Saturday, 24 February 2007
edited 25 February: link to WHB host corrected
It was all because of Jeanne’s (Cook Sister!) recent post about finding chicken livers at her neighbourhood market that I started to vie for us to have “Chicken Livers Maryland”. Granted, we don’t have it often. Generally, if we buy chicken livers, it’s to make chicken liver pâté.
But knowing how much I love “Chicken Livers Maryland”, (not to mention that the incessant wheedling was getting on his nerves) T made it for our Valentine’s Day dinner.
I was introduced to this wonderful dish at a brunch buffet when I first moved to Toronto. I loved it. The hostess graciously gave me the recipe. I have no idea where the recipe originally came from – I’m guessing something like Better Homes and Gardens or Redbook.
Of course, over the years, we have made little changes to the recipe and it’s likely that it doesn’t have a whole lot to do with Maryland any more. Nevertheless, it’s still great; I doubt that the “Chicken Livers Maryland” Police will not be coming after us for ruining their dish. If anything, it’s even better.
Ideally, “Chicken Livers Maryland” should be served on toasted pumpernickle or rye bread. (Bagels and English muffins are also acceptable – in fact, the original recipe suggested toasted English muffins.) Hard boiled eggs and grilled tomatoes are also excellent accompaniments. But this chicken liver dish is also wonderful for dinner, served on mashed potatoes with stir-fried Swiss chard and onions.
The original recipe calls for canned mushroom soup and sour cream. We have used yoghurt instead of sour cream. On Valentine’s Day, T made mushroom soup from scratch by sautéeing onions and mushrooms, making a roux and then adding milk and chicken stock. As we didn’t have any sour cream, he used a bit of cream cheese to add richness – as if it really needs more richness. He also threw in a few pink peppercorns.
Did I mention that our dinner was delicious? And we had plenty left over to make a very elegant breakfast a couple of days later – serving the chicken livers on toasted caraway rye bread with hard-boiled eggs on the side. And good strong coffee….
Pink Peppercorns (Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi) aka Pepper Rosé, Brazil Pepper, Brazilian holly, Florida holly, Christmas berry, Baie rose, faux poivrier…
This week, WHB#71 is hosted by Anna (Anna’s Cool Finds)
I know. I know. This is “Weekend Herb Blogging”. And a pink peppercorn is a spice. (I have always considered that herbs pretty much have to be leaves and that the fruits of the plant are spices.) But luckily, Kalyn isn’t absolutely strict about having to feature an actual herb for WHB. She allows anything as long as the post is about an
herb, plant, vegetable, or flower
The pink peppercorn is not a real peppercorn at all. It is the berry of the Brazilian Baie rose plant and comes by its name simply because of its resemblance to an actual peppercorn (Piper nigrum). Hence one of the pink peppercorn’s other names: Brazil pepper.
We buy it dried in jars and use it mainly for decoration, especially for garnishing chicken liver pâté.
It’s not just for looks though. We like to add pink peppercorns to oven roasted lemon chicken, based on a Frugal Gourmet recipe (skinned chicken pieces, lemon juice, olive oil, thyme, garlic, pepper, NO salt – all baked at about 350F until the chicken is done, then the juice of a lime is squeezed over top). This was served for our wedding lunch. It’s delicious just like that with rice. I still can’t get over the fact that one doesn’t miss the salt! It’s also wonderful to make gravy from the pan juices and serve the chicken with mashed potatoes. The flavour of the pink peppercorns does come through, lending a delicate, slightly earthy, citrus-like flavour.
The bushy shrublike plant grows wild in Florida (it was introduced as an ornamental sometime in the 1800s), so it is possible that it could be grown in the kitchen garden (obviously in pots to be brought indoors and out for those of us who get even the remotest hint of frost in the winter). It is apparently a fast grower, grows in any soil and tolerates drought. Richters Herbs sells the seeds. A word of caution: the plant is considered by many to be invasive:
Although the plant is still grown as an ornamental in California, Texas, and Arizona, S. terebinthifolius is classified as a state noxious weed in Florida and Hawaii
Read more about pink peppercorns:
- Wikipedia – Brazilian pepper
- Gernot Katzer’s Spice Pages: Pepper Rosé
- Frontier Co-op: Pink Peppercorns
- Invasive Plants of Eastern USA: Brazilian Peppertree
- Florida Gardener: Growing Schinus terebinthifolius
If you would like to participate in or learn more about Weekend Herb Blogging, read here: