I was delighted when I found this little volume it a second-hand shop in Fakenham in Norfolk. I’m not sure what it was called, but I know it had moved some distance to its new premises there. It sold some books, some furniture, records, coins and miscelleany. The man was valuing a home-made exploding warship when I was in there. The explosion was caused by a mousetrap! But I digress …
I really love cookery books from the 1970s and 1980s. This gem was published in 1984, fulfilling the niche in the cookery bookmarket. It was designed “for those who are buying (or thinking of buying) their first slow cooker, as well as the expert” – something for everyone you may say. In the introduction, it’s still women who do cooking. Men can’t. Wrong sized hands. My favourite section is about Who uses a slow cooker? and it lists Students, People out at Work, Mothers and Old Folks. So most people, right? Not fathers though. You couldn’t say that EVERYONE uses a slow cooker. Not yet, anyway.
The other reason apart from the sexism that I love these books is because they often have several offal recipes. Some of which have a continental influence! *Gasps*
So to dip my toes into the “Properly Explained” world of Slow Cookery, I started with a liver recipe.
I’m still working out my relationship with liver. I really like it, in all the species, but it is very much an offal you have to treat with respect. Ox-tail you can do what you want with and as long as you cook it long enough, it’ll be lovely. Liver, I believe, could turn against you if you’re not kind to it.
So I gently stroked my lamb’s liver and whispered to it: “If you could become one of the recipes from Slow Cooking Properly Explained, which one would you like to be?” And the liver said “I would like to be Liver Austrian Style”. Who am I to refuse a dead organ’s last wishes?
Liver Austrian Style
LOW 3 – 10 hours
1 lb sliced lamb/pork liver, 300ml milk, 25g butter, 1 finely chopped onion, 100g sliced chestnut mushrooms, 1 tbsp flour, 1 tsp salt, black pepper, bouquet garni, 300ml stock, 3 tbsp cream
If your liver isn’t fresh or you are worried about the quality of it then you’ll need to soak it in the milk for 8 hours before cooking it. Put it in a bowl, cover with the milk and refrigrate for 8 hours. When you’re ready to use it, drain it, discard the milk and pat the liver dry with kitchen roll.
To make the dish: in a large pan gently fry the onion in the butter until softened but not browned. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further minute on a low heat. Toss the liver in the flour and brown it quickly on both sides, stirring to keep the meat separate. Add the seasoning, bouquet garni and stock. Bring to the boil, stirring consistently until sauce has thickened. Transfer to the slow cooker and cook for the recommended time (above). Just before serving remove the bouquet garni, stir in the cream and serve with wither buttered noodles (?) or rice! I served ours with kale not carbs.
What you can also do is just throw everything in the slow cooker (apart from the cream) and it all cooks fine. I did this because there were no clean pans and I was too tired to wash one.
As a note on liver, if you look carefully in the picture above, you can see holes where the veins ran through the organ, They need removing before cooking. Here I am putting my left index finger through one. This was lamb’s liver that we used. Just saying. That means their veins are the size of our fingers. GIANT LAMBS roaming Wensleydale, bleating that not enough people eat their organs after they die. I did my duty. It was good.