chicken livers Maryland(ish) – WHB#71: Pink Peppercorns

edited 25 February: link to WHB host corrected

Weekend Herb Blogging (WHB#71)

(click on images for larger views)
chicken livers Maryland(ish) Oh Boy!! Another dish that looks like dog’s breakfast! Don’t let the looks fool you though! This is absolutely delicious.

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.

chicken livers Maryland(ish) Who needs a dozen roses!! “Chicken Livers Maryland” might not look quite as beautiful on the table as a vase of roses but it is so much better tasting!

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. :lalala: 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….

Weekend Herb Blogging #71:
Pink Peppercorns (Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi) aka Pepper Rosé, Brazil Pepper, Brazilian holly, Florida holly, Christmas berry, Baie rose, faux poivrier…

weekend herb blogging - © kalyns kitchen

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.

pink peppercorns 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:

If you would like to participate in or learn more about Weekend Herb Blogging, read here:


This entry was posted in crossblogging, food & drink, main course, WHB on by .

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  • Kalyn

    This is a plant I knew nothing about, so thanks for enlightening me. I’m going to look for the pink peppercorns. BTW, I LOVE chicken livers, although I don’t think I’ve had them for years. When I was in college we used to get them from KFC, deep friend and dipped in that famous KFC gravy. Certainly not healthy, but very delish!

  • Anna

    I learned a lot from this post about peppercorns! And although I don’t like liver, you manage to make it sound tempting! Thanks for participating in WHB!

  • ejm

    Deep fried chicken livers! Oh my! I don’t think KFC here has ever offered chicken livers but then I’m hardly a KFC expert. It has been years since I’ve gone into one. I can’t stand the smell now… I swear it just isn’t as good as it was when I was a kid and that they must’ve changed the Colonel’s secret recipe!

    Thank you, Anna, for hosting. I’m glad that you like the sound of the chicken livers at least, even if they aren’t your favourite thing. I used to dislike all liver too but since I learned it doesn’t have to be cooked to death and is actually better if it’s a bit pink, I’ve loved both chicken and beef liver. Still not wild about pork liver though. (or cod liver oil :boo: either… brrrrr )

    And this stew could easily be made with any other meat or fish or even no meat at all and I bet it would still be delicious. (nothing like a mushroom cream sauce! :-D)

  • Ros

    It’s good to find another chicken liver lover on an event about plants! I’ve not heard of this recipe before but I totally love chicken liver and I have some sitting in the fridge for tomorrow night. I hadn’t thought of using a sour cream-mushroom sauce with them but I’ll certainly try it. I’ve also never deep fried them before- it seems to be a popular way of eating them over your side of the pond!

  • Susan from Food “Blogga”

    I just love pink peppercorns and really appreciate the information about them. As a vegetarian, I think I’ll enjoy the chicken livers from a distance! ;)

    (Thanks so much for visiting my site, Elizabeth!)

  • ejm

    Let me know how the Marylandish sauce works, Ros. (Until Kalyn mentioned deepfried chicken livers, I’d never heard of them. Maybe it’s something that is common in the US?)

    Glad the information was useful, Susan. And of course, I completely understand that vegetarians would give chicken livers a miss. I bet the sauce would work with pecans or walnuts though…

  • Cassie’s Kitchen

    Wow!! There isn’t just me and my family what actually loves chicken liver. My aunt makes the best chicken liver pate ever. It’s creamy and luscious and great on toast.

    I love pinkpeppercorns in dark chocolate. You should try it. Dolfin makes a wonderful bar using both.

  • ejm

    Pink peppercorns in dark chocolate sounds really intriguing! I’m not familiar with “Dolfin” but I’ll keep my eyes open.

    Mmmm, creamy and luscious chicken liver pate on toast sounds good. Of course we love our chicken liver pate recipe but it’s always fun to see others. I went to your site, Cassie, to see if you had your aunt’s recipe listed. Alas I couldn’t find it….

  • tph

    Wow! Pink pepper corns in chocolate. I’m intrigued. Here’s a link to chocolate with pink pepper corns.