Monday, December 26, 2011

and finally Christmas!

For the last little while Budapest, for most of the time, has been under a fog, with grey skies and no sun. The water level on the Danube was so low that the large ships could not come down this part and the water also from the balcony  looked very grey as there was no blue reflection on it .  My cat slept most of the time. When she did venture out from a hidden spot she would look outside, turn to me meow and disappear again. In all my years here I have never seen the weather like this here in Budapest .
But on Christmas day  we awoke to blue skies, the sun shone and it was gorgeous.....

My husband and I decided that as we were alone celebrating Christmas that we would make something different this year.....sauteed goose  liver, foie gras . I watched many videos of how to make this as I had only had it in restaurants before.  So we went shopping for a goose liver.

Some background.....from wikipedia
...."As early as 2500 BC, the ancient Egyptians learned that many birds could be fattened through forced overfeeding and began this practice. Whether they particularly sought the fattened livers of migratory birds as a delicacy remains undetermined.[7][8] In the necropolis of Saqqara, in the tomb of Mereruka, an important royal official, there is a bas relief scene wherein workers grasp geese around the necks in order to push food down their throats. At the side stand tables piled with more food pellets, and a flask for moistening the feed before giving it to the geese.[8][9][10]
The practice of goose fattening spread from Egypt to the Mediterranean.[11] The earliest reference to fattened geese is from the 5th century BC Greek poet Cratinus, who wrote of geese-fatteners, yet Egypt maintained its reputation as the source for fattened geese. When the Spartan king Agesilaus visited Egypt in 361 BC, he noted Egyptian farmers' fattened geese and calves.[8][12]
It was not until the Roman period, however, that foie gras is mentioned as a distinct food, which the Romans named iecur ficatum;[13][14][15] iecur means liver[16] and ficatum derives from ficus, meaning fig in Latin.[17] The emperor Elagabalus fed his dogs on foie gras during the four years of his chaotic reign.[18] Pliny the Elder (1st century AD) credits his contemporary, Roman gastronome Marcus Gavius Apicius, with feeding dried figs to geese in order to enlarge their livers...."

So there you have it it has been around for a very long time. 
How did it get to Europe well......
..."After the fall of the Roman empire, goose liver temporarily vanished from European cuisine. Some claim that Gallic farmers preserved the foie gras tradition until the rest of Europe rediscovered it centuries later, but the medieval French peasant's food animals were mainly pig and sheep.[25] Others claim that the tradition was preserved by the Jews, who learned the method of enlarging a goose's liver during the Roman colonisation of Judea[26] or earlier from Egyptians.[27] The Jews carried this culinary knowledge as they migrated farther north and west to Europe.
Now Hungary is the world's second-largest foie gras (libamáj) producer and the largest exporter (1,920 tonnes in 2005). France is the principal market for Hungarian foie gras; mainly exported raw....:

Ok so that is why we find Foie Gras in almost every little store in Budapest and is probably in every suitcase leaving the country.
The large market  place by the bridge in Pest called the Nagy Csarnok is were we went to buy the goose liver. The prices range from 6,500 forints a kilo to 8,500 forints a kilo.....still much cheaper than buying this in France.

This is the nagy csarnok and as it is a few hours before closing on the 24th  it is almost empty.  I love this very  'tourist place' as my husband calls . The smells, the colors and the absolute abundance of product.

We bought the more expensive goose liver for 8,500 forints, it seemed to be nicer and larger and I am one that believes if I have never made this before better to start with the best.LOL.  I also bought a bag of hard goose. fat

The liver I bought was almost one kilo , of this 1/3 will be used to saute and 2/3's will be made into cold foie gras.

The first thing, after washing and drying the liver is to de-vein.
The liver has 2 lobes and these are connected by veins. The large vein is the most important to remove. Also try not to leave the liver out too long as it will get soft and then very hard to work with.

You then cut out all the red spots and then I sliced off the pieces 1 inch thick which I will be sauteing .

From the picture you can see the little veins, they do not need to be removed as they will disintegrate during the frying. Place these back in the fridge until ready to use.

For the caramelized apples you will need 
1 apple peeled and sliced
sugar , 2 tbls 

melt the butter in a sauteing pan
add the apples when the butter has melted
 Add the sugar and cook until apples are soft and the sides are browned from the sugar
 You can put that aside.....

Take the liver slices from the fridge  and salt, pepper and sligthly flour them
and place in the pan , you do NOT need any oil as the liver gives off fat as it cooks. I had the heat on medium high, do 2 minutes on each side and then just carefully turn the livers until you see that they are done. Ours took about 8 minutes total.

As you see there is a lot of fat given off by the livers. I poured it off  as it accumulated as I will be using it for the next dish.
While all this was being prepared and my husband constantly looking over my shoulder we were drinking Proseco ...this was just in case it did not work out.
I cut chives from the garden , the few tiny pieces not frozen , I had made the mashed potatoes , plain just with milk and butter and I sligthly re-heated the apples.
So this was our Christmas dinner. We had already started eating before I realized that I needed to photo this!
This meal was one of the best I have made and it really was very simple. A perfect Christmas dish!

Tomorrow I will be making the cold foie gras so check back. 
The only thing I would do different in this dish is to make more apples I think for 2 people you need 2 apples. I will never eat this dish in a restaurant again after making myself . 
I do not see how anyone can not make a perfect sauteed Goose Liver!

No comments:

Post a Comment