Stewed bok-rat liver

Surely it is a truth universally acknowledged: that a Klingon warship, with no fresh bok-rat liver aboard, is barely a warship at all - let alone if there is no bloodwine. Such was the case for Jadzia Dax and Worf, when they boarded the IKS Rotarran, under the command of General Martok (DS9: Soldiers of the Empire). Dax brightened the mood considerably by bringing cases of bloodwine aboard, but overall morale was low. Such is the fate of a crew surviving on old bok-rat liver.

Dax was certainly right about the liver: the secret to this recipe is to ensure your liver is fresh. The stew base could be altered depending on what you have to hand - you could easily add some potatoes, for example. This is a great dish for cold winter nights, even if you’re not aboard the Rotarran, and also stores well and is even better the next day.

Replicate your own
(Serves 2-3)

500g lamb’s liver
1 onion, diced
1 tin crushed tomatoes
1 tin cannellini beans (or rehydrate some dried beans)
2 carrots, diced
1 stick celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
150-200g bacon, diced
250g chicken or vegetable stock
5 tablespoons cornflour (corn starch)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

In a large saucepan or cast-iron cooking pot suitable for the stove, add the diced bacon and cook gently, so it releases its fat. Once it starts to crisp up, add the diced onion and garlic and cook in the bacon fat. You might need to add a splash of vegetable oil if your bacon wasn’t very fatty.

When the onions start to soften, add the celery and carrots, and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock, tinned tomatoes and cannellini beans, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. Put the lid on the pot and allow it to simmer gently while you prepare the liver.

To prepare the liver, remove any silver membrane or fatty pieces. Slice the liver into thin pieces - a very sharp knife is good for this, because the liver is so fragile.

In a bowl, mix together the cornflour, salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne pepper. Coat the liver pieces in the seasoned flour, tapping them gently to remove any excess.

Add the pieces of liver to the stew, stirring so that most of them are submerged in the liquid. Simmer the liver for about 30 minutes, or until both the liver and vegetables are soft and well incorporated.

Optional: reserve a few of the liver pieces dredged in the seasoned flour, and when the stew is ready, fry them over high heat for about 30 seconds per side. Add these to the top of your stew as a garnish.

Make sure all crew members know the lyrics to The Warrior’s Anthem and be sure to keep morale up, and you will eat many delicious bok-rat liver dishes in the glorious battle-ridden future. 

Sisko’s Aubergine Stew

I thought it might be nice to stay on Deep Space Nine this week (since it was the 20th Anniversary of the series premiere last week) and sample some of Benjamin Sisko’s wonderful Aubergine stew. Judging by Dax’s reaction in The Nagus, this stew is well worth waiting for. And having tried it now myself, I must admit being pleasantly surprised about how good this was.

Sisko was apparently famous for this dish; he made it when he first met Jennifer, his future wife, and Dax was clearly very familiar with it. I followed the basic structure for a classic aubergine stew but feel free to change the type of meat in there if you wish.

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Replicate your own
(Serves 4)

2 eggplants (aubergines), diced into medium pieces
1 onion, diced
1 green capsicum, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced fine
1/2 leek, chopped into small rings
1 tin crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon each of: dried oregano, dried thyme, cayenne pepper, ground tumeric, cumin and black pepper
Salt
2 or 3 chicken drumsticks, with the bone in
1 or 2 sprigs of parsley, to garnish
Olive oil

Begin by chopping the eggplant and sprinkle the pieces liberally with salt. Set aside while you chop the other vegetables.

In a large pot or saucepan, heat a splash of olive oil. Cook the onion and garlic until soft, then add the spices and cook for a minute or so until they are fragrant. Brush any excess salt off the eggplant and add to the pot, and cook for another couple of minutes.

Add the rest of the vegetables (capsicum and leek) and cook until they soften slightly. Then add the crushed tomatoes and stir so everything is coated in the tomatoes. Push the chicken drumsticks down into the vegetables, then put the lid on the pot and cook on a low heat for about 45 minutes, until the chicken is falling off the bones and the vegetables are soft. 

Remove the chicken from the stew and shred the meat. Set aside, along with about 1/4 of the stew mixture. Blend the remaining 3/4 of the stew so that it is broken into smaller pieces but is still somewhat chunky.

To serve, mix the chicken meat back into the blended stew mixture, and top with the unblended pieces of vegetables. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Notes:

  • You can skip the step of salting the eggplant if you wish, but I find it helps the eggplant keep its shape while cooking and also means the eggplant doesn’t go bitter
  • This can be served with rice if wished.

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