Recipe: Chicken Liver Ragu With Cider, Apples & Squash

Written by Melissa Pasanen on . Posted in Recipes, Taste of the Landscape

Chicken Liver Ragu With Cider, Apples & Squash
Serves 4
The recipe itself is quick but does call for a 60- to 90-minute brine for the livers before you can start cooking. The ragu can be served over pasta or polenta.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup sweet apple cider
  2. 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
  3. 1 3-inch sprig fresh rosemary
  4. 1 pound chicken livers, trimmed of any tough membranes or veins (scissors work well)
  5. 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  6. 1 small yellow onion, julienned
  7. 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  8. 8 ounces butternut squash, cut into ¼-inch dice (about 1 ½ cups)
  9. 1 ½ cups Brussels sprouts (about a dozen medium), halved or quartered to bite-size if large
  10. 1 small sweet, firm apple such as Honeycrisp, unpeeled, half of the apple cut into ¼-inch dice 1 cup dry hard cider, such as Citizen Cider, divided
  11. and the other half cut into thin slices
  12. 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  13. 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  14. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
To serve
  1. Wide flat ribbon pasta such as fettuccine or pappardelle or polenta
  2. Fried eggs (optional)
  3. Chopped parsley
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sweet apple cider with 1 cup of water and the 2 tablespoons coarse salt. Add the rosemary sprig. Bring just to a boil over high heat and whisk to make sure the salt is dissolved. Pour the brine into a heatproof dish big enough for the brine and livers and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes until it is barely warm. When the brine is cooled, add the trimmed livers and cover and refrigerate for 60-90 minutes.
  2. Remove the livers from the brine and pat them dry with paper towels. Set a large, thick-bottomed sauté pan or shallow pot over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of the oil. When the oil is shimmering and just about to smoke, add the livers to the pan and sear for about 2 minutes on each side until browned. (They will still be pink in the center, but will cook more later.) Do not crowd the livers; work in batches if necessary. Remove the livers to a plate and set aside to cool.
  3. Using the same pan set over medium heat with the remaining tablespoon of oil, sauté the onion and garlic until soft and lightly caramelized, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the squash and cook another 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the squash has taken on a little color. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the sprouts are slightly browned. Add ¾ cup of the hard cider and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pan is almost dry, another few minutes. Add the chopped and sliced apple and chicken stock to the pan and stir. Cover and cook at a low simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the squash is just tender.
  4. While the squash is cooking, chop the cooled chicken livers into rough ¼-inch dice. When the squash is tender, reduce the heat to low and stir in the chopped chicken livers along with any of their cooking liquid that has accumulated on the plate, and the sage. Cook gently for 5 minutes and then stir in the butter and the remaining ¼ cup hard cider. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired. Top each serving with a fried egg and chopped parsley as desired.
Adapted from chef Charlie Menard, Inn at the Round Barn Farm, Waitsfield
Adapted from chef Charlie Menard, Inn at the Round Barn Farm, Waitsfield
Vermont Life Magazine http://vermontlife.com/
Melissa Pasanen

Melissa Pasanen

Contact Melissa Pasanen at mpasanen@aol.com and follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TasteofVermont.

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