Bolognese Sauce with Chicken Liver

I’m finding all sorts of new ways to sneak liver into my meals in order to meet my weekly quota. Liver makes a great addition to an acidic sauce like this traditional bolognese because it adds richness and depth, not to mention lots of vitamins and minerals. After doing a little research, I found that it wasn’t unheard of to use chicken livers in a bolognese sauce back in the day. I really wasn’t surprised about this after I tasted the sauce – it really is made wonderfully creamy with the addition of the livers.

Next on my list is to try this recipe using beef or lamb’s liver. While I really love the flavor of chicken and pork liver, I haven’t yet fully embraced beef or lamb so I still have to hide it in my recipes. I’m hopeful that my taste for it will grow over time, just like it has for runny eggs and strongly flavored cheeses. Heck, if I can eat as much beef liver as I do aged, raw milk cheese, I’ll be set for life!

Bolognese with Chicken Liver

Bolognese Sauce with Chicken Liver
*makes 8-10 servings*

3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, medium dice
2 ribs celery, medium dice
1 medium carrot, medium dice
5-6 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 # ground chuck
Two 28 oz. cans whole, peeled tomatoes, crushed a bit in a ziptop bag
1 ½ C. dry white wine
3 lush sprigs thyme
¼ tsp. nutmeg
½ # chicken livers
S & P

Sauté the onions, celery, and carrots in the olive oil over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes or until very soft. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook 2-3 minutes more until fragrant. Add the ground beef and season very generously with salt and pepper. As it browns, break the meat up with a wooden spoon. Once mostly browned and crumbly, add the crushed tomatoes, wine, thyme, and nutmeg and bring to a simmer.

Simmer the sauce, uncovered, for one hour until slightly reduced.  Add the whole chicken livers to the simmering sauce and gently submerge.  Allow them to cook for 6-8 minutes of until firm. Once they are just cooked through, remove the livers with tongs and transfer to a blender along with about one cup of the sauce. Puree until smooth and then return the mixture to the simmering sauce and stir together thoroughly.

Taste the bolognese for salt before serving or cooling to store. We enjoyed ours over zucchini noodles that I sliced on a mandoline and topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano.  I think this sauce would also be delicious over baked spaghetti squash.

Bolognese over Zucchini Noodles

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