Cooked to silky perfection, deer liver makes a great breakfast or a delicious meal to be washed down with cider, says Tim Maddams. Serves one.
Super-fresh liver is among the sweetest, most irresistible pieces of meat you are ever likely to encounter. Leave it to go stale, though, and within 48 hours it will be a very different proposition; bitterness will pervade and as time goes by this character will only continue to dominate.
A stalker’s breakfast is food fit for the gods but, far more than that, it is a mark of respect for your quarry, the respect of using all the meat. In days gone by all the deer’s entrails, or umbels, would have made it into umble or humble pie — and delicious it is too. But for me it is a waste of fresh deer liver.
This recipe for deer liver will not tax anyone to cook and it requires nothing in the way of fancy equipment. If you are not able to acquire some wild garlic leaves, use a suitable green leafy replacement and add a little chopped garlic.
You will also need a frying pan you can trust and, if you are not having this for breakfast, a good dry cider.
Here’s a venison pie recipe from Neil Molyneux, the head chef at the Museum Inn, Farnham, Dorset who used venison…
Recipe for deer liver with wild garlic and a fried egg
- 100g thinly sliced, super-fresh deer liver
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 2 sage leaves
- 50g butter
- 1 good free-range egg
- A good handful wild garlic
1. Remove the sliced liver from the fridge well in advance so that it is
not fridge cold. Warm a plate.
2. Place a frying pan on a moderate heat and let it get charged with plenty of heat energy, so that it will remain hot when you begin to cook.
3. Season the liver slices well with salt and pepper and then lightly dust them with flour.
4. Put half the butter in the pan and, once it starts to foam, gently lay the liver slices in the pan and leave them alone. If the liver is sliced quite thinly it will only take 2 to 3 minutes to cook through.
5. After 1 minute, turn the liver over and add the sage leaves to the pan. Cook on the other side for another minute then remove the liver to the warm plate to rest.
6. Add half the remaining butter and fry the egg. Once the egg has set, place it on top of the liver to keep warm.
7. Add the last of the butter to the pan and quickly cook the well-washed wild garlic leaves. Turn off the heat and add any juices to the garlic that have leeched from the liver on to the plate.
8. Make a quick cut into the liver to check it is cooked properly — you want it slightly blushed with pink but not raw in the middle — and, if you are happy, pile the garlic leaves atop the liver and egg and serve. A little English mustard is perfectly acceptable and you may want some bread or toast to mop up the juices.