I know. When I mentioned the idea of liver, you might have felt queasy inside, imagining visions of some very funky-tasting meat your mom or dad served you in your childhood with onions. I’m also sure some of you might be different, and instead ended up with your mouth watering at the idea of liver.
I’ll admit my first experiences with liver were as I spoke of, a very gross cut of meat that seemingly didn’t taste good no matter what you did. It wasn’t until I met Zuzana’s mother in 2009 that I had liver cooked deliciously and thus changed my opinion on it. I still pass by the packages of chicken liver in the store and get tempted, and I can’t say no to a good pâté.
Liver shouldn’t be anything new to our palettes. If you made the goulash I showed you a while back then you might have used beef liver. Most pâtés you eat are also made from the livers of geese, pork, or chicken. The real secret to enjoying liver is really in the preparation and how you season it, and I believe the traditional liver and onions just hasn’t been well served.
On the flip side, there is a famous little food shack down in New Orleans known as Mahoney’s, and they serve up chicken liver in a way almost anyone could love. When I was researching about shrimp po’boys, I had come across reviews and articles about Mahoney’s, and how they made a fried chicken liver po’boy sandwich topped with a creole coleslaw as opposed to lettuce. I’ll admit I was intrigued.
Today we’re going to make my rendition of that sandwich, but rather than bread and deep fry the livers, I want to season and sautée them in the same technique I learned from Zuzana’s mother. We’re going to first start off with the creole coleslaw needed for a Mahoney’s-style po’boy. It’s a zesty blend of what you know about coleslaw and what you would expect from New Orleans. This can work well either as a lettuce substitute or a side dish.
- 1/3 cup of mayonnaise
- 1/2 tbsp of Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp of cider vinegar
- 1/8 tsp of hot pepper sauce
- 1 oz of Italian parsley, minced
- 1/2 tbsp of sugar
- 1/2 tsp of celery seed
- 1/2 lb of green cabbage, sliced thinly or shredded.
- 1/2 lb of red cabbage, sliced thinly or shredded.
- 2 oz of thinly sliced green onion
- In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, hot pepper sauce, parsley, sugar, and celery seed.
- Add in the cabbage and green onion. Stir until all ingredients are mixed and well coated.
- Place the finished slaw in the refrigerator for 2-6 hours before serving.
The idea of letting the slaw sit in the refrigerator before serving is so the ingredients will meld and the seasonings will be absorbed by the cabbage.
If you prefer it more spicy, add more hot pepper sauce or even some cayenne pepper.
If you're making this as a side, you might want to try adding in some diced celery and tomato (seeds removed). If you're using it for sandwiches, then I'd say to follow the recipe, since it's supposed to be the "crunch" of said sandwich.
Healthy It Up
I actually use non-fat mayonnaise in mine. Why add more fat?
Before serving, give the slaw a quick stir. I'll actually drain any water that forms every time I open the container.
Now that we have our slaw, let’s get into the liver and make our po’boys.
Creole Chicken Liver Po’Boy
- 1 lb of chicken livers
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 tsp of granulated garlic
- 1 tsp of thyme
- 1/2 tsp of paprika
- 1 French baguette (approximately 6″-8″ long)
- 3-4 slices of tomato
- Some of the Creole Coleslaw or a few leaves of lettuce
- 1-2 tbsp of mayonnaise
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Remove the livers from the packaging it came in and place in a collander or strainer.
- Run the livers under the faucet (cold water) to wash them.
- Place the livers on paper towels and pat dry.
- Heat up the olive oil in a frying pan or skillet on medium-high heat.
- Place the livers into the oil and sautée for 5-10 minutes until livers are almost cooked.
- Season the livers with the garlic, thyme, paprika as well as salt and pepper.
- When the livers are finished, turn off the heat and leave in the pan.
- Slice the baguette in two and place in a hot oven or on a hot surface until lightly toasted.
- Assemble your sandwich with the mayonnaise, livers, coleslaw (or lettuce), and tomato.
Granted a pound of livers will make you more than you need for a sandwich. Feel free to cook them all for a few people, or take some out for yourself and adjust the seasonings accordingly.
Be sure to watch the livers carefully as you cook them. Underdone and they'll be squishy. Overdone and they're rubber.
Seasoning them later is so you do not cook and destroy the flavors you're adding it. More like letting them mix with the livers and remaining oil/liquids to form a light coating.
I did not put any cayenne pepper on these, since the Creole Coleslaw will handle the spice, but feel free to add more "fire" if you like it spicy.