Everyday Cooking

Jen's "Improved" Chicken Liver Ragu

October 28, 2013

Every Monday and Wednesday, we'll announce a new Wildcard winner: a recipe that may not have been entered in (or won) a contest, but a recipe that we've tested and loved.

Today: Yes, you can make chicken liver ragu yourself -- and one to convert any liver-haters, too.

Chicken Liver Ragu from Food52 

Shop the Story

WHO: Lastnightsdinner is a self-described "desk-jockey" by day -- and an accomplished home cook and blogger by night. (She's a longtime Food52er, too!)

WHAT: The secret to not-dry, delicious liver ragu? Some pork, of course.

HOW: Soak your porcini mushrooms. Sauté vegetables and pancetta, cook your chicken livers, add your porcini, wine, vermouth, tomatoes, and herbs, and let it simmer down. Toss with pasta. Dig in.

WHY WE LOVE IT: We're tempted to leave chicken liver ragu to the pros, but lastnightsdinner proves that the dish is awesome -- and better -- when made at home. With the livers, pancetta, porcini, wine, and vermouth, this is one sexy bowl of pasta; it feels like a special-occasion dish, but (shh!) it's also a simple, one-pot meal.

Jen's "Improved" Chicken Liver Ragu by lastnightsdinner

Makes about 5 cups of sauce

1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms + 1 cup boiling hot water
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 ounces pancetta, finely chopped
1 cup roughly chopped onion
1/2 cup roughly chopped carrot
Kosher salt
8 ounces chicken livers, trimmed and finely chopped
1 tablespoon double-concentrated tomato paste
1 ounce Italian (red/sweet) vermouth
1 ounce dry red wine
6 whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes (fresh or canned, about 1 cup)
4 large fresh sage leaves, chiffonade (about 1 tablespoon)
1/2 cup cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus additional for serving

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here. 

Photo by Ryan Dausch

Listen Now

Join The Sandwich Universe co-hosts (and longtime BFFs) Molly Baz and Declan Bond as they dive deep into beloved, iconic sandwiches.

Listen Now

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Emiko
  • bgavin
  • beth young
    beth young
  • Fairmount_market
  • dymnyno
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


Emiko November 3, 2013
Yes. Chicken liver is a favourite in our household (being married to a Tuscan does this). I also put chicken livers in beef ragu after reading about it in one of Elizabeth David's recipe books (she got it from a certain Zia Nerina who owned an Osteria in Bologna), they add an incredible depth of flavour and earthiness. Liver haters would be converted, if only they'd give it try!
bgavin November 3, 2013
I made this for dinner last week and loved it. I enjoyed prepping it, and once I had my mis en place ready, it all came together easily and deliciously. I didn't have any pancetta, so I used bacon. Next time (and there will be a next time) I will try this using guanciale. And I didn't have sweet vermouth, so I used Marsala...since it was only one ounce, what difference could it make?
beth Y. October 29, 2013
Sounds wonderful! We don't normally use livers in our ragu here in Pisa but I definitely want to give it a try!
Fairmount_market October 28, 2013
This sounds delicious. I can't wait to try it.
dymnyno October 28, 2013
This sounds seriously delicious, and fresh porcinis are at my grocery store.
Lizthechef October 28, 2013
Celebrating your lovely win and delicious recipe, knowing that an even more important celebration is coming soon, Mama Jen.