As part of the Pepperidge Farm Challenge, we were inspired to make a chicken liver stuffing recipe in honor of our beloved grandmother (a.k.a. Nana), a terrific cook who made many Thanksgiving dinners for our family.
While Thanksgiving is an all-American holiday, some families add foods from their ancestral lands to the traditional Thanksgiving menu. Our friend Ruth’s mother, an American of Italian descent, always had a lasagne course.
Nana, an American of European Jewish descent, always made chopped liver as an appetizer. It was served with party pumpernickel and rye slices. As a child, we were delighted by the miniature pieces of bread.
While we know more than a few people who “hate liver,” if they had only had Nana’s chopped liver from early childhood, they might be fans.
We cooked the stuffing on the stovetop, Photo by Tony Segielski | IST.
This recipe is truly delicious. If your guests are all adults who drink alcohol, add 1/4 cup of good spirits to the mix. The alcohol will burn off, leaving a delicious note of “something special.” See if your guests can guess what it is!
2 tablespoons any vegetable oil (more as needed; taste oil for freshness first)
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, small dice
2 small or 1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 pound chicken livers, cut into quarters (toss in the turkey liver if you have one, cut to the size of the chicken livers for even cooking)
2-3 cans chicken broth (12 ounce cans), or homemade stock
1 pound turkey sausage (you can substitute a half pound of pancetta for the turkey sausage if you want a smoky, bacony flavor)
8 ounces mushrooms (your choice of type), sliced
1/4 cup fresh sage, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, finely chopped
1 stick (1/4 pound) unsalted butter, melted, for mushrooms and drizzling over the
CHICKEN LIVER STUFFING HOMAGE TO NANA
casserole, plus one stick, melted, to mix with the bread cubes
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly-ground black pepper
1/4 cup bourbon, brandy or whiskey (optional)
2 packages Pepperidge Farm Stuffing (14 ounce packages)
1. In a large, deep skillet over a low flame, add the cooking oil. When hot, add the celery, onions and garlic. When the vegetables are semisoft, remove and aside. Raise heat to medium add the livers, which cook quickly, 3 to 5 minutes, until pink in the middle. Don’t overcook.
2. Purée livers in food processor, or can mash them with your fingers and remove the center vein. Add to sautéed vegetable mix.
3. Remove the turkey sausage meat from the casings and add to the pan. Add a teaspoon of oil or butter if needed. Cook until just until the meat loses the pinkness and add to the vegetable/liver mix. Do not brown the turkey; it will finish cooking in the oven. Add mushrooms to the pan and sauté with butter until soft. Add to the vegetable/liver/turkey mix. (By using the same pan, the foods pick up the flavors from the previously cooked ingredients.)
4. In a large bowl, blend the Pepperidge Farm stuffing with can of chicken broth. Add 1/4 cup melted butter, then a second can of broth. Add the bowl of vegetables, liver and sausage, along with the sage, tarragon, pepper and brandy. Add more broth as needed to moisten. Drier stuffing will be crunchy, wetter stuffing will cook up moister. Taste and add the salt as needed.Drizzle the top of each casserole with 1/4 stick (1/4 pound) of melted butter.
5. Transfer to a butter-greased casserole dish (we used two three-quart casseroles). Cover and bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for 45 minutes.
Enjoy, and have a happy Thankgiving!