Throughout my teenage years I cooked this dish for the whole family almost every Saturday lunchtime. It was taught to me by my father who is from Sarajevo the capital of Bosnia of the former Jugoslavia. Jugoslavia was for over five hundred years part of the Ottoman empire, and it was not until my sister and I were holidaying in Turkey on a Gulet with some friends that we realise that it is a Turkish dish. Our cook on the boat – Hali – made it for us all one lunch time and our friends loved it and wondered how it was made, to which my sister and I announced in unison that we could make it with our eyes closed!
Quite a lot of English people think that they don’t like liver. And if their only experience of it is the stewed beef liver that was served to us at school, then I can fully understand them having a prejudice against it. But please give liver another chance. Think more those gorgeous liver pates and less the shoe leather of school dinners. Pork liver for me has the best texture and the sweetest flavour of all the livers, and this is what my family use for this dish although the with Turkey being a muslim country, lambs liver is used there.
For 4 people
1 large or two medium onions – finely chopped
1 red pepper – cut into strips – optional
500 grams liver cut into bite sized pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil for frying
200 grams long grain rice
250 grams peeled plum tomatoes – either freshly peeled or tinned
Fresh flat leaved parsley – roughly chopped
Firstly put the rice on to boil. Use your usual method but you want the rice slightly al dente.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the onions and peppers if you are using them. Fry over a moderate heat until the onions are lightly browned.
Season the liver pieces with salt and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Add to the pan with the onions and cook stirring from time to time until the liver is just cooked. This will take about ten minutes. Do not cover. If the pan is covered the liver will steam and go tough.
To see if the liver is cooked enough, take out a piece and cut into it. It should be pink inside. If it is red inside it is not cooked enough and if it is brown you have gone too far.
Remove the liver from the pan leaving behind the onions, pepper if used and the juices. Add the tomatoes to the remains of the pan and stir to mix. Cook over a higher heat until the tomatoes have deepened in colour and cooked.
Drain the rice and add to the tomatoes. Stir well to mix together and cook for a couple of minutes for the flavour of the tomatoes to penetrate the rice.
Add the liver and mix again. Cook a minute or two for the liver to rewarm. Stir in the parsley. Serve with a green salad.