Chicken livers are very tender and have just a hint of wild flavor. You can pan fry chicken livers or you can simmer them. How you decide to cook them is determined by the texture you want when the livers are cooked. Below are instructions for both cooking methods.
Pan Fried Chicken Livers
If you want the best tasting chicken livers, you should opt to pan fry them. Pan fried chicken livers are not as gritty as simmered livers and they have a more firm texture.
Start by rinsing the livers under cold water. Then let the livers sit in a strainer, shaking the strainer often, until all the water has drained. You can also pat the livers dry with paper towels.
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Add enough cooking oil to just cover the bottom of your frying pan. Heat the pan then add the livers. Turn the livers so each side gets a bit browned. Then turn the heat down to medium or medium low, cover the pan with a lid, and let the livers cook until tender.
While the livers are pan frying, you can chop an onion if you want, or mince a clove of garlic, and add it to the pan. You can also season with salt and pepper to taste. After the livers have fried for about 10 minutes, add a pat of butter (real butter, not margarine) to the pan and put the lid back on.
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Let the livers pan fry for about 15 minutes total, then check one for doneness. The livers should be cooked through but should have just a bit of a lighter color in the center.
Simmered Chicken Livers
If you want to cook your chicken livers the easy way, or if you are making pate, then you should simmer them. Rinse the livers and add them to a pot. Make sure they do not fill the pot more than half way. Add enough water to cover the livers with about 2 inches of water. Put a lid on the pot and put the pot on the burner on high heat.
While waiting for the pot to boil, you can quarter an onion and chop some garlic and add it to the pot. You can also add a bit of salt and pepper. When the pot comes to a boil, turn the heat down to low or medium low and let the water come to a simmer. When the water is simmering, cover the pot and let the livers simmer for about 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes of simmering, check the livers for doneness. They should be cooked through with just a bit of lighter color in the center. The longer you cook the livers, the more dry they become. If you are going to make a liver spread, then don’t worry if you over cook them. A more dry, grainy feel is good for a spread.
When the livers are cooked, drain them. If you are making a pate or spread, mash the livers while they are still hot them let the mashed livers cool. You can then add your pate seasonings.
If you have a fussy cat or dog, adding a bit of simmered chicken livers to their food might get them to devour their meal. Just skip the seasonings and simmer in plain water. Ask your veterinarian if you have any concerns about feeding your pet chicken liver.