Weeknight dinner
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Sauteed Chicken Liver

I roast whole chickens a couple of times a month, usually on my rotisserie. I like to dry brine chicken, so the first thing I do when I get home is salt the chicken and put it in the refrigerator to rest.

This leaves me with the envelope of giblets. You know the one; a paper pouch with the neck, gizzard, and liver. The neck and giblets I put in the freezer for later.
*I have a zip-top bag, full of necks and wingtips and other trimmings, waiting for my next batch of pressure cooker stock.

The liver is my treat. I eat it right away, sprinkled with salt, seared in a little olive oil.

If I’m feeling fancy, I make an open-faced sandwich, toast with the liver on top, maybe a little grainy mustard. But that’s rare. Most of the time I eat the liver straight from the pan, fat and juices dripping down my chin. I lean over the stove, trying to keep my shirt clean and saying “ouch” a lot. The liver is still hot when I pop them in my mouth.

Recipe: Sauteed Chicken Liver

Inspired by: Tamar Adler, An Everlasting Meal

Cooking time: 6 minutes


  • 4 chicken livers (remove the tough tendons if you’re finicky)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt


1. Cook the chicken livers:
Heat the oil in a small fry pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the livers and sprinkle with a three finger pinch of salt. Cook until well browned on the bottom, about three minutes. Flip the livers, an cook until well browned on the second side and the pink color is entirely gone in the middle, about three more minutes. If the livers are browning too quickly, turn off the heat and let them finish cooking in the residual heat of the pan. Remove from the pan with your fingers and eat standing over the stove with tongs or a slotted spoon, and serve.


Other poultry: This works with all poultry livers, from cornish hens up to turkeys. Turkey liver fortifies me for the big push on the day before Thanksgiving, while I make my giblet gravy. Duck livers are probably my favorite, but chicken livers are a close second, and much easier to find.


  • Do as I say, not as I do: In the opening picture, you can see some pink in the middle of the liver. I love chicken liver with a creamy, pink center. Don’t do this. Salmonella’s going to get you. (I have local chicken sources that I trust. Even then, if I ever get salmonella, it’s my fault, not theirs.) Cook your liver all the way through, please. Cut into the largest lobe of liver; all the pink should be gone. Or, use the press test. Push down on the liver. If it is still soft in the middle, keep cooking. Once it feels firm, it is cooked through.
  • Apologies to Tamar; I think I was infected by her writing style.

What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Special treats you make with things others throw away? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:

Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock

Inspired by:

Tamar Adler, An Everlasting Meal

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Filed under: Weeknight dinner


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


  1. These were pasture raised, and I do know the source. You should get the best chickens you can for your livers. But that’s for taste reasons – pasture raised chicken livers taste better than grocery store chicken livers.

    From what I’ve read, a liver is not a filter, it’s a processor. It doesn’t absorb toxins, it breaks them down. (Toxins concentrate in fat, not the liver.) Liver and kidneys will concentrate heavy metals, but they will also be in the rest of the meat.

    To sum up: if your chicken is eating something bad, you should avoid the whole bird, not just the liver.

    Here’s the best summary of the data I could find, with lots of links to its sources: Does The Liver Store Toxins?[MarksDailyApple.com]

  2. Kjalics says

    I would only do this if it’s organic chicken liver or you really know the source and know the chickens aren’t getting any bad stuff that will end up in the liver….I love all sorts of liver, btw!

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