I feel duty bound by my responsibility to all my readers – all few of them – to do a followup report on a recent post here. I speak of the Old Ste Genevieve post, where my chosen recipe was for Liver Dumplings – I have some new experiential news to share with y’all. Now, I’m well aware that many, perhaps even more than many, are not as enamored with liver as am I – and I come by that knowledge honestly. For even I would have to admit that not all liver is created equal – at least in the world of fine food – for perhaps one of the worst tastes I’ve ever had in my mouth was a Pork Liver Soup in a highly regarded Chinese restaurant in D.C. So, I know that there are many readers who, even reading about Ste Genevieve’s famous Liver Dumplings, would never ever allow a bite of anything “liver” anywhere near their mouth!
Well, that’s their loss, ’cause there’s liver, and then there’s liver! And I wanted to share our own recent experience with the liver dumplings of Old Ste Genevieve. It seems that I’ve motivated myself to experiment a little in the world of liver dumplings, and so I recently picked up a pound of chicken livers at the grocery to try in my posted recipe – just as I have no fondness for pig liver, I consider the liver of geese, ducks, and chickens to be heavenly!
Actually, since the original recipe simply calls for simply “liver”, you are free to choose whatever kind you have around – but chicken livers are so sweet and rich, how could they not do the job as well as any? I checked the freezer for a brat or two, but strangely couldn’t find any (this is very strange, since I love those things, and never want to be without them – and so I pick up a pack or two every time I do grocery shopping). They might’a been buried, but I didn’t have the energy to dig, so I checked my fridge and found an opened package of another quality sausage, which I subbed for the ground pork. Otherwise, I followed the original recipe faithfully – a rare thing for me.
Since liver dumplings are a dish which allow quite a bit of leverage, menu wise, we had some additional choices to make. I settled on using sauerkraut as a base on which I placed the boiled dumplings, and topped them with a goodly blanket of sauteed onions. How good was this? In a word, superb! The vinegary tone of the sauerkraut was a perfect companion to the sweetness of the caramelized onion against the richness of the liver dumpling – just superb. Next morning, on a whim, I sliced two cold dumplings in half and fried them up in a little butter to have with my breakfast eggs – Nice.
Would I change anything? Of course – not having been raised within a German household, my immediate reaction to the doughy mass of the liver dumpling was, “Where’s the leavening?” But then, how could German cooking get a reputation for being heavy, if it weren’t for dishes like liver dumplings? Thinking that my chosen recipe may have contained an omission, I goggled liver dumplings and discovered, no, they classically contain no leavening – I did find a few exceptions, but only with yeast – I did not find a classic German recipe for liver dumplings that called for baking powder! Does that suggest that these dumplings are closer relatives of noodles than of biscuits? Or, are we looking at changing taste over time and environment? Interesting.
Hummm … I’m thinking about working up a sourdough version of liver dumpling, and submitting it to Susan at YeastSpotting – yeah, I think I will.