Tag Archives: Soup

Offally Good: [Leftover] Liver Dumpling Soup

So, I remembered after Soup #1 why I don’t usually buy liver even though I really enjoy it…stores sell liver by the pint. They, really, really just want to foist as much of it off on someone else for a marginal profit, so they make it super cheap and let you buy three-quarters of a pound minimum.

I didn’t have the energy to tackle something that would require a lot of extra ingredients (like pate), so I settled on another soup – one I’d seen in Ed Harris Heth’s Country Kitchen Cook Book. The book has a section titled “The Winter Soup Pot” and filled with hearty Midwestern stews designed to keep you warm and your house smelling cheery at times when “the snowplow does not arrive for three or four days.”  I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of these soups soon – especially the German Beer Soup which the author’s grandmother was fond of serving with “a little fried blood sausage.”

I love Heth’s narrative way of setting recipes out so I’m copying this verbatim instead of putting it into a numbered list of steps…

Chicken Liver Dumplings (Serves 2-3)

“Grind very fine 1/2 lb. chicken livers and mix with a beaten egg yolk, a slice of bread soaked in milk and squeezed dry, 2 T butter, 1 t each of chopped parsley and grated onion, 1/2 t salt, fresh pepper, 1 T flour and 1/4 t each of ground nutmeg and ginger.  Fold in a stiffly beaten egg white, chill, shape into very small balls and boil about 5 minutes in the broth, uncovered.  A little parsley fried in butter is also good in the soup with these.”

A few notes on this recipe…First, this is one dish where I decided to cut down on butter: liver is already high in cholesterol and the butter didn’t seem really necessary to bind the dumplings (that’s what the egg is for), so I just omitted it.  I also made this soup into a full meal by pouring the dumplings and the quart of chicken stock in which I boiled them over some veggies.  I prefer my veggies to be non-mushy and a little caramelized, so instead of boiling them in the stock I braised them in a pan while making dumplings.  Very good call, if I may say so myself.

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Offally Good: Cream of Giblet Soup New England Style

I just pressed an organ – a liver, to be specific – through a sieve.

How did I wind up as some poor chicken’s Hannibal Lecter, you ask? Well, a couple of days ago I decided I wanted soup. It’s getting chilly and I was looking for something (other than bourbon) to warm my tummy. I was flipping through The Gold Cook Book this weekend for Sunday Tips when I came across “Cream of Giblet Soup New England Style.” This recipe had 3 things which appealed to me: 1) an easy way to take on offal, 2) a reminder of home (there is nothing quite like hot soup on a cold New England night), and 3) this intro from Chef De Pouy: “This soup is very good and very inexpensive. It is an excellent imitation of mock turtle soup.” I was intrigued by the especial blessing the Chef gave this recipe, and by the fact that it’s an imitation of an imitation.

Today I finally made it to Whole Foods, where I thought I’d be able to find liver and giblets, the two “specialty meat” ingredients for this soup. Sadly, the store did not sell the latter ingredient separate from whole birds – so I got some chicken necks to flavor my stock and contented myself with making this experiment more about liver than giblets.

Offal seems quintessentially vintage to me, so I was really excited to cook up some liver – even if it is kind of “offal lite.” I love reading The Nasty Bits at Serious Eats, so I was happy to take on some organ meats myself. A lot of vintage cookbooks have great offal recipes to make efficient use of expensive proteins. I’ll never be vegetarian, so I try to be a conscientious omnivore by being really willing to use as much of an animal as possible.

This recipe was super-tasty – it had a lot of the same flavors as chopped liver, which I also love, and it was hearty and filling. It was also, as Chef De Pouy pointed out, very inexpensive. I’ll definitely be hunting some gizzards down and trying this again!

Cream of Giblet Soup (Serves 2)

1 small turnip
1 small carrot
1 small onion
2 chicken gizzards (or 1 turkey gizzard)**
1 tbsp. flour
1 qt. boiling water
2 chicken livers (or 1 turkey liver)
1/2 tbsp. butter
2 hardboiled eggs, chopped
1 tbsp. chopped parsley (this isn’t in the original recipe but it adds a lovely bit of freshness)

1. Wash, pat dry, and chop the gizzards and set them aside. Chop the carrot, turnip, and onion and saute in a medium saucepan (the 3 qt. one I used worked perfectly). When the vegetables start to brown a little, add the gizzards and cook for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 tbsp. flour, mix well, and add the boiling water.
2. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pot partially, and simmer for 2 1/2 hours, until the gizzards are tender.**
3. Toward the end of simmering time, press the livers through a fine sieve to yield a kind of liver paste. Make a light brown roux with the 1/2 tbsp. butter and the second 1/2 tbsp. of flour.
4. When simmering is done, add the liver paste and roux to the soup and cook, stirring well, for about 3 minutes.
5. Pour into serving bowls, sprinkle with the egg and parsley, and serve with freshly toasted bread.

**As above – I used 2 chicken necks instead of gizzards. These yielded a nice stock after 1/2 an hour of simmering, instead of 2 1/2 hours. I took out the necks after simmering, ran them under cold water to cool, and pulled off what meat I could to add it back into the soup.

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