Liver and Onions

Yep, liver and onions. It’s a meal that for many bring bad memories of childhood. You know, the kind of meal where those children with dogs begging for scraps next to the table felt blessed. (So did the dogs!) For my husband and I, though, it’s a bit of a different story.

We love liver and onions.

We both ate this often growing up. I imagine it was because liver was a cheap source of vitamin-rich protein. (Still is!) As we grew older, when we occasionally visited that mecca of a cafeteria known around these parts as Luby’s (which, to be clear, is nowhere near as tasty as I remember it when I was a child), one of the favorites to order was the liver and onions. (Next to the macaroni and cheese, of course!) I’m glad to share this craving with someone else in our home, because, when prepared correctly, it is indeed delicious!

When searching for liver at the grocery, you should look for calves’ liver, which is milder and less bitter than beef liver. You should also try to look for naturally-raised when possible. It may be found in the frozen section, but you can ask the guy at the meat counter, and he should be able to direct you. If you have a butcher that you have become acquainted with, take this opportunity to ask for liver there – it’s more likely you’ll be able to obtain some thick slices and the liver will be of high quality. Thicker slices mean it’s less likely to overcook, giving you tender and flavorful liver.

Liver and Onions, inspired by Luby’s restaurant, converted to gluten-free

2 lbs calves liver (sliced 1/2 inch thick if you can find it – I found some at Sprouts)

2 T butter

1 large onion, sliced

salt and pepper to taste

1 c milk

2 egg whites (or 1 egg)

1/2 c gluten-free breadcrumbs

2 c gluten-free flour blend (I used Pamela’s bread flour)

Salt and pepper to taste

3-4 T canola oil

Soak liver in cold, salted water for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat butter in a large, heavy skillet. Add onion, stirring occasionally, and cook until tender and lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

Rinse liver with cool running water. Pat dry with paper towels.

In a shallow bowl, whisk together milk and egg whites until well-blended. In another shallow bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and flour mix, and season with salt and pepper. Heat canola oil in the skillet to medium heat. Dip each piece into the milk mixture, and then dredge through the flour/crumb mixture. Place a few pieces at a time into the skillet and cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until just cooked through. (Don’t over-cook or liver will become tough.)

Top with onions.

Serves 4-6.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Gluten-Free, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy

26 responses to “Liver and Onions

  1. Looks nice, brown, crispy on the outside and perfectly cooked! I, too, really really LIKE liver and onions, and if it is nice and brown and crispy (but not overcooked) it can truly be delicious. The rest of my family turns up their noses. I may have to come over and eat with you and John when I get a craving for it. Mostly, I just ignore my craving . . . . .

  2. Well although I’m not really a meat girl (let alone liver), I’ve been a sucker for sauteed onions! So that part sound killer to me =D.

  3. I love liver but not onions when I was a kid but now I love them both! This dish sounds yummy! :)

  4. I LOVE liver and onions – but I’ve supressed it because no one I know can stand it. When I was single and poor I used to cook it often because it was so, um, economical. I made mashed potatoes and peas to go with it, and splashed it with red wine while it cooked. Nummy. Brings back fun memories!
    Thanks for that, Alta!

  5. I love liver if they’re cooked correctly. Hard to find a really good liver supplier right now but I’m sure there are still some organic liver available. Thanks for the recipe. Love the combination

  6. boy wish I could have some unfortunately for me allergic to onions….but it looks terrific!

  7. Do you know i LOVE liver and onions? I haven’t had it in years and since it’s unfortunately a haven for cholesterol I probably won’t be eating it anytime soon, but it’s one of those meals that I absolutely love! My husband wouldn’t touch it with a 10 ft. pole, but ahhhh…. this post brings back good memories! I rented a room from a retired school teacher when I first graduated from college and this was one her favorite meals to make! ;-)

  8. My favorite Liver combo is liver and figs. Trust me… you should try it!

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  10. Hi TEAH, this is so good but I have to watch out for the cholesterol in that piece of deliciousness :)) Thanks for sharing it !

  11. we grew up eating a lot of pig’s livers cos they were cheap and my mom said they are very good to our bodies. I have tried the calf’s liver but the smell was too strong for me. I hope to try again.

  12. NICE pic! My hubby and I were just talking about this the other night. He cringes everytime I tell him that this was my FAV dish at Luby’s. It was good stuff I tell you along with some fried okra and mac and cheese. Those were the days.

  13. My favorite . Looks great and yay for liking liver :–)

  14. Gosh… I’m so sorry. I’m not going to touch on these kind of food except pig belly. But it looks really good though!

  15. tastyeatsathome

    Suzanne, Cindy, Nelle Kelly, and Janis – we should form a liver-eating club! Sounds like the strangest thing ever, but hey, we’d all be happy!

    Lauren and Kristy – yeah, there’s not a lot of folks on the fence about liver, it’s either a love it or hate it thing. Yes, those sauteed onions are delicious! Thanks!

    Olive – my husband loves the liver cooked with the onions, but won’t actually eat the onions. :)

    Pegasuslegend – By all means, you could just skip the onions part!

    Carrie and Elin – I totally understand the cholesterol thing! We don’t have it often at our house, so it’s not that much of a bad influence, but if you must watch carefully, then yep, gotta only take a bite or two!

    Katrina – I really do need to try that. Do you just saute the figs?

    MaryMoh – never tried pig’s liver, interesting! The calf’s liver isn’t strong if you soak it first – in salted water, milk, or buttermilk.

    Divina – Thanks!

  16. nutmegnanny

    I also am a big fan of liver and onions. I love that it’s good for you too:) Although even though I like calves liver I cannot stand chicken liver…yuck!

  17. I dunno if I like liver. I love foie gras (of course) … and chicken liver pate … but I don’t remember liking the texture/flavor of just grilled chicken livers … is calf liver harder to eat for a “liver eating beginner”?

  18. You rock for being courageous enough to post about liver and onions…well loved by both me and my mom. My hubby, on the other hand, can hardly stand to be at the same table when my son and I enjoy this dish.

  19. I need to get around to trying this… I know liver is excellent for you and full of vitamins. My dad said he grew up eating this too… and loved it. He wants me to make some soon, but my mom isn’t too excited about it. My hubby had this at a local restaurant and enjoyed it, but thinks I can do better :o) LOL!!

    Well, there’s no excuse now… gotta try this soon!

  20. tastyeatsathome

    Marillyn – You really should try it! If you find a naturally-raised, thickly sliced liver, and if it’s from a calf, it’s usually nice and mild and flavorful!

    Liz – I figured, why not? I know as much as liver gets a bad rap, there are other liver-lovers out there like me! Thank you!

    Jenn – I’m not sure if calf liver is easier or harder to eat for a liver beginner, but this liver, the way I prepared it, was almost sweet. So to me, it’s easier to like than chicken livers. But I do love chicken livers too…pan-fried though, not grilled. I would think if you like pate, then this wouldn’t be so bad! :)

    Nutmegnanny – Growing up we never ate chicken or turkey livers. Always gave them to the dog. Not until I was grown, when I was cooking up turkey livers for my dogs, and my husband came by and snuck bites, did it even occur to me that they were edible. Now I love them too – much to the disappointment of the dogs!

  21. I usually only order liver and onions out because it is difficult to cook it just right. Yours looks great, do you ever make it with bacon?

  22. Actually, liver brings good childhood memories – something that I always used to love to eat! I haven’t had it it a while, looks delicious with onions!

  23. goodieswassa

    I am a liver person :) grilled it, stir-fry it with chives is really good,too :)

  24. Oooooooooooo I LOVE liver!!! Fabulous dish you have created.

  25. tastyeatsathome

    Belinda and Natasha – Thank you!

    Goodieswassa – hhm, chives, sounds tasty!

    Brad – Yes, this is one of the rare times I didn’t make it with bacon, actually! I like it both ways.

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