July 17, 2009

Ragu Enriched with Chicken Liver

While browsing Saveur.com, I came across a ragu recipe with chicken livers and knew I had to try it. Since the original recipe only makes 4 servings, I decided to double the recipe except the amount of olive oil and butter and quadrupled the amount of ground pork. The ragu came out wonderful and everyone loved the depth of flavor the chicken livers gave to the sauce. Below is a copy of the recipe from Saveur.com with my modifications and comments on the instructions.

8 cups beef broth
4 tbsp. Homemade Tomato Paste
2 cup milk
6 whole cloves
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 2 ounce pieces of pancetta, finely chopped
4 medium carrots, finely chopped
4 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 lb. ground beef chuck
1 lb. ground pork shoulder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper,
to taste
2 cups dry white wine
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
4 chicken livers (about 4 oz.)

1. In a small saucepan, bring broth to a simmer over medium heat. Put tomato paste into a small bowl and pour in 2 cups broth; stir to dissolve. Set tomato-infused broth aside. (Keep remaining broth hot.) In another saucepan, bring milk to a simmer over medium heat. Add cloves, remove from heat, and let steep, covered, for 1 hour. Remove cloves; set milk aside. (I kept the cloves in the milk until I was ready to pour it in the broth and it worked out great)

2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil and butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add pancetta; cook, stirring occasionally, until its fat has rendered, about 6 minutes. Add carrots, celery, and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and caramelized, 30–35 minutes. Stir in beef and pork; cook, stirring and breaking meat apart with a wooden spoon, until browned, 10–15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high, add wine, and cook, stirring constantly, until wine is evaporated, about 6 minutes. Lower heat to medium, stir in nutmeg and reserved tomato-infused broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Lower heat to medium-low, add 1/2 cup reserved hot broth, and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed. Repeat, 1/2 cup at a time, until all the broth has been used (this should take about 2 hours). (It takes between 10-15 minutes for each 1/2 cup of broth to absorb. It is time consuming, but definitely worth it.)

3. Add chicken livers to sauce; cook for 8 minutes. Using a fork, remove and mash livers with a tablespoon or two of the milk. Return livers to sauce along with remaining milk; simmer until thick and velvety, 15–20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with tortellini or the pasta of your choice, or use in lasagne. Serve with grated parmigiano-reggiano. (I took 1/2 cup of the sauce and put it in the blender with the chicken livers and set to puree. Then I added the mixture to the ragu. I cooked 2 boxes of gemelli and it was perfect for the amount of sauce.)


Miranda said...

I have never attempted to cook with Chicken Livers. They always intimidate me.
But this looks absolutely terrific!

figtree said...

This looks so good, Im not telling my family that I put chicken liver in the dish till they are done devouring it..I know they will love it..much thanks for the recipe!Figtreeapps

Pinkfoodie said...

Hi Miranda - You can always cut the amount of chicken livers in half to start. :) If you taste the ragu before and after, you'll notice a significant difference in depth of flavors.

Hi Figtree - They'll never be able to taste the chicken livers.

5 Star Foodie said...

This ragu sounds excellent! I love the chicken livers here. I haven't cooked with chicken livers in a while but I do love them!

Exile Kiss said...

Hi Pink Foodie,

Nice recipe. :) So does the Chicken Liver flavor dominate this dish, or with the amount you listed... would you say it's more in the background? Just curious.

Pinkfoodie said...

Hi 5 Star Foodie, thanks for stopping by. If you're looking to cook with chicken livers again, I think this would be a good recipe to start with.

Hi Exile Kiss, the chicken liver is more in the background, but enough to give the Ragu that extra layer of flavor.

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