Chicken Livers with Caramelized Onions and Jammy Peppers

Chicken livers, with their rich flavor and smooth texture, are a delicacy that offer a distinct culinary experience.

Oftentimes overshadowed by more common proteins, these nutrient-dense organs are a versatile ingredient that can be dressed up with a variety of accompaniments.

One such classic combination is with caramelized onions and jammy peppers, a dish that balances the potent flavor of the liver with the sweet and tangy profile of the vegetables.

Chicken livers sizzling in a pan with caramelized onions and jammy peppers. The rich aroma fills the kitchen as the ingredients caramelize and brown

When prepared correctly, chicken livers can be incredibly tender and succulent, making them an excellent candidate for sautéing or pan-frying.

The key lies in not overcooking them to maintain their delicate texture.

Caramelizing onions, meanwhile, brings out a natural sweetness that complements the robust taste of the chicken livers, while jammy peppers add a mild heat and a glossy finish that enriches the overall dish.

Together, these components create a harmonious blend of flavors that can transform your perception of this traditional ingredient.

At its core, the dish is simple, but it demands a careful balance of flavors and textures.

By cooking the onions until golden brown and allowing the peppers to reach a soft, almost spreadable consistency, you’re setting the stage for the chicken livers to shine.

The combination is not only a celebration of taste but also of nutrition, as chicken livers are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, ensuring that the meal is as beneficial to your health as it is pleasing to your palate.

Nutritional Profile

Chicken livers sizzle in a pan with caramelized onions and colorful peppers. A rich, savory aroma fills the air as the ingredients cook together

Chicken livers with caramelized onions and jammy peppers combine a nutrient-dense meat with flavorful vegetables, offering a rich source of vitamins and minerals, protein, and essential fatty acids.

Macronutrients and Calories

Chicken livers are a protein-rich food with appreciable amounts of fat and minimal carbohydrates.

A 100-gram serving typically contains:

  • Calories: 172 kcal
  • Protein: 24.5 g
  • Total Fat: 6.5 g
    • Saturated Fat: 2.1 g
    • Monounsaturated Fat: 0.9 g
    • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0.7 g
    • Fiber: 0 g
    • Sugar: 0 g

Caramelized onions and peppers contribute additional calories, primarily from carbohydrates, but the amount is variable based on the cooking method and other ingredients used.

Vitamins and Minerals

Chicken livers are not only high in protein but also loaded with various essential nutrients:

  • Iron: Rich in heme iron, highly bioavailable, critical for oxygen transport in your blood.
  • Vitamin A: Vital for vision, immune function, and skin health.
  • Vitamin C: Though not inherent in livers, it is present in peppers, aiding immune function and skin health.
  • Calcium: Found in small quantities, necessary for bone health.
  • Potassium: Essential for nerve function and blood pressure regulation.
  • Selenium: An important antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage.

The following nutrients are in significant amounts in a 100-gram serving of chicken livers:

Iron12.9 mg (72%)
Vitamin A11033 IU (221%)
Vitamin CFound in peppers
Calcium11 mg (1%)
Potassium263 mg (8%)
Selenium30.8 mcg (44%)

(% Daily Values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet)

Health Concerns

While chicken livers are nutritious, there are some health considerations:

  • Cholesterol: High in cholesterol; a 100-gram serving contains approximately 479 mg.
  • Vitamin A Toxicity: Overconsumption can lead to hypervitaminosis A due to its high vitamin A content.
  • Sodium: Usually not high in sodium, but cooking methods involving added salt or sodium-rich ingredients can increase the sodium content.

It’s important to consume chicken livers in moderation and balance them within a varied diet to manage cholesterol intake and avoid excess vitamin A. If you have dietary restrictions or health conditions, consult with your healthcare provider before making them a regular part of your diet.

Ingredients Overview

Chicken livers sizzling in a pan with caramelized onions and colorful jammy peppers

In preparing chicken livers with caramelized onions and jammy peppers, your mastery of the ingredients is essential. You’ll need a selection of primary ingredients, spices and seasonings, and additional elements to enhance the dish’s flavors and texture.

Primary Ingredients

  • Chicken Livers: The star of the dish, ensure they are fresh and properly cleaned.
  • Onions: Typically, yellow onions are used for their sweet flavor when caramelized.
  • Bell Peppers: Adds a sweet and slightly tangy flavor, often referred to as ‘jammy’ when cooked down.

Spices and Seasonings

  • Salt: Essential for enhancing the taste of all the ingredients.
  • Black Pepper: Freshly ground black pepper adds a subtle heat.
  • Garlic Powder: Offers a concentrated garlic flavor without the moisture of fresh garlic.
  • Paprika: Adds depth with its sweet and smoky notes.
  • Rosemary: Use fresh or dried for an aromatic touch.

Additional Elements

  • Olive Oil: Good quality olive oil is crucial for sautéing onions and peppers and can carry the other flavors well.
  • Butter: Brings richness and helps in the caramelization of the onions.
  • Wine or Vinegar: A splash can deglaze the pan and add a bright acidity to the dish. Use red wine for a more robust flavor or vinegar for a sharper tang.
  • Parsley: Fresh parsley can add a fresh, herbaceous note if sprinkled on top before serving.
  • Lemon: A bit of zest or a squeeze of lemon juice can brighten up the dish.

Cooking Techniques

Chicken livers sizzling in a pan with caramelized onions and jammy peppers, emitting savory aromas

In preparing chicken livers with caramelized onions and jammy peppers, your focus is on proper preparation, patient cooking, and precise heat control to achieve the desired textures and flavors.

Preparing the Chicken Livers

Before cooking, trimming the livers is essential. Remove any veins and connective tissues and separate the livers into lobes.

Rinse them briefly and pat dry.

It’s crucial to ensure they reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F when cooked, though some prefer them slightly pink inside for a tender texture.

Caramelizing Onions

Achieving perfect caramelized onions requires low and slow cooking.

Start with a skillet over medium-low heat, adding olive oil followed by thinly sliced onions.

Stir occasionally, allowing the onions to soften and brown gradually for 30-40 minutes, releasing their natural sugars.

If using a non-stick pan, adjust the cooking time as needed to prevent burning, resulting in deeply caramelized and sweet onions.

Creating Jammy Peppers

For the peppers, slice bell peppers into strips.

In the same skillet with residual fat from the onions, add a touch more olive oil.

Sauté over medium heat until they’re softened and have a jam-like consistency, intensifying their sweetness. This process complements the rich livers and the deeply caramelized onions in the recipe.

Recipe Walkthrough

Caramelized onions and jammy peppers sizzle in the pan as chicken livers brown. Aromatic steam rises from the skillet, filling the kitchen with savory scents

In this Recipe Walkthrough, you’ll learn the exact steps to prepare chicken livers with caramelized onions and jammy peppers. The instructions are clear and detailed to ensure you can recreate this delicious dish with confidence.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Preparation: Start by soaking your chicken livers in milk for about 30 minutes in the fridge, then rinse them and pat dry with paper towels. Preheat your oven to a specified temperature that will allow the eggs in the recipe to set perfectly without overcooking the livers.
  2. Cooking the Onions and Peppers: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add sliced onions and peppers, cooking them until they’re soft and have a jammy texture.
  3. Seasoning the Livers: In a separate bowl, mix flour with a variety of spices—fine sea salt, ground black pepper, and a pinch of cayenne for some heat. Coat each liver in the mixture, ensuring they are covered evenly. Shake off any excess flour.
  4. Frying the Livers: Increase the heat under the skillet and add the seasoned chicken livers. Fry them until they reach the desired doneness. The internal temperature should reach a safe level, typically around 165°F, for well-cooked livers.
  5. Combining Ingredients: If your recipe includes an egg mixture, pour it into the pan with the livers, onions, and peppers. Ensure it’s evenly distributed across the pan.
  6. Baking: Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the egg mixture is fully set and the livers are cooked to your preferred level of doneness.

Finishing Touches

  • Garnishing: Once out of the oven and slightly cooled, garnish the livers with freshly chopped parsley which will add a bright, herbal note to your dish.
  • Adding Lemon: Squeeze a bit of lemon over the livers for a touch of acidity that complements the richness of the livers and the sweetness of the onions.
  • Plating: Transfer the livers onto a serving platter. Arrange them beautifully, and ensure to spoon over any remaining juices from the skillet which are packed full of flavour.
  • Serving: Serve warm, allowing the symphony of flavors from the caramelized onions, jammy peppers, and perfectly cooked livers to be the highlight on the plate.

Serving Suggestions

Caramelized onions and jammy peppers surround a pile of chicken livers on a white plate

When you prepare chicken livers with caramelized onions and jammy peppers, the right accompaniments and wine pairings can turn a simple dish into an extraordinary dining experience.


For the perfect plate, pair your chicken livers with sides that complement the rich flavors. Consider the following:

  • Rice: A bed of fluffy, white rice makes an ideal base, letting the savory sauces from your chicken livers enhance every bite.
  • Vegetables: Steamed broccoli or roasted cauliflower can balance the dish with their earthy notes and add a textural contrast.

Wine Pairings

Choosing the right wine can elevate the dish further. Select from these options, depending on your preference for red or white wines:

  • Red Wine: A medium-bodied red, such as a Pinot Noir, pairs well with the dish’s deep, savory flavors.
  • Port: For a luxurious pairing, choose a Tawny Port; its sweetness will complement the caramelized elements.
  • White Wine: If you prefer white wine, opt for a dry Sherry. Its crispness cuts through the richness perfectly.
  • Sherry Vinegar: Consider adding a splash of sherry vinegar to the dish if your selected wine is on the sweeter side, for a balanced taste profile.

Storage and Reheating Tips

Caramelized onions and jammy peppers surround chicken livers in a storage container. A microwave sits nearby for reheating

Storing your leftover chicken livers with caramelized onions and jammy peppers properly will ensure they’re just as delicious when reheated. Follow these specific guidelines to maintain the dish’s quality and flavor.

Storing Leftovers

To store your leftovers:

  • Allow the dish to cool: Before refrigerating, let your chicken livers cool to room temperature. However, don’t leave them out for more than 2 hours to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Refrigeration: Transfer the livers to an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator. Properly stored, they will last for up to 3-4 days.
  • Yield: The quantity of leftovers you have will determine the size of the storage container needed. Ensure there’s minimal air space to reduce the risk of bacterial growth and preserve the flavors.

Best Methods for Reheating

For optimal flavor, reheating should be done carefully:

  • Frying Pan: Reheat in a frying pan over medium heat until just warmed through. This method can help maintain the livers’ texture.
  • Oven: Place in an oven-safe dish and warm at 275°F. Check periodically, as overcooking can toughen the livers.
  • Microwave: If using a microwave, cover the dish and reheat on medium power in short intervals, stirring in between to ensure even heating. Remember that microwaves can unevenly heat and sometimes toughen the livers.

Variations and Substitutions

When crafting your chicken liver dish with caramelized onions and jammy peppers, feel confident knowing that it is versatile. Whether you need to swap an ingredient due to dietary preferences or simply want to experiment with different flavors, this section guides you through the options.

Alternative Ingredients

  • Livers: If chicken liver isn’t to your taste or you’re looking for a milder flavor, consider using calf liver as a substitute. It’s richer and larger but can be cooked using the same methods.
  • Fat for Cooking: Substitute butter or margarine for oils when cooking. Both can give a richer flavor, although butter can add a subtle creaminess to the dish.
  • Onions: Red onions can replace yellow or white onions for a slightly sweeter taste that complements the caramelized profile.
  • Vegetable Add-ins: If peppers aren’t your favorite or you desire an earthy tone, opt for button mushrooms or mixed mushrooms to add depth and a hearty texture.
  • Herbs: Fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme can enhance the flavor. Use them sparingly to not overpower the liver’s delicate taste.

Flavor Variations

  • Seasoning: A blend of smoked paprika, salt, and pepper can give a subtle smokiness. If looking for a punch, a pinch of cayenne can be added.
  • Fresh Parsley: Add chopped fresh parsley before serving for a refreshing contrast and a pop of color.
  • Experimenting is key to discovering your perfect version of this dish. If you enjoy mild flavors, be cautious with robust herbs and opt for gentler seasoning. Smaller amounts of stronger spices like smoked paprika can be used to ensure they don’t dominate the dish.

Frequently Asked Questions

Caramelized onions and jammy peppers sizzle in a pan with chicken livers. Steam rises as the ingredients cook, creating a savory aroma

In this section, you’ll find answers to common queries about cooking chicken livers with caramelized onions and jammy peppers, ensuring a delightful culinary experience.

What are the benefits of soaking chicken livers in milk before cooking?

Soaking chicken livers in milk can help to remove any bitter taste and tenderize the livers. This process is thought to draw out impurities, resulting in a smoother and more subtle flavor.

How can I tell if chicken livers are cooked through?

Chicken livers are cooked through when they are no longer pink in the middle. They should have an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) when checked with a meat thermometer. The livers should be firm, with the insides cooked to a light pink color, indicating they are ready to eat.

What are some tips for properly caramelizing onions for this dish?

To properly caramelize onions, cook them slowly over medium heat. Start with a well-heated pan, add oil, then the sliced onions. Stir occasionally and let them cook until they’re a rich golden brown. The process may take about 15-20 minutes, as the natural sugars in the onions need time to caramelize.

Can you suggest alternative methods for preparing chicken livers if I don’t want to bake them?

If you prefer not to bake chicken livers, you can pan-fry them. After dredging them in seasoned flour, cook the livers in hot oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes on each side until browned. Another option is to sauté the livers in a skillet until they are fully cooked.

Is there a nutritional advantage to eating chicken livers?

Chicken livers are rich in essential nutrients such as iron, vitamin A, and B vitamins, particularly B12. These nutrients play vital roles in blood formation, skin health, and maintaining energy levels.

What type of peppers work best to create a jammy consistency?

For a jammy consistency, choose peppers that are naturally sweet and have a thick flesh like bell peppers or piquillo peppers.

Cooking them slowly with a touch of sugar, if desired, can enhance their natural sweetness and lead to a nice jammy texture.

Follow Us
Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
Follow Us
Latest posts by Cassie Marshall (see all)