Chicken Livers with Caramelized Onions and Madeira


Rich-tasting caramelized onions combined with Madeira make a spectacular sauce for chicken livers. Serve with rice or over toast so you won't miss a single drop. Plus:  More Chicken Recipes and Tips 

Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
30 mins


  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil

  • 3 yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

  • 1 1/4 pounds chicken livers, each cut in half

  • 1/2 cup Madeira

  • 1 hard-cooked egg, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


  1. In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add onions, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are well browned, about 35 minutes. Remove onions from the pan and transfer to a serving platter or individual plates.

  2. In the same frying pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over moderately high heat. Season chicken livers with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Put livers in pan, in two batches if necessary, and cook for 2 minutes. Turn over and cook until browned, about 2 minutes longer; livers should still be pink inside. Remove chicken livers from the pan and place on top of onions.

  3. Return pan to stove, increase heat to high and add Madeira. Boil rapidly, scraping bottom of the pan to dislodge any brown bits, for 1 minute. Pour sauce over chicken livers and onions. Top with egg and parsley.

    Chicken Livers with Caramelized Onions and Madeira
    © Ben Dearnley



Chicken Livers with Caramelized Onions and Sherry: Use 1/2 cup of dry sherry instead of the Madeira.

Chicken Livers with Caramelized Onions and Port: Use 1/2 cup of port instead of the Madeira.

Suggested Pairing

The rich and luscious Madeira sauce is ideal with fruity, spicy Grenache-based wines. A Gigondas or a Côtes-du-Rhône from the Rhône Valley in France or a bottle of Grenache from California would be appropriate.

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