Great Grandma Piwowarski’s Crispy Chicken Livers
She was a tough old broad. Alma Piwowarski , my late Great Grandmother, wasn’t your average Polish-American housewife. In 1933, she left her comfy suburban bungalow for the drudges of General Motors’ Turnstead Plant. For 41 years she served as a parts inspector. But Grandma was no slouch in the kitchen. To this day, we serve many of her Polish delicacies at Christmas and Easter. These crispy chicken livers were one of her everyday favorites. According to my dad, Grandma loved to order these at a restaurant when she could find them. Now considered a throw back dish, chicken livers seem to have crept back into vogue. I noticed them the first time this summer at Michael Symon’s Roast in the historic Book Cadillac Hotel in downtown Detroit. Grandma Alma would have swooned over his perfectly prepared, flavor-packed morsels. But I have to say, after preparing grandma’s recipe at home, Piwowarski gave Symon a run for his money.
2 cups plain bread crumbs
1 cup Kentucky Kernel Seasoned Flour
Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large eggs
1/3 cup whole milk
1 pound chicken livers, trimmed and halved
Canola oil, for frying
½ stick butter, for frying
Lemon wedges, for serving
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Set up your dipping “assembly line.” In one pie plate, dump the bread crumbs. In another pie plate, add flour and then season it with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk.
- Working in batches, dredge a few livers at a time in the flour, then dip them into the egg mixture.
- Take dredged livers and roll them in the bread crumbs.
- In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil and a half stick of butter until shimmering. Add half of the livers and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned and crisp, 2-3 minutes.
- Repeat with the remaining livers. Transfer to a lasagna dish.
- Place livers in oven to finish cooking, about five minutes.
- Take out of oven and transfer to a plate. Spritz with lemon and serve.
Sarah Pazur owns Tapenade Fine Catering (tapenadeonline.com) based in Dearborn, MI. She is also a teacher and curriculum coordinator at Henry Ford Academy in Detroit. Her writings and poems have appeared in several quarterlies including The Allegheny Review, Driftwood, Gertrude, and Life News. She lives in Dearborn, MI with her husband, son, and her dog, Benny, a Jack Russel Terrier who is the apple of her eye.