Chicken liver is packed with nutrients but its strong flavor makes it a controversial choice in many households, including ours. In fact, I am not sure that any of us actually likes the flavor but my mom and I in particular see a strong relationship between eating it and feeling good. It’s a go-to food for stressful times. Because of the potential for liver to house heavy metals and other potentially harmful components, this is also the one food in which we do not compromise on quality — if it’s not organic from an animal eating a grass-based diet (or bugs in the case of chickens), we do not eat it.
This casserole, similar to “dirty rice,” masks the strong flavor of chicken liver well. Serve the casserole with barbecue chicken, grilled steak, or lamb shish kebob. Serve sliced heirloom tomatoes on the side.
4 thin slices provolone or Swiss (optional and to taste)
Steam rice with sage leaves (if available) and 1 tsp salt. Plan in advance and soak the rice beforehand to reduce the phytic acid in rice and to improve its texture, if you are using brown rice.
Sautee garlic and red pepper flakes for 30 seconds over medium heat; add onion; add celery and carrots about two minutes later. Sautee until the vegetables begin to soften. Sprinkle a teaspoon of salt over the vegetables as they cook.
Add chicken livers. Stir gently two or three times. They will not take more than ten minutes to cook.
As livers become cooked, break them up gently with a spatula or knife into small pieces. Do not mash them unless you are seeking a pate-like consistency.
Add parsley and lemon thyme. Toss.
Add liver mixture to rice. Toss.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Pour into buttered casserole dish (2 quart size). Pack down. Sprinkle with grated or thinly sliced provolone or Swiss.
Place in a 450-degree oven until cheese is melted.