Pig’s Liver Rice

pig’s liver and rice

Back in the early 80s I used to make a pig’s liver rice to stuff red or green peppers, which were baked in the oven. When a friend gave me 10 kilos of brown rice, the cooking time became so long, I turned the rice dish into a main meal and the peppers went inside it instead of being the container. I was in the butchers this week and notice pig’s liver on sale and nostalgia had me cooking something I hadn’t made for at least a decade.

pig’s liver

Pig’s liver is the poor cousin to goose, duck, calf, lamb or chicken livers, but cooked properly, it’s full of flavour and incredibly cheap – personally, I prefer it to lamb’s liver, which I find too crumbly. Pork liver is one of the main ingredient in most rustic pâtés and is full of iron and vitamins. It makes a perfect simple pâté when fried with bacon and blended with caramelised, onion, garlic, herbs and clarified butter.

Pig’s Liver Rice recipe (serves 4):

1 lb pig’s liver (chopped)
4 slices of smoked streaky bacon (chopped)
1 large onion (chopped)
6 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
4 large tomatoes (grated)
1 medium courgette (chopped)
1 red or green pepper (chopped)
8 mushroom (chopped)
2 cups brown Basmati rice (soaked for 1 hour)
2 dessertspoonfuls of tomato purée
a squirt anchovy paste
1 pint of warm beef stock
a large glass of red wine
a splash red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons of herbs (rosemary, sage and thyme – ground in a mortar and pestle with coarse sea salt and black peppercorns)
8 torn basil leaves
2 bay leaves
2 dessertspoons plain flour
extra virgin olive oil

liver browning

If using brown Basmati rice, do soak it for an hour before cooking!

Trim the liver of any sinews, ventricles, etc, and chop into bite sized pieces. Mix the ground herbs with the flour in a bowl and dust the liver before browning in olive oil. Using a cast iron casserole, fry in batches, don’t overcrowd the pan or you will be cooking in a flour porridge. You only want to brown the outside – there’s no need to cook the liver to death, it will get tough if you do so. Remove the browned liver to a plate.

bacon and vegetables

Using the same casserole, fry the onion in extra virgin olive oil until it goes translucent and stir in the bacon. When the bacon has taken some colour, mix in the pepper, courgette, mushrooms and crushed garlic.


Grate in the fresh tomatoes (chop in half, grate the wet side and discard the skin).


Tear up some fresh basil leaves to commingle with the tomatoes.

liver and stock

Squirt in the tomato purée and anchovy paste, pour on a glass of wine, a splash of vinegar, half the stock and stir in the browned liver and bay leaves.


Rinse the soaked Basmati rice before mixing it into the dish. At this stage the pig’s liver rice should be wet like stew, but not runny like soup. More stock goes in later.

pig’s liver rice

Bring the casserole up to a simmer, stir, cover with a lid and cook for one hour in a preheated oven at 150ºC, or until the rice is tender and the stock has been absorbed. Check the pig’s liver rice after half an hour and add more stock and seasoning as required. Don’t over cook it or the rice will disintegrate. This can be cooked on the hob, but it’s far less likely to burn in the oven.

Serve with a drizzle of truffle oil and some grated Parmesan cheese.

N.B. If cooking with risotto rice (on the hob), cooking time would be reduced to about 20 minutes, with additional stock being added as needed. Constant stirring required throughout and never rinse risotto rice.

Wine suggestion: Baron de Ley Gran Reserva Rioja.

About Mad Dog

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25 Responses to Pig’s Liver Rice

  1. Eha says:

    Glory be, Mad – for me calves liver comes first because of serendipity and then chicken for all the endless, endless pates prepared thru’ all ‘that time’ 🙂 ! am more than tempted to try ‘all’ of this the way you present it . . this is cooking the way it should be . . .

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Eha – I’d go for goose, duck then calf, but I’m really fond of all three (and most offal). Somehow, I’d forgotten how good pig’s liver is though and it’s astonishingly cheap in comparison to the above.

  2. This looks amazing! I will be making this and giving it a try.. and then no doubt bragging it up and linking thought to you.. Can’t wait to try it.. I know you said, that it not as good with lambs liver.. but do you think it would work with duck? I won’t have pork liver available for a bit yet but I am sure it will be good with other kinds of liver.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thank you so much! I have cooked it with lambs liver which does tend to fall apart somewhat, but duck liver is quite solid in comparison, so I think it would be perfect …perhaps with chicken stock, better still duck, if you have it.

  3. Eha says:

    OK: we could ‘argue’ this long past when you should be hugging your pillow, but if the message that offal is SO delightful; could just spread across this world of ours . . . who the hell wants a steak when one could have a kidney ? . . . mean it . . .

  4. jmcheney says:

    Well, I do love most rustic pâtés, so if happen upon a pig’s liver (not sure I ever have), I will try this as it sounds delicious. I make a French friend’s pâté occasionally for Christmas, with chicken livers.

  5. Conor Bofin says:

    I really love this MD. It is so great to see offal being used creativity and with such flavours.
    Top job.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Conor – I’m quite partial to offal, though I’m searching for a tripe recipe that makes me want to eat it. I’ll have to try it in the pressure cooker to see if I can get the texture like octopus instead of rubber…

      • Conor Bofin says:

        I was put off tripe many years ago. A friend got a St. Bernard and proceeded to feed it on a diet of boiled tripe and raw eggs. The did did well on it but the stench in his house and off him was pretty awful.

        • Mad Dog says:

          I’ve had it in excellent Sichuan stew – the liquid was great but the tripe was rubbery. I can imagine the smell of boiling it being quite nasty.

      • Eha says:

        Mad: am sick in bed at the moment, but as soon as I can I’ll send you a French-German one which is covered with red wine and goes into the oven overnight . . . have loved it since childhood . . .

  6. Ron says:

    MD, what a great fall dish. We love liver and pigs liver is usually available at the butchers, so I will be giving this a try. I love the idea of the truffle oil and Parmesan cheese. Thanks for sharing a great sounding recipe.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Ron – I hadn’t tried truffle oil with it before, but there was something about the smell that made me want to pour a little on top this time. It’s good with any cheese – feta is particularly complimentary.

  7. Offal is so under rated in England, maybe there are still memories of making do in wartime. In Spain we enjoy it greatly and a recipe like this is gorgeous. Went out for dinner last night in Bexhill, we have a new South American restaurant and one of the dishes we ordered to share was griddled ox heart and liver…fabulous! When fried chopped goat al ajillo is served in Andalucia, the blood, liver etc is also fried up and served and is very popular.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Tanya. A whole generation grew up not knowing how to cook as a result of rationing. Your restaurant sounds good, as does the Adalucian goat – bring on the matanza, it’s the right time of year!

  8. Michelle says:

    I’m generally a liver lover, but pig’s liver, unless really disguised in charcuterie, is a tough sell for me. That reminds me of a Cajun dirty rice. It might make me reconsider. 🙂

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Michelle – you could use a different type of liver, though here pigs are slaughtered between at 4 – 7 months, which makes it quite tender. I do remember pig’s liver being much tougher years ago, however, the long, slow cooking does help.

  9. Karen says:

    Our market only carries beef or veal and occasionally chicken livers. I agree with Michelle that your dish does remind me of “dirty rice” which is very popular in Louisiana.

  10. Pingback: Dirty Rice | Mad Dog TV Dinners

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