Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals #12: Liver & Bacon

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.

Liver & Bacon

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.

Gravy and liver ingredients

For the veg: potatoes, silverbeet, and lemon.

Veg ingredients

And the ingredients for the dessert: tinned peaches, raspberries, elderflower cordial, custard, Greek yogurt, vanilla, and shortbread biscuits.

Dessert ingredients

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!

Pots and pans

And we’re off! We started with the dessert by pouring the syrup from the peaches into the saucepan and getting it boiling.

Syrup cooking

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.)

Cleaning the liver

While he was doing that, I got the potatoes going. Here they’re all scrubbed and I’m cutting them into chunks.

Potatoes

The potatoes go into the bottom of the steamer pan with salt and boiling water from the kettle.

Cooking the potatoes

Next on the list is the gravy. I quickly sliced up all the onions in the food processor.

Sliced red onions

The peaches and raspberries get dumped into the syrup to cook and reduce.

Cooking the fruit

The gravy begins by cooking the onions with fresh rosemary, honey, and garlic.

Cooking the onions

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.

All three burners going!

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.

Silverbeet stalks

The leaves got roughly chopped and then put in the basket on top of the stalks. The lid went on so they could steam.

Silverbeet leaves

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!)

Bacon

The onions are getting all caramelised and nice and mushy!

Caramelised onions

The crisp bacon goes out of the pan onto a plate.

Finished bacon

Next step for the gravy: adding flour, red wine, balsamic vinegar, and the beef stock cube.

Gravy

The Snook has got the liver cleaned and sliced. He’s now seasoning it with salt and pepper.

Liver slices

We added boiled water to the gravy to get it to a nice consistency.

Gravy

Now the liver slices are getting dusted with flour.

Floured liver

And into the pan they go! They’re cooking in all that lovely bacon grease.

Cooking the liver

The potatoes are done cooking and I’ve just drained them here.

Cooked potatoes

After exactly three minutes, the liver got turned over.

Liver

Gravy is just about finished!

Finished gravy

Here’s the completed “smashed potatoes.” They’ve been mushed up with olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon rind.

Smashed potatoes

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.)

Nearly done liver

The finished greens. They’re dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Greens

And the finished liver with bacon!

Finished liver and bacon

The gravy went into a gravy boat.

Gravy boat

The completed main meal: smashed potatoes, liver and bacon, onion gravy, and greens.

Completed meal

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.

Completed dessert

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!

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4 Comments

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  1. Two things:

    1. Microwave the bacon – you won’t notice the difference. I actually prefer it microwave when it’s lean and fried when it’s streaky.
    2. The liver needs to be coated with flour – not just dusted. We’ve always stuck liver throught a floured plate like a batter than leave it dry. It seems to require less preciseness but still be careful.
    Otherwise – good job with limited space.

  2. What do you think about the taste of the liver? I tend to give mine a good soak in milk for a few hours to extract some of the “scum” (the milk turns a horrible pink colour, which you then discard). I also like doing liver “chicken-fried-steak” style. but again, it’s tough doing this in 30 minutes.

    In other news, the lam from Series 2 Episode 6 of 30 minute meals is awesome. The technique is different to what I normally do, but you get this awesome “crust” on the lamb.

  3. Ciaran – I think the real point of the bacon was just getting the drippings to cook the liver in. If you did it in the microwave, you wouldn’t have that.

    Toast – we wondered about that. The recipe didn’t say anything about soaking it. We decided to follow it as written, but I’ll be interested to see if he does it any differently on the show. It was “offal-flavoured,” I guess, which Rodd actually likes. I didn’t mind it. The texture was the bigger issue.

  4. I slice the liver, then clean it. It’s easier to see the tough bits when it’s in pieces. I agree with Toast – dredge the liver with flour and you get a bit of a crust which protects the inside so it can stay a bit juicy. But I haven’t soaked it in milk. And don’t overcook! The onion gravy sounds great – I’ll have to try that with sausages.

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