Behind the heart, the liver might be the most overlooked tasty morsel found on a deer. I’d venture to say that fewer than one in 100 hunters save their deer’s liver from the pile left behind after field dressing.
That’s a shame. If you enjoy liver from any other source, you owe it to yourself to give venison liver a try. Preparation is easy. For this recipe it simply involves soaking the sliced liver a night or two in water. You can do a water change or two if you want to remove most of the iron flavor that sometimes comes through on any kind of liver. If you really want to make the liver as mild as possible, soak for the final three hours in milk.
Once you’ve soaked the liver, its simply a matter of dredging it in seasoned flour and pan frying it in your Lodge cast iron skillet.
For this recipe, we fry the liver till done, remove it from the pan to a warm platter, and make a tasty gravy from thinly sliced onions and a beer.
1 deer liver, sliced, soaked in fresh water for 24-48 hours with two or three water changes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon seasoning salt
1 tablespoon pepper
2 tablespoons dry mustard
4 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 12-ounce beer or chicken stock
Vegetable oil for frying
Start by slicing the liver into 1/2-inch thick slices. Rinse well and move the sliced liver to a large bowl. Cover with cold water and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours, changing the water 2 or 3 times.
Once you are ready to fry the liver, heat ½ inch of vegetable oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. You are shooting for 325 to 350 degrees oil temperature.
While the oil heats, mix the dredge ingredients in a shallow dish. Dredge each liver slice to coat entire surface well with the seasoned flour. Move the dredged pieces to a wire rack and continue until all liver slices are coated with the flour mixture.
When the oil is hot enough, slowly lower two or three slices into the oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry on each side for 4 to 5 minutes or until golden brown. Move the fried liver to a warm platter and continue until entire batch is fried. Loosely tent the fried liver slices with foil to keep them warm.
Drain all but 3 to 4 tablespoons of oil from the pan. Return the skillet to the heat and add the thinly sliced onions. Sauté the onions for 5 to 8 minutes or until they are softened and slightly golden brown. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the remaining flour dredge over the onions and stir well.
Continue cooking until the flour begins to lightly brown, another 3-5 minutes. Pour in the beer or chicken stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir till the gravy thickens.
Return the liver slices to the skillet and spoon the onion gravy over the top before serving.
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