Shitake Mushrooms & Calves Liver Taglierini

  • Time: 30 mins
  • Serves: 2
  • Level: easy

‘…Do you like liver? Join the debate and let us know what you think?’

Pete
'Well many of us have hang-ups about liver, but here Dad makes it look as good as any other meat. It’s worth reading Dad’s comments on liver too…'

What you need

125g DeCecco egg taglierini (or equivalent of other brand)

150g shitake mushrooms

250g British calves liver

2 thin slices of speck (optional)

1 small onion

1 small stick of celery

1 clove garlic

250ml chicken stock

100ml crème fraiche

1 bay leaf

1tbs chopped tarragon

2 tbs chopped parsley

Butter and olive oil

2 tsp sherry vinegar or aged balsamic vinegar



Dad's Recipe Tales

On cooking with calves liver…

Mrs WDC requested her dinner ‘not too spicy…’ I thought something with cream, rather like a stroganoff would be rather soothing – and I associate liver or beef with stroganoff. I know Mrs WDC is fond of calves’ liver – but I have problems with the Dutch type. It always looks resplendent in the display at our specialist butchers – they treat it as if it was gold dust, appropriately enough. But it still makes me feel uneasy. However, I am in favour of veal production as an outcome of milk production, providing the welfare is of a high standard.

I am assured by one particular supermarket that their veal meets these standards. I saw calves’ liver was reduced – but even still, enough for two restaurant-sized portions was coming out quite expensive. I put one pack back and replaced it with Shitake mushrooms. Shitake’s may not be cheap but they are one third the price of veal by weight – and pack just as much meaty flavour.

How Dad Cooked It

  1. Put a large pan of water on for the pasta. Add a large pinch of salt, and heat to a boil whilst making the sauce.
  2. Clean the celery, peel it and chop finely. Chop the onion and garlic finely. Slice the mushrooms thinly.
  3. Remove any sinews and connective tissue from the liver and slice the liver into thin strips. Slice the spec, if using, into thin short strips.
  4. Add 25g butter and a tsp of olive oil to a large sauté pan and sweat the onion, celery and garlic on a medium heat for 15 minutes until the onions are starting to turn transparent and golden. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms let off their moisture and begin to fry – about 8 minutes. Add the chicken stock, bay leaf, half the tarragon and parsley and bring back to a boil, simmer for a few minutes to reduce slightly. Set aside and keep warm.
  5. Put the pasta into boiling water and cook according to instructions or until al dente.
  6. In a separate pan, fry the speck and calves liver in a little butter on a relatively high heat. They do not take long to cook, but do not move them about – spread evenly on the pan and let them get a little colour on one side. Quickly stir in the vinegar and let it cook to reduce slightly. When the liver is just done, add to the mushroom pan and stir in the Crème fraîche, heating gently.
  7. Drain the pasta – reserving a cup of pasta water – and add to the sauce. Shake and toss the pan to combine and mix the pasta with the sauce. Let this rest for a minute or two to meld flavours and for the pasta to absorb the sauce. Add pasta water to thin if needed.
  8. Serve, with green vegetables and carrots or spinach.
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