Liver and Onions is a offal based dish that has its roots in British history. Since Nigeria was colonized by the British, it would make logical sense for us to have taken on the dish as one of ours. Growing up in Nigeria, my mum sometimes made Liver & Onions on the weekends for breakfast and I’ll be honest, I haven’t had it since I left Nigeria. It was always tasty, chock full of nutrition and usually eaten with boiled yams, sometimes, bread.
Liver & Onions, obviously not an American dish is not popular here and will rarely (if at all) be found on menus in any restaurant, unless they lean British. That said, I always saw beef liver on display at the African store I frequent, but never thought to purchase it, I always walked right past it, straight to the goat meat and turkey sections.
Not sure what moved me this time, but I purchased some with the intention of making Liver & Onions. Since I haven’t had it since leaving Lagos and never having attempted it, I knew the liver was pan-fried and the onions, cut in rings and sautéed, but just to be sure, I called the head chef in my family, my mum and she confirmed my ideas, but added the extra bit of rubbing some salt in the liver.
It’s one of the most straightforward dishes you can ever make and doesn’t involve a whole lot of ingredients. If you like/love offals (animal organs), you will like/love Liver & Onions and likewise, if you don’t care for offals, this dish would be absolutely repulsive to you. I love offals and have eaten them since I was younger; I’ve eaten tripe/shaki, tongue (which I love and also haven’t had since Lagos) and kidney (also haven’t had in a while).
Moving on, here’s what you’ll need to make Liver & Onions,
Recipe Cost: $8.48 Prep: 10 mins Cook: 30-45 mins Difficulty: Beginner Serves: 1-2
- 4-6 pieces beef liver, thinly sliced
- 1 m yellow onion
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp salt
- Canola oil, for frying
1. Rinse liver slices under running water
2. Put rinse liver slices in a strainer and let excess water drain
3. Transfer liver to a bowl, sprinkle salt over and rub it in. Leave for 1-2 minutes before rinsing. If necessary pat dry with paper towel
4. Add 2-3 tbsps oil into frying pan, let heat up over medium heat. Once hot, add first piece of liver
5. Once underside has started to brown, flip over for other side to start browning
5b. Continue frying process
5c. Continue frying liver until it begins to darken considerably
6. Once it’s cooked, transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain excess grease
7. Fry the rest of the liver in same oil, add some more oil if necessary
7b. Let fry over medium heat for 5-7 per side or till browned and completely cooked
8. Add cooked liver to rest of batch resting
9. Thinly slice onions into circles or semi-circles
10. Add sliced onions into same pan used to fry liver, add crushed red pepper
11. Let onions continue cooking over medium heat, till it starts to wilt
12. You’re all done, plate your dish!
- Liver being an offal, is full of vital nutrients, most especially iron and it is also houses a lot of whatever the animal is fed. If you are anywhere in the West, I’d recommend grass fed beef instead beef that might have been pumped full of hormones, because you’d invariably ingest those hormones as well, not good.
- Once the liver hits the hot oil, the outer edges will immediately shrivel up and as it cooks, there will be pockets of blood coming out from various points in the liver as in step #4. The longer it cooks, the less you’ll see the blood coming out.
- As it starts cooking, it will start browning on the outer edges first before the rest of it starts to brown. You can poke it with a knife to see how cooked it is. When it is cooked, it should have no blood coming out, it might have its cooked juices come out, but definitely no blood.
- You don’t have to season the onions with crushed or ground red pepper, you can just sauté it as is, the pepper just adds a teeny tiny amount of heat. I like the onions to have some crunch to it, so I don’t let it get all the way soft.
- You can also fry tomatoes with it if you’d like.
- You can eat this anytime of day, it doesn’t have to be for breakfast.
- Use leftover liver for fried rice if you wish.
- You can use red or white onions instead of yellow onions. I prefer yellow onions as they are generally sweeter tasting.
- You can use ground red pepper if you don’t have crushed red pepper.
- You can also add a teaspoon of any all purpose seasoning if you’d like.
I planned to have this with a baked sweet potato as in the ingredients photo, but changed my mind and had it with a slice of organic flax seed bread. You could also use yam or even white rice.