Monday, September 24, 2007

Give offal a chance: Beef liver gravy, Estonian style

The eGullet Society for Culinary Arts and Letters, or eGullet for short, as some of you may know, is a huge online food forum with thousands of members. I've been a member since February 2006, and although my main food-related online presence is certainly here on Nami-nami, I do use eGullet quite frequently. It's a great source of food-related information and inspiration, though the style and format are very different from foodblogging as we know. Every now and then the hosts of the forum ask one of their members to do a week-long foodblog, where an eGulleteer keeps a picture diary about shopping for food, preparing food, and eating food, with various tidbits about life and food in general thrown in. Well, I had a chance to do one of those eG foodblogs last week, which was fun, if a bit exhausting (I hardly had time to spend with this foodblog!) On the first day, one of the readers asked me if I could cook any exotic meat a la caribou and such like. I jokingly replied that we only eat pork, beef, veal, rabbit/hare, wild boar, venison, elk and brown bear* in Estonia, and none of them qualifies as exotic :) So I decided to go with an unusual cut of meat instead, and do something Estonian with it, and that's how I ended up making an Estonian beef liver gravy, maksakaste.

Beef liver gravy, Estonian style
Adapted from Eesti Köök/Estonian Cooking (2003)

500 grams beef liver, cut into thin long strips (1 cm x 4-5 cm)
2 Tbsp plain/all-purpose flour
1 tsp black pepper
2-3 Tbsp oil
1 onion, finely chopped
200 ml cold water
100 ml sour cream
fresh dill

To serve:
boiled potatoes
fresh dill, finely chopped
salted cucumbers, sliced

Mix flour with pepper.
Cut liver into thin strips**, drench in flour/pepper mix.
Heat oil in a frying pan, add liver and onion and brown on low heat.
Add any leftover flour, add cold water and heat, stirring regularly, until the sauce thickens. Simmer for 5-7 minutes.
Add sour cream, stirring regularly, and simmer on a low heat for another 5 minutes.
Season with salt, garnish with dill.
Serve with boiled potatoes and sliced salted cucumbers.

* I am not claiming that I have tried all those various meats, nor that they're all eaten regularly in Estonia.
** Click here to see a photo with step-by-step instructions.


lobstersquad said...

do you dare post a bear recipe and have the teddybear lobby go after your blood?

Anonymous said...

Nothing you make is off putting. I love the variety of recipes you make here.


Anonymous said...

ma pole viimased 5 aastat vist looma maksa saanud. kuna meil kodus jänesed ja neid pidevalt tapetakse, siis jänese maks on ainus, mida sööme.

mul tuli hoopis pasteedi isu peale.

Kevin Kossowan said...

Props on the offal post. Don't see enough of them around the blogosphere.

Pille said...

Ximena - mmmm, and face the fate of a certain talented foodblogger who dared to use a small animal with long ears in his kitchen? No, thank you:)

Paz - thank you! Beef liver, obviously, isn't a popular ingredient among my readers. Or maybe it's way too common to even trigger a comment? LOL :)

Maarja - K. nõudis ka eile õhtu pasteeti:) Aga jänesemaksa pole mina kunagi saanud. Põnev! Kuidas see maitseb?

Kevin - thank you! You're right - haven't seen many offal posts around indeed..

Anonymous said...

jänese maks meenutab vast pisut kana. järgmine kord kui söön, olen ekstra tähelepanelik.

Pille said...

Põnev! Eks ma järgmine kord pinnin Sind jänesemaksamaitse osas :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a recipe. I have a beef liver and I know now what I'll do :) I've never eaten a beef liver and I wonder what it taste. Is it popular dish in Estonia? Do you buy meet only from free range?

Greetings from Poland