Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals #12: Liver & Bacon
This is our 12th cooking/blogging experiment from Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals. I knew the lucky streak had to end at some point! This was was a DUD. I was feeling cocky so we decided to go for another “challenging” meal: Liver & Bacon, Onion Gravy, Smashed Potato, Dressed Greens, and Berry & Custard Ripple. Unfortunately we ran into a lot of problems. We didn’t have the matching TV episode (as far as I can tell, it hasn’t aired yet anywhere), so we were working from just the recipe. It wasn’t til after we bought all the ingredients that we realised it was going to require FOUR stove burners… and we only have three. So we had to get creative. I’d like to say it was all worth it in the end, but to be honest, I found this one pretty underwhelming.
Substitutions and changes: We used the potatoes we had on hand, rather than the red-skinned called for in the recipe. We couldn’t find calves’ liver and had to settle for lambs’ liver. For the “seasonal greens,” we went with silverbeet. Our fresh berries were raspberries, and the tinned fruit was peaches.
Quick verdict: Meh. It was liver. I haven’t had it very often, and I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan. We tried to cook it to specification but it was still a bit tough and dry. (The Snook thinks it was overcooked.) The mash, greens, and gravy were all fine, if a bit ordinary. The dessert was kind of a mess. There wasn’t really a good photo in the book, so we had to just follow the instructions. Total elapsed time was 46:11, but given our cooktop limitations, you can’t really go by that. I rated it a 7 out of 10, while the Snook gave it an 8. Read on for photos of the preparation.Pre-start prep: We got out all the necessary ingredients, tools, and cooking vessels. The kitchen was clean (well, as clean as it gets) and everything wiped down and ready to go. We needed FOUR pans: a frying pan for the bacon and liver; a frying pan for the gravy, a saucepan for the fruit, and a big steamer pot for the veg. We also needed our awesome food processor with the slicer disc.
First, the ingredients for the gravy: red onions, rosemary, honey, garlic, flour, red wine, balsamic vinegar, and a beef stock cube. Also the ingredients for the liver: smoked bacon, liver, flour, and rosemary.
For the veg: potatoes, silverbeet, and lemon.
And the ingredients for the dessert: tinned peaches, raspberries, elderflower cordial, custard, Greek yogurt, vanilla, and shortbread biscuits.
We needed a lot of pots and pans! (Our steamer basket is only a single level unlike the triple-level one Jamie suggested.) Such a lot of complications for such a boring meal!
And we’re off! We started with the dessert by pouring the syrup from the peaches into the saucepan and getting it boiling.
The Snook set to work cleaning up the liver. This took a while. The lamb’s liver was pretty, uh, “veiny.” (I mostly left him alone with this as I’d never have been able to eat it otherwise.)
While he was doing that, I got the potatoes going. Here they’re all scrubbed and I’m cutting them into chunks.
The potatoes go into the bottom of the steamer pan with salt and boiling water from the kettle.
Next on the list is the gravy. I quickly sliced up all the onions in the food processor.
The peaches and raspberries get dumped into the syrup to cook and reduce.
The gravy begins by cooking the onions with fresh rosemary, honey, and garlic.
This is where we had to get creative with the burners. The fruit actually went into the oven so we could get the bacon cooking.
Now for the greens, which go into the steamer basket above the potatoes. I sliced the stalks of the silverbeat in the food processor and then put them in the basket.
The leaves got roughly chopped and then put in the basket on top of the stalks. The lid went on so they could steam.
The bacon is starting to look cooked! (The fancy bacon we used actually cost four times as much as the liver. That’s the one argument in favour of eating liver: it’s bloody cheap!)
The onions are getting all caramelised and nice and mushy!
The crisp bacon goes out of the pan onto a plate.
Next step for the gravy: adding flour, red wine, balsamic vinegar, and the beef stock cube.
The Snook has got the liver cleaned and sliced. He’s now seasoning it with salt and pepper.
We added boiled water to the gravy to get it to a nice consistency.
Now the liver slices are getting dusted with flour.
And into the pan they go! They’re cooking in all that lovely bacon grease.
The potatoes are done cooking and I’ve just drained them here.
After exactly three minutes, the liver got turned over.
Gravy is just about finished!
Here’s the completed “smashed potatoes.” They’ve been mushed up with olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon rind.
Rosemary is added to the liver to finish. It was supposed to cook for exactly two minutes on the second side, but the Snook reckons we were slow getting it out of the pan. (Hence the overcooking.)
The finished greens. They’re dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
And the finished liver with bacon!
The gravy went into a gravy boat.
The completed main meal: smashed potatoes, liver and bacon, onion gravy, and greens.
The dessert instructions basically have you dump everything into a bowl and then swirl it around. (No, really.) It’s… not that attractive. But hey, custard, yogurt, and fruit are good.
Tasting notes: My response was “Meh.” The Snook says: “I overcooked the liver. I did what the recipe said but you’ve got to be really tight on the timing, I guess. The dessert lacked structure but it was very tasty. It was just, like, ‘stuff.'” Yup, pretty much. I’ll be interested to finally see the episode for this one to see if there are any tricks to make it better. Because otherwise, I don’t see us repeating this one anytime soon.
Stay tuned next week for another recipe from Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals!