Chicken Livers with Bacon, Watercress and Dirty Rice
- TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 10 MIN
- SERVINGS: 4
Chicken-fried chicken livers are tossed with crisp bacon, tangy watercress and pickled onions in this piquant one-dish meal.
- 1 1/4 cups long-grain rice, rinsed and drained
- 1 3/4 cups water
- 1/2 pound bacon, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 large celery rib, finely diced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 pound chicken livers, trimmed and halved
- 2 cups small watercress sprigs
- Pickled red onion slices
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- In a medium saucepan, cover the rice with the water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat for 13 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the rice steam, covered, for 5 minutes. Lightly fluff the rice and cover.
- Meanwhile, in a deep skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp; transfer to paper towels. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the skillet. Add the onion, celery, thyme and 1/8 teaspoon of the cayenne. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened, 7 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Add the rice and bacon and stir well. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper and cover.
- In a bowl, combine the flour with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and the remaining cayenne. In another large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil until shimmering. Pat the livers dry with paper towels, dredge in the flour mixture and add to the skillet. Cover with a splatter screen and fry over high heat until browned outside and rosy within, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer the livers to a plate and sprinkle lightly with salt.
- Transfer the rice mixture to a platter. In a bowl, toss the watercress with the pickled onions and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the watercress and livers over the rice and serve.
Dishes with more than one dominant flavor can be a wine-pairing nightmare. Look for a wine with a Labrador-like personality; something that plays well with everyone, like a lively, juicy red that’s not too tannic or acidic. Beaujolais or Lambrusco are good bets.