Calf’s liver with a ginger, pecan and thyme sauce

Calf’s liver with a ginger, pecan and thyme sauce

Leiths How to Cook
Peter Cassidy


Quantity Ingredient
4 pieces calf’s liver, each about 170 g
2 cm piece fresh root ginger
50g pecan nuts
1/2 bunch thyme
plain flour, to dust
30g butter
2 tablespoons hazelnut oil
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons madeira
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
300ml Brown chicken and veal stock
1 teaspoon cornflour
freshly ground black pepper
parsnip crisps, to serve (see note)


  1. Heat the oven to 120°C.
  2. Trim the liver, removing the fine outer membrane and any large tubes. Peel and grate the ginger, roughly chop the pecans and finely chop enough thyme leaves to give you ½–1 tablespoon.
  3. Season the flour with salt and pepper, add the liver pieces and shake off any excess; there should be only a very fine coating.
  4. Heat the butter with 1 tablespoon of the hazelnut oil in a large frying pan over a medium to high heat until foaming. Add the liver to the pan and fry for about 1–2 minutes on each side, depending on thickness, until well browned on the outside but pale pink in the middle. Drain well and keep warm in the low oven.
  5. Pour off the excess fat and deglaze the pan with a little water, tipping out and reserving these pan juices if they are not bitter.
  6. Heat the remaining oil in the frying pan over a low to medium heat and add the ginger, pecans, thyme and sugar. Cook for 1 minute, then add the orange juice, Madeira, balsamic vinegar and stock, together with any reserved pan juices, and simmer for 2–4 minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust the flavours and seasoning if necessary. Slake the cornflour with a little water into the sauce and bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring to thicken it to a lightly syrupy consistency.
  7. Serve the liver with the sauce and parsnip crisps.


  • To make parsnip crisps, slice parsnips very finely, on a mandolin if possible. Soak in cold water for 10 minutes to remove some of the surface starch. Dry the slices thoroughly in a clean tea towel. One-third fill a large, deep, heavy saucepan with oil and heat gently to 193°C. To test the temperature add a parsnip slice or two; if the parsnips rise to the surface within a minute or so, the oil is ready. Alternatively, drop a small piece of bread in the oil; it should sizzle gently and brown in 30 seconds.

    Fry the chips in small batches. Lower the first batch into the hot oil and gently move them around with a slotted metal spoon to prevent them from sticking together. As the parsnip slices cook and dry out, they will rise to the surface. Allow them to cook a little longer until they are crisp and light golden, around 2–3 minutes. Using the slotted spoon, remove the parsnip slices from the oil, drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat with the remaining parsnip slices. Serve immediately or keep the chips crisp in a warm oven with the door ajar until you are ready to serve.
Leiths School of food and wine
cookery course
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