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Calves' Livers with Caramelised Onions recipe

Calves' Livers with Caramelised Onions recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Offal
  • Liver

A super-easy dish, which is packed full of delicious flavours. Calves' livers are pan-seared and served with caramelised onions. For the best results, be sure not to overcook the livers.

134 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 50g butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons caster sugar
  • 450g calves' livers
  • 4 tablespoons plain flour
  • 15g butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:20min ›Ready in:30min

  1. In a medium frying pan, melt 50g butter over medium heat. Stir in onion and saute until softened. Stir in sugar and continue to cook until onion caramelises.
  2. Rinse liver and remove thin outer membrane. Slice liver into 5mm to 1.25cm thick slices.
  3. Heat remaining butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat
  4. Dredge liver in flour and brown in melted butter for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve livers smothered with caramelised onions.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(178)

Reviews in English (132)

by Andytofu

Tonight's liver & onions entree was the best I've ever eaten in my lifetime. The liver was very tender and mild flavored. Perhaps contributing to the tenderness was the fact I did soak the liver in milk first for about four hours. Also, it seemed one teaspoon sugar was adequate because I used sweet Spanish onion, sliced rather than diced. Another thing I did was cut the liver slices into smaller pieces, added salt and onion powder to flour, and after dredging, browned quickly in batches. This recipe as I made tonight is company perfect--absolutely delicious for liver lovers and a special taste treat for those who say they don't care for liver.-17 Oct 2007

by Joyce

I made a liver lover out of my sweetheart with this recipe!I did not cut the liver up but did add cooked crumbled bacon as a topping. I served with potaoe halfs filled with butter, bacon, melted cheddar cheese and topped with the sour cream.-21 Feb 2008


I loved liver and onions before this recipe,now I love it even more! Thank you so much for this recipe.I make it often,and have made non-liver-eaters fans for life! Thanks again!-06 Dec 2006

Calves’ liver with sticky onion relish & prosciutto

To make the relish, put the onions, juniper and thyme in a large saucepan, season with 1 tsp salt and a little pepper. Cook on a high heat for 10 mins, stirring regularly as the onions start to soften. Add the vinegar, sugar and 100ml water. Cover, boil for 5 mins, then uncover and simmer gently for 5 mins or until soft and with a little juice remaining. Meanwhile, remove large tubes, membrane or gristle from the liver. Pat dry with kitchen paper.

Heat 1 tsp oil in a large frying pan and add the prosciutto. Fry for 1 min each side or until golden and crisp. Set aside on a plate and keep warm in a low oven.

Add a splash more oil to the pan. Dust the liver slices in the flour and pat away any excess. Place the liver in the hot pan, scatter the sage in, then fry for 1 min each side if the liver is sliced thinly, longer if thicker. When the liver is golden and just pink in the middle, transfer it and the crisped sage to the plate in the oven.

Return the pan to the hob and add the Marsala. Boil until syrupy. Let the butter melt into this sauce, season to taste, then set aside. If your sauce reduces too quickly, just add a little water. Plate up the liver, prosciutto, sage and warm onion relish, then spoon over the sauce. Serve with seasonal greens and potatoes, if you like.

Chicken Livers with Caramelized Onions and Madeira

In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderate heat. Add the onions, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are well browned, about 15 minutes. Remove the onions from the pan and put on a serving platter or individual plates.

In the same frying pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over moderately high heat. Season the chicken livers with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Put the livers in the pan, in two batches if necessary, and cook for 2 minutes. Turn and cook until browned, about 2 minutes longer. The livers should still be pink inside. Remove the chicken livers from the pan and put them on top of the onions.

Return the pan to the heat and add the Madeira. Boil rapidly, scraping the bottom of the pan to dislodge any brown bits, for 1 minute. Pour the sauce over the livers and the onions. Top with the egg and parsley.

Calves' Livers with Caramelised Onions recipe - Recipes

When I am in the mood for a robust traditional meal, there’s nothing more satisfying than a pan-fried veal liver with caramelised shallots and balsamic vinegar. This recipe is inspired from one of my favourite restaurants in Paris, ‘Au Moulin à Vent’, 20 Rue des Fossés-Saint Bernard 75005. They have a ‘foie de veau à la Lyonnaise'(veal liver à la Lyonnaise’) that melts in your mouth with an explosion of perfectly matched flavours. Just mention the magic word ‘Lyon’ and I will get hungry. Lyonnaise food is certainly one of the best in France. In the 19th century, the most popular bouchons (small typical home-style food eatery) and restaurants were run by women from bourgeois families – they were called the ‘Mères’ (mothers). Thanks to their cooking, the Lyonnaise food scene became famous.

I improvised the recipe to my liking, as the original has onions, beef stock and parsley. I use shallots instead. I also got a great tip from my butcher – dredge each liver lightly with flour – the result will be perfect.

4 slices of good-quality veal liver (I like mine not too thick)
4 shallots
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
50 grs butter
4 tbsp olive oil
30 grs plain flour (for dredging)
Salt & pepper
Handful of chopped parsley (optional)

Chop the shallots finely. Set aside. Prepare the veal livers on a plate, and dredge them lightly with plain flour. Shake off any excess flour. Season with salt and pepper.

Melt the butter and olive oil in a large frying pan. Cook livers – I usually fry each sides for 2 minutes max, but if you prefer well-cooked fry or rare you can adapt the timing. Set aside. Add 1 tbsp butter to the same pan, throw in the shallots on high heat and fry until golden brown. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for 1 minute. Serve with shallots on top of the livers. Sprinkle with parsley (optional), season with salt and pepper, and serve with mashed potatoes.

Begin with the first frying pan by heating 1 tablespoon of the oil over a high heat, then add the onions and, keeping the heat fairly high, toss them around to brown to a dark – almost black – colour round the edges.

You'll need to keep them on the move and it will take about 10 minutes. Then add the garlic and toss that round the pan, now pour in the Marsala and balsamic vinegar. Then bring everything up to a gentle simmer, season with salt and freshly milled black pepper then turn the heat down to its lowest setting and let it just barely bubble (without covering) for about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare the liver by slicing it into approximately 1½ inch (4 cm) lengths, keeping the lengths very thin (about the size of thin French fries).

When the 45 minutes are up, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil along with the butter in the other frying pan and, then when the butter foams, add the liver slices and sear them very briefly. They take only about 1-2 minutes to brown, so do be careful as over-cooking will dry them too much.

As soon as they're ready tip them into a warmed serving dish, pour the hot sauce and onions from the other pan over them and serve immediately.

Liver and onions

Lamb's liver is lovely - but you'll struggle to get it fresh at this time of year. Over the winter, much of the liver stock has been previously frozen - even if it's from a supermarket butcher's counter. A local butcher *may* have fresh, but it's by no means guaranteed.

However, liver does survive modern freezing and defrosting techniques pretty well, so I wouldn't let it put you off.

Coat in seasoned flour, lightly fry with some caramelised onions and smoked streaky bacon. Add a little stock, which will thicken into a gravy. Watch you don't over-cook. Keep it slightly pink in the middle.

Ox and pig's liver have much stronger tastes, so I generally avoid - however, Lidl do a frozen calf's liver, which is really rather good.

Calf's liver. Just delicious.

This is without a doubt the most delicious recipe I have tried:

The liver is a detoxifying organ and lamb is at least grass-fed and free-range while pigs are fed all sorts of horrible st. I only eat organic chicken livers for the same reason.

Liver is delicious turned in seasoned flour then pan-fried in butter with a splash of marsala and some stock added to the pan to make a gravy.

Calves' livers every time.
. and bacon - really good quality bacon!

Lamb's liver, done in seasoned flour with gently fried onions and bacon. The bacon is best done separately so it crisps, then mix with the liver and gravy in a pan. The liver should be cooked on a moderate heat, quickly. Pink in the very middle, in a rich gravy with loads of buttered mash.

If I was eating at home I'd sooner have liver than steak.

If its Pigs liver then:
One of my favourites, Fegato alla veneziana

Otherwise Lambs liver every time.

Calf's liver. Just delicious.

This is without a doubt the most delicious recipe I have tried:

Thanks for that, just printed it off. Some recipes just shout at you, and that certainly has at me.

Have some veal liver in the freezer , just the job.

This is worth a go for all you liver lovers

Calf's liver. Just delicious.

This is without a doubt the most delicious recipe I have tried:

Thanks for that, just printed it off. Some recipes just shout at you, and that certainly has at me.

The Cottage Smallholder

I found some calves liver knocked down to half price in Waitrose last weekend and bunged it in the freezer. Danny is a big eater and normally I’d have to shell out over seven quid for the two of us at full price. Generally my trolley wheels glide hopefully up to the calves liver section only to spin silently towards the sausages. It was the first time in five years that I found enough calves liver for under £3.50. I was jubilant as I swung the carrier through the front door. I knew that Danny wasn’t impressed but he was too polite to say.

Last night everything changed.

Sometimes the simplest recipe is best if you are lucky to find really good meat. It was Danny’s turn to cook.
“These slices of liver are so thin,” he held them gingerly and examined the back of the pack for the cooking method. His nose also pointed to the cookery books in the kitchen. His final recipe was a combination of the pack instructions and the Gary Rhodes tip – point 4.

When he took the first mouthful he twinkled and nodded and slowed right down to savour the combination of tastes. Soft calves liver, with fresh spinach and champ (creamed potatoes with spring onion). A perfect combination.


The onion accompaniment takes some of its sweet-sour notes from a Seville orange and vincotto. A sharpish orange and balsamic vinegar will make a fair substitute. Serves 4.

For the onion relish:
onions 4
butter 25g
olive oil 2 tbsp
yellow mustard seeds 1 tsp
raisins 2 tbsp
Seville orange 1
cider vinegar 1 tbsp
vincotto 2 tsp

For the liver:
streaky bacon or pancetta 8 rashers
sea-salt flakes ½ tsp
black peppercorns 6vbutter 35g
sage leaves 4
lamb's liver 400g

Peel the onions, halve them and cut each half into six thick segments. Put these in a shallow, heavy-based pan with the butter and oil and let them cook over a low heat until soft. The slower they cook the better, so expect them to take up to 25 minutes. Stir regularly so they don't stick.

When the onions are soft, add the mustard seeds and raisins and continue cooking. Grate the zest from the orange, add to the onions then squeeze in the juice. Season with the cider vinegar, a little salt and black pepper and leave to cook for a further 5-10 minutes. Stir in the vincotto.

Fry the bacon on a nonstick pan until crisp then remove and keep warm. Grind the salt, pepper and sage with pestle and mortar then mix in the butter. Melt in the pan in which you cooked the bacon. Lower the seasoned liver into the pan. Fry for a minute or two until lightly browned, then turn over and cook the other side.

Divide the onion relish between four hot plates then add the liver and the bacon.

Sautéed Calf’s Liver

Editor's Note:A truly special occasion calls for a truly special meal! This recipe by the famed Julia Child is one that will be suitable for just about any milestone event. This Sautéed Calf’s Liver recipe is actually easy to make and will be a change up from your usual go-to dinner options. While you can serve this calf's liver recipe with an assortment of your favorite side dishes, consider branching out a bit and trying Child's own recipe for Braised Rice: Risotto to include in the menu. Two variations on this classic recipe included following the recipe's instructions below.

Here is the master recipe for a simple sauté of calf’s liver, which cooks hardly more than a minute on each side. Overcooked liver is gray, dry, and disappointing—perfectly sautéed, it is a rosy pink when you cut into it.

Recipe Course Main Course

Five Ingredients or Less Yes

Taste and Texture Meaty, Savory


  • 4 slices or about 1 pound top-quality calf's liver sliced ½ inch thick
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup or so flour in a plate
  • 3 tablespoons clarified butter, or butter and light olive oil or peanut oil
  • Equipment
  • A heavy 10-inch frying pan, no-stick recommended


Sautéing: ​The moment before sautéing, season the liver on both sides with a sprinkling of salt and pepper, and dredge in the flour, shaking off excess. Set the frying pan over high heat and film with 1/16 inch of clarified butter or butter and oil. When very hot, lay in the liver and sauté 1 minute on each side.

When is it done? It should be barely springy when pressed with your finger, and a deep pinky red when you cut into a piece. Serve as is, or try one of the suggestions that follow.

Variation: Calf's Liver and Bacon

Cook 2 slices of bacon per person and keep warm on a plate lined with paper towels. Pour the bacon fat into a small bowl, wipe the pan clean, and spoon in clear bacon fat. Use that rather than butter for sautéing, to give the liver a special flavor. Serve the bacon with the liver.

Variation: Sautéed Calf's Liver with Wine and Mustard Sauce (for Four Servings)

Mustard Sauce:
1 tablespoon Dijon-type prepared mustard
1/4 cup beef or chicken stock
1/4 cup dry white French vermouth

Ingredients for Sautéed Calf's Liver:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon minced shallot or scallion
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Whisk the mustard, stock, and vermouth in a small bowl.

Sauté the liver and remove to hot plates or a hot platter.

Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, add the tablespoon of butter, and sauté the shallot or scallion in the pan for a moment blend in the mustard mixture and simmer a moment or two, until the sauce has thickened lightly.


Preheat a large non-stick skillet to medium heat.

Season the liver with salt, and garlic powder.

Add the butter to the skillet, once melted add the liver.

Let it cook for about 3 minutes and flip.

Add onions, lower the heat and cover with a lid.

Let it cook for another 5 minutes or until the onions are soft and the liver is fully cooked and serve.

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Serving Size 1

Servings 4

Amount Per Serving Calories 253 % Daily Value * Total Fat 13g 20 % Total Carbohydrate 7g 3 % Net Carbohydrate 6g 2 % Dietary Fiber 1g 4 % Protein 27g 54 %

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


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