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Thursday, September 16, 2010

recipe for Linda's Deer Liver

In the cookbook "Cast Iron Cuisine: From Breakfast to Dessert", there's a recipe called Linda's Deer Liver, which calls for freshly harvested deer liver.

Since I don't hunt, nor am I close to anybody who does, I don't foresee having access to freshly harvested deer liver in the next 40 years.

So I used calf liver for this recipe.

Salt and pepper the liver. I added onion powder and garlic powder. Dredge the liver in flour.*

*I have since learned that, for liver, salt and pepper only is best. And dust lightly with flour; Do not dredge.

Heat butter in a cast iron skillet until sizzling.

Saute the floured liver in the butter, turning regularly*, until done. Don't overcook.

*I have since learned that liver should be turned only once; About 1 minute each side.

In a separate skillet, saute some onion slices in butter and serve over the liver.

This was, basically, good old fashioned liver and onions. But if it had been freshly harvested deer liver, it would have been Linda's Deer Liver!


  1. Turn that liver only ONCE!
    The reason many people turn up their noses at liver is that they've never had it properly prepared. Liver is very delicate; it should be cooked in the same manner as abalone. Best scenario is to have an entire liver to work from. Slice diagonally as THIN AS YOU CAN. Salt and pepper only. (Sorry, green turtle.) Light on the flour, more a dusting than a dredging. Butter hot to sizzling, slices in for a very brief time only, turn ONLY ONCE. Serve immediately. If you want onions on the side or over, saute lightly in butter until golden and transparent.

    It might seem like nit-picking, but these are the details that DO make a difference in the finished results.

  2. It seems like 1 minute each side is too short, the meat is still rare. Is rare liver safe to eat?

  3. Unless your slices are thinner than the standard slices from the grocery store... I love liver.

  4. Yes, hand-cut slices can be thinner than those from the grocery store. I watch until little bubbles are coming up around the edges, then just give it a few seconds more before turning--only once.

    Matt just phoned in with news that he bagged a fine bull elk (a six-by-six) in Utah, but that he's sorry he can't bring home the heart and liver as is his custom when he gets a buck deer or a bear. That is just purely the finest liver around, when you can start with a fresh, whole liver, soak it yourself, and cut very, very thin slices. Oh, man!

  5. Well in the next couple of weeks I'm going to get some more liver and tweak the method and see if it's better. I love liver so that won't be a problem for me.

    Dust with flour, salt and pepper only, heat pan to sizzling, turn only once...

  6. Matt just announced that his elk hunt was successful. He's bringing home part of the liver. "Can we have it the night I get back?" he asked.

    Tonight's the night. I'll let you know if elk liver cooks any different than deer liver, goat liver (yum!), or bear liver (also yum).

    (Just a little aside: at the ranch, when he takes a deer, he always brings me immediate proof in the form of the liver. Then we go out together to the fallen animal and thank it for its sacrifice. We are, each of us, more than our meat suit. We deserve, each of us, a blessing.)

  7. That's a neat little tidbit. I'm not sure I could shoot a deer myself, actually.

    I've tried Elk before, and if I didn't know any better I'd have thought it was beef.

    I like the idea in your cookbook of boiling what's left of the deer carcass into venison stock, to make the most of it.

  8. We try to honor the whole animal. He took the "cape" of the elk to a taxidermist for tanning. It will make a lovely vest when it's ready.