Liver with onions is a popular, economical, and highly nutritious dish. Beef liver has a strong flavor complemented by the sweetness of the onion. To cook it, it's necessary to pay attention to cooking times to achieve a tender texture, and I share my secrets for tasty, tender liver.
Why we ❤️ it
I love beef liver because it is an inexpensive, easy, and quick dish to prepare. You can get it everywhere, from supermarkets to butcher shops, and it goes perfectly with rice, plantain, cassava, potatoes, and other root vegetables.
It is a complete food that provides many nutrients such as protein, iron, folic acid, iron, vitamin B (folate), and vitamin A.
What is liver with onions
The liver with onions recipe consists of sliced or striped beef liver slices, golden on the outside, juicy on the inside, and sautéed with sliced or julienned onions.
Best type of liver
The liver used in the classic recipe is beef liver. It can be made with calves liver (veal liver) in those countries where it is available.
Although the classic version is made with beef, the preparation is straightforward, and you can make it with chicken liver or pork liver if that is what you like. In some parts of the country, goat liver is also consumed.
Higado encebollado (liver with onions).
- When buying beef liver, make sure it has a firm texture and its appearance is free of spots or bruises. It should have a bright color without being opaque. As for the smell, it should have a meaty aroma, which is not acidic, nor should it smell like sulfuric acid – the characteristic odor of rotten eggs.
- Fresh is better, but you can keep it refrigerated for 1 to 2 days inside an airtight container. It will remain frozen in good condition for 3 to 4 months but loses some of its nutritional properties. To cook it, you just need to transferer it to the fridge to thaw.
- Before preparing it, with the help of a sharp knife, completely remove the membrane lining the edges.
- When the liver is overcooked, it gets hard and dry, with a grainy, chewy texture and with an accentuated bitter taste. It is advisable to cook it just until golden on the outside and slightly pink on the inside, with its internal temperature between 150 °F and 160 °F [65 °C – 71 °C].
- To reduce the intensity of its flavor, you can place it in a bowl and soak it, covering the liver with milk for a minimum of 30 minutes or up to 12 hours before cooking. This resting time will also make it softer and juicier.
- Before seasoning the liver, dry it well with the help of a paper towel. This will allow its surface to be golden and crispier.
- The red bell pepper gives this dish a nice touch of color, but it is optional.
About this recipe
Beef liver is a polarizing food; either you like it, or you don't. If you are on the side of those who love it, this recipe is simple, fast, and highly nutritious. The sweetness of the onions complements the taste of the liver, making it a delicious dish.
It was traditionally made with lard, but it is not typically fried in vegetable oil. You can use either.
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Liver and Onions [Recipe + Video] Higado Encebollado
1. Prepping liver
- Remove all the membrane surrounding the liver. Remove ducts and arteries.Cut the liver into ¼ inch [0.5 cm] slices. Pat dry the surface with a paper towel.
2. Soaking liver
- Place it in a bowl, and soak it previously covering the liver with milk for a minimum of 30 minutes or up to 12 hours. This rest will also make it softer and juicier. Season it with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper.
3. Searing liver
- Heat a large skillet over high heat until very hot.Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil, and sear the liver until well browned, for about 1.5 minutes. If the liver does not detach from the pan, it is not ready to turn yet. Give it a couple of seconds.Turn each piece and brown for an additional minute. At this time, you can check that the internal temperature is between 145 °F and 150 °F [62 °C – 65 °C]. It will finish cooking when you sauté it with the onion. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to do it in one or two batches.Remove it from the pan, place it on a plate and set aside.
4. Cooking the onions
- In the same pan over medium-high heat, place the other tablespoon of oil, melt the butter, and add the onions and bell pepper. Season with the rest of the salt and pepper. Cook and stir the onions until they become translucent and tender.Return the reserved liver to the pan, and sauté it with the onion for a minute.
- Taste and add salt and pepper to taste if necessary. Remove it from the heat. Serve immediately.
Tips and Notes
Nutritional information is calculated automatically based on ingredients listed. Please consult your doctor if you need precise nutrition information.
Soaking the liver in milk helps reduce the intensity of its flavor, so if you are not a fan of its strong flavor, you can do that.
It isn't necessary to rinse liver. The custom of washing meats arises from our grandmothers or great-grandmothers, who consumed meats when the refrigeration and cold chain processes were not necessarily followed correctly. Nowadays, it is advisable to buy it from a trusted butcher or supermarket; that way, we know that the product is fresh and that the protocols were followed correctly.