Seared Calf’s Liver with Pancetta and Red Wine Sauce

Temps des Fêtes 2012
food and drink

BY: Julia Aitken

Mashed potatoes are a must with this comforting dinner. The red-wine pan sauce is a classic technique and can be used with any pan-seared meat, such as steaks, pork chops or chicken breasts (with any of these, omit the flour and simply season with salt and pepper to taste).

2 to 3 tbsp (30 to 45 mL) olive oil
4 slices pancetta, about 3 oz (90 g)
1½ lbs (750 g) thinly sliced calf’s liver
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup (125 mL) all-purpose flour
2 to 3 tbsp (30 to 45 mL) unsalted butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 cup (250 mL) robust red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
1 cup (250 mL) low-sodium beef stock
1 tbsp (15 mL) good-quality balsamic vinegar
1 bushy sprig thyme
2 tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped parsley

1 In a large heavy skillet, heat 2 tbsp (30 mL) oil over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook, turning once or twice, until golden and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate.

2 Sprinkle liver on both sides with salt and pepper to taste. Dredge in flour to coat completely.

3 Increase heat to medium-high. Cook half of liver in fat remaining in skillet for 45 to 60 seconds on each side, until golden brown on the outside but still pink in the middle (do not overcook). Remove liver from skillet and keep warm. Add remaining oil to skillet, if necessary, and repeat with remaining liver.

4 Use a spatula to remove any blackened flour from skillet, leaving the caramelized brown bits behind.

5 Reduce heat to medium-low. Add 1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 30 mL) butter to skillet, depending on how much fat remains. When butter foams, add shallot and cook, stirring often, until softened but not browned, 1 to 2 minutes.

6 Add red wine, stock, vinegar and thyme to skillet. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from bottom of skillet. Let bubble, stirring often, until liquid has reduced to about ¾ cup (175 mL) and has thickened slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. Discard thyme sprig.

7 Remove skillet from the heat and whisk in remaining 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary.

8 Divide liver and pancetta among 4 dinner plates. Drizzle with reduced red wine sauce and sprinkle with parsley.

Serves 4

What to Serve

Stock Type270389