonderful tomato sauce instead of the pickled onions.
Inexpensive and packed with flavor, chicken livers are widely available in groceries stores and butcher shops around here. As with all innards, livers need to be as fresh as possible so follow the use-by date, or use within two days. Traditionally, they are used in terrines or minced up with other ingredients as a stuffing or they are pan fried. Simply pan fry them in butter for a few minutes until golden-brown on the outside and pink and juicy inside. Deglaze the pan with a splash of wine, brandy or sherry and stir in a little mustard or chopped parsley, then serve on toast, in a salad, or, as in Dorie´s recipe, using a food processor, blend the livers with some eggs, yolks, cream, milk, brandy, and some fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary and sage) and salt and pepper to make these easy Gâteaux de foie de volaille. After a good half hour in a bain marie they turn out to be soft and airy and delicious.
Pig´s, calves’ and chicken livers are the most commonly used in Germany. Lamb's livers are slightly stronger than those from calves but equally good - classically served with crisp bacon, fried onions, and possibly sage. The luxury end of the liver market is goose or duck liver and, perhaps most controversially, foie gras , the fattened liver from force-fed geese.
Obviously not everyone enjoys eating liver, especially young taste testers might object. So when I served the Chicken Liver Gâteaux Lyon Style - Gâteaux de foie de volaille à la lyonnaise to my family, I prepared a nice bowl of that wonderful winter salad lamb´s lettuce with some slices of portabella mushrooms. For the salad dressing I used delicious chestnut-honey-vinegar from our local oil and vinegar manufacturer (I knew that they could all agree on that part) and I prepared a small plate for every person around the table.
Well, I can honestly say that they all took a least one bite and lots of tomato sauce and two of the kids finished their plates. Adults loved this, the younger ones gave mixed reviews but they all tried it and no one thought it odd that I would serve them something with chicken liver as the main ingredient. I might try my hand at this recipe again if we have dinner guests that like French food, the presentation certainly is pretty and it is an uncomplicated recipe that can be prepared ahead of time.
To see how the other Doristas prepared the Gâteaux de foie de volaille, please click here.