Welcome to my favorite family recipes, and some of my own discoveries. All of the recipes published here will be “tried and true”. I grew up with many of these recipes. My mom is a very good cook. We were a working class family, but we always had good food. Nothing fancy, but everything was good. I will also be sharing Mom’s best cake recipes.
Friday, March 29, 2013
Liver Nips (Liver Dumplings)
Liver Nips made with Liver Pudding
You could say I grew up with liver nips.My paternal grandmother made them from
scratch, first cooking, then grinding lean stew beef and liver.I say grinding, because this was long before
food processors.She used a meat grinder
c-clamped to a table, like you would use to grind lean meat into
hamburger.The ground beef and liver
would then be mixed into the flour mixture to make dumplings.This was a fairly big project, producing a
large pot of liver dumplings.
Since my grandmother passed away, liver nips have been
scarce over the last several decades.Other
family members attempted to prepare this Southern classic, but very rarely, and
usually with disastrous results.None even
remotely measured up to Granny’s, except maybe the liver nips served at Shealy’sBarbecue restaurant in Batesurg-Leesville, S.C.
I don’t eat liver of any kind, beef, pork, or chicken livers,
except in liver nips.I remember once
telling my grandmother that I had tried to eat an aunt’s liver dumplings, and
the liver taste was offensively strong to me.She cautioned that it was key to use cooked liver, as grinding raw
liver, and adding to the dumpling mixture would produce nips with a really
strong liver taste.
Last year my mom told me about a super simple recipe she had
found for liver nips in the newspaper.The recipe uses liver pudding.I’m
not sure if this product is widely available, but this too is something I grew
up with in the South.Mom always had Count’s
liver pudding in the frig.While I was
home in March, Mom made this recipe for me.It makes a relatively small batch of liver nips.Mom says the secret to liver dumplings is to
have a very stiff batter, otherwise you just get a very thick liver-flavored
Pudding Liver Nips
2 cans beef broth
1 lb pkg liver pudding, softened at room temperature 1-2 hrs
1 tsp basil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 c plain flour
1. Pour beef broth
into a large pot and begin heating.
2. In a bowl, place liver
pudding.Add egg, salt, pepper, and
basil.Mix together thoroughly.Mom used her hands.I will probably use the mixer with dough
3.Gradually add in 1
cup flour, combining as you go.
Make sure your batter is very stiff
1 tablespoon dumpling batter at a time into boiling beef broth.
5.Cook uncovered for
10 minutes.Do not stir.
These liver nips were pretty darned good, and very
simple.The liver taste was a little
strong for me.I will probably use 2
cups of flour for my dumplings, and add just 2-3 tablespoons beef broth as
needed to moisten but still keeping a stiff batter.I think I will also reserve the last ½ cup of
dumpling batter, thin it down with about ½ cup broth, and pour into dumplings
to have a thicker broth for my liver nips.
Here is another Liver Nips recipe, slightly more ambitious,
from a family friend:
1 ½ lb liver
½ lb suet
1 lb beef roast
1 T basil
1 medium onion
4-5 cups plain flour
¼ tsp baking powder
1.Cover liver, beef
and suet with water and cook in crock pot about 8 hours.
2.Cool liver, beef,
and suet.Place in blender with eggs,
onion, and enough cooking broth to puree.
3.Mix flour and
baking powder in a large bowl.Stir in
contents of blender.
4.Place crock pot
cooking liquid in a large pot and bring to near boil.(Seems to me you will need additional broth,
and a verylarge pot.)
mixture into hot stock about 1 tablespoon at a time.