The One Ingredient That Completely Changed the Way I Make Bolognese

published May 16, 2023
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Parents aren’t strangers to hiding vegetables in sauces to get their kids to eat them. But, what if that sneaky technique can be used outside of just for kids? And, what if we also apply it to more than just vegetables? Seattle-based chef Mike Easton likely had a similar thought when he first started adding chicken livers to his bolognese.

Why You Should Be Adding Chicken Livers to Bolognese

Yes, you heard that right! Though it doesn’t seem like the most common form of poultry to cook with, it adds a “je ne sais quoi” quality to the traditional Italian dish. Chicken livers completely change the texture of bolognese for the better. In fact, some people might even say that the ingredient is often underutilized in the kitchen.

When I came upon Easton’s recipe on Epicurious years ago, I felt strangely in the minority as someone who loves chicken livers in every form. Most others, though, needed convincing that this not-so-secret ingredient was worthwhile, but as they say, the proof is in the… bolognese!

Chicken livers, when fully cooked, are similar to cooked egg yolks in texture: creamy, rich, and almost spreadable like butter. It’s best to first sauté the livers until they are deeply cooked and nearly caramelized, eliminating any livery flavor, and leaving behind only a silky
texture that adds a unique depth of flavor to a giant pot of simmering sauce.

Just like you would with chicken, be sure to buy good-quality livers, and use them soon after
buying. Otherwise, they freeze extremely well, and if you buy whole chickens on a regular basis, you might just be able to collect livers as an added bonus!