Foody Friday: Offal

Mar 9, 2009 by

Another late foody friday. This month’s theme is offal!

Okay, so a lot of people don’t eat offal (or sweetbreads). I do. I didn’t until I went to university, but there I (a) met a lot of people far more adventurous than I and (b) didn’t have much money. Also, it was going to be eggs this month, but Easter’s not ’til April, so you get offal now.

So, cheap food is good in a recession, and using up all of an animal is more environmentally friendly and ethical and only eating bits and wasting the rest. Also, if it’s done right (usually in a slow cooker) things like liver and heart can be absolutely delicious. No really.

I discovered (by which I mean ‘I enjoyed for the first time’, since it wasn’t the first time I’d eaten it) liver in a pub a couple of summers ago. Liver, bacon, and mustard mash.

Searching the historical cookbooks, calf’s liver and bacon has been a popular combination for centuries, and rightly so. My personal, poorly informed opinion, is that when it comes to liver the larger and younger the animal, the better it tastes. So calf is my favourite, then lamb, and then pork. I haven’t tried much poultry liver outside of pates (and I really ought to do a duck liver and orange pate, because, it’s delicious!).

This recipe is largely my own devising, from several attempts at this recipe. I’ve included the two historical recipes (John Nott and Robert Smith) as well. This makes a large meal for one, or two small meals.

Calf’s Liver and Bacon with Mustard Mash


1/2 a calf’s liver
2 rashers of bacon
1/2 an onion
1 large potato
1 teaspoon english mustard (not french, ick!)
1 teaspoon butter
Hot water
stock/gravy browning


1 saucepan
1 frying pan
1 chopping board
1 sharp knife
1 fork (for mashing!)


Cut your potato into tiny little bits and boil until easily mashed.

Chop your onion finely and fry until soft.

Add the bacon and liver to the onion. Be careful not to over-fry, or the liver goes rubbery.

While frying, mash the potato with butter and mustard.

Put the mash on the plate and lay the bacon and liver on top.

Add a small amount of hot water to the bacon, and your stock or gravy browning. Basically, make onion gravy. I’m bad at gravy.

Pour onions and gravy over the top of mash and meat.


The Cook and Confectioners Dictionary, Or, The Accomplish’d Housewifes Companion – To Roast a Calf’s Liver

Lard your Liver well with large Slices of Bacon, fasten it on the Spit, roast it at a gentle Fire, and serve it with a good Gravy, or a Poivrade.

Court cookery: or, The compleat English Cooke – To Roast a Calf’s Liver

Lard your Liver with fat Bacon roll’d in savory Spice, pretty thick, and fasten it on the Spit; baste it with Cream, and serve it up with good Gravy.

Nott, John; The Cook’s and Confectioner’s Dictionary, Or, The Accomplish’d Housewife’s Companion; Bible and Crown; 1723; Googlebooks scan from Original at Harvard University, digitized Jul 9, 2007

Smith, Robert; Court Cookery, or The Compleat Englishe Cook; Three-Daggers; London; 1725; Googlebooks scan digitized May 1, 2007

I still completely owe you a writeup of Fishguard. Work has been a little mad, but hopefully it’ll settle down soon.


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