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Calves liver with a delicate Puy lentil sauce recipe


Photo: Calves liver with a Puy lentil sauce

Photo: Calves liver with a Puy lentil sauce

Years ago Danny and I had an unforgettable meal in a Soho restaurant. As far as I remember we were the only customers that evening but the restaurant was designed so that we sat in our own little section – the atmosphere was intimate and the food delicious. The star dish of the evening was calves liver with a sauce of puy lentils. The combination was astonishingly good. Melt in the mouth liver combined with the texture of the lentils was a perfect partnership.

I’ve tried to recreate the lentil sauce many times since that memorable meal – without success. Yesterday I found some calves liver in the freezer and decided to give the sauce yet another go. This is what I came up with – finally I had made a sauce that we liked. In fact I was eating it cold for breakfast this morning straight out of the saucepan. The flavour of the lentil sauce must be subtle – it is there to enhance the delicate flavour of the calves liver and also to pad it out a bit as this liver is extremely expensive. Mashed potatoes and peas or runner beans are good with this dish.

I made this recipe using American cups and since then the lentils have vanished – don’t ask. This recipe makes a generous helping for 4. I’ve included our tried and tested way to cook calves liver. It’s very quick so you need to have everything else ready before cooking the liver.

Calves liver with a delicate Puy lentil sauce recipe

Ingredients for the Puy lentil sauce (for four):

1 cup of Puy lentils rinsed in cold water
2 cups of water
Half a chicken stock cube
Large pinch of English mustard powder
Half a tsp of garlic granules
Half a tsp of dried savory (herb)
1 dessert spoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 heaped tsp of Crème Fraiche

Ingredients for the calves liver (for two):
300g of calves liver (our liver was 0.5 centimetres thick)
25g of butter
2 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp of seasoned flour
Salt and pepper to taste

Add all the ingredients (but not the Crème Fraiche) into a saucepan and bring to simmering point. Simmer gently for half an hour – lid off. When the lentils are cooked stir in the Crème Fraiche and stir for a couple of minutes so that the cream thickens the sauce. Put on a lid and set aside in a warm place while you cook the liver.
Heat the olive oil in a heavy based sauté pan over a medium heat (D cooked it at 4 (we have a 0-10 knob setting).
Meanwhile coat the calves liver in well seasoned flour.
When the oil is warm fry the calves liver for 2 minutes.
Add 25g of butter, let it melt for 20 seconds (this is recommended by Gary Rhodes – not adding the butter at the beginning)
Turn the liver and season the cooked side with salt and pepper.
Cook for a further 2 minutes.
Serve on warm plates, with the Puy lentil sauce, mashed potatoes and peas or beans.

  Leave a reply


  1. Fancy the idea of the puy lentils/creme fraiche sauce, that’s a nice twist on a side dish with a sauce, quick & easy dish that can be served with any meat, shall give this a try, sounds lovely, may even have some calves liver in the depths of the freezer!
    I’m making an effort to eat more pulses, usually only uses them in soups/stews, it will make a nice change. Thank you,
    Odelle x

  2. Rosie at Eco-Gites

    What good timing with this recipe – I recently found some liver in the freezer, I have puy lentils on the shelf and creme fraiche in the fridge. That’s supper later on this week sorted then thank you 🙂

    Rosie x

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