Devilled chicken livers on toast with watercress

Devilled chicken livers on toast with watercress

The Sunday Night Book
Patricia Niven

Devilled kidneys are definitely on the shortlist of things I would happily eat on a regular basis, but I know not everyone shares my taste for kidneys. Chicken livers done in the same manner are great, too, and I imagine have a wider appeal – just make sure you buy the very best chicken livers. They are quite rich and so a little devilling is a good foil.


Quantity Ingredient
300g chicken livers
2 heaped tablespoons plain flour
1 generous teaspoon english mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons sunflower or rapeseed oil
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
100ml chicken or vegetable stock
30g butter
bunch watercress
splash extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons capers
sea salt
black pepper
3 thick slices toast of your choice, to serve


  1. Trim the livers of any sinew and discolouration. In a shallow dish, mix together the flour, mustard powder and cayenne. Season with salt and pepper and combine thoroughly. Dust the chicken livers with the flour, shaking off any excess and spreading them out on a plate.
  2. Heat a large, heavy-based frying pan over a high heat, add the sunflower oil and, when hot, carefully add the chicken livers in a single layer. Once they are all in and sizzling nicely, turn the heat down a little to let them cook: you want a decent amount of heat to create a crisp devilish coat but not too much so that they char on the outside or become dry and rubbery inside. Turn the livers after a minute or so and cook on the other side for another minute, then lift them out onto a warm plate. Quickly splash the sherry vinegar and Worcestershire sauce into the frying pan and let them bubble away to almost nothing, then quickly pour in the chicken stock, stirring to deglaze the pan and capture all the flavours – I go at it with a whisk! Once the stock has reduced and thickened a little, swirl in the butter. Return the livers to the pan for a moment or two just to warm them through.
  3. Meanwhile, dress the watercress with the olive oil and capers and season with salt and pepper. Pile the watercress onto the warm toasts, divide the livers between them and strain the devilish liquor over the top.
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