Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Chicken Livers and Pears in a Port Wine Reduction Sauce

I am not a big cook. Even though I can, after cooking for a family for 20 years, and that was by no means every night, I am just tired of it. That being the case, living on a budget in an expensive city has caused me to have to do it. I am actually enjoying it since I can cook what I want, when I want it. That is a big difference! Also, the ingredients that I have to choose from at the market are unusual and make it a lot of fun.

This morning I went shopping at the Mercato Centrale. It is the large food market in San Lorenzo. The first floor has butcher shops, poultry shops, fish shops, cheese and wine, and the second floor is all fresh produce. It is a blast to shop here for the freshest food possible, that the vendors bring in every morning, and it is also a good chance to practice my Italian, since most of the vendors do not speak English. There are a lot of tourists in the market looking at the foods, but since most are staying in hotels, and not cooking for themselves, few buy.

I like shopping for the produce because it is unbelievably fresh and beautiful, and you can buy it in as large or small quantities as you like. You know in the grocery, sometimes things are already packaged, and it is never just enough for one person. This way, I can buy a small amount and it is less wasteful, and easier on the budget!

While shopping today, I passed the poultry shop and noticed that they had "fegato di pollo". Chicken livers. Chicken livers are a Tuscan specialty and are usually served as a warm pate on top of crostini (toasted garlic bread). You will see it on every menu in Florence, and it is called Crostini Toscana. I happen to love chicken livers and also foie gras (Duck liver).

Before I left for Italy, Amy and I, and her sister Cheryl and their friend (now mine also) Betty went to New York City- (see posting about the farewell tour). While in NYC, we ate at a small Italian restaurant and they had a dish on the menu as an appetizer called: Chicken Livers and Pears with a Port Wine Reduction Sauce.

When I saw the chicken livers in the poultry case, that dish jumped immediately to mind! I purchased 1/4 kilo (about ½ pound) and hurried home to whip up the dish.

Once I got here, I realized that I had no Port Wine, but a quick trip downstairs and next door to the market resolved that!

Here is the recipe:

½ small onion
1 very large clove of garlic (or several small, to taste)
olive oil
½ lb. Chicken livers (cut into bite size pieces)
1 pear
2 cups port wine
In a small sauce pan, heat the port wine to a simmer and allow it to reduce to half.
In a skillet, put the onion (chopped) and garlic (chopped) into the oil and saute until translucent.
Add the chicken livers and more olive oil if needed and brown well. Salt to taste.

Once the port wine has reduced to half, add it to the chicken liver mixture and allow it to reduce further. Serve with sliced pears as a garnish on the plate as an appetizer, or main dish.

I know this might be a little adventurous for some of you, but chicken livers are cheap. Try it!.

No comments: