Liver and Grits
Howard Conyers / Pitmaster + Scientist / New Orleans, Louisiana
For the liver:
3 tablespoons lard or bacon grease, divided
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 pound hog liver
freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
For the grits:
2 cups stone-ground grits
4 cups water
4 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons butter
Melt lard in a large skillet over medium heat; add the onions to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat with the fat. Stir frequently until deeply caramelized, about 45 minutes, and then remove to a paper towel to drain.
If the liver is fresh from a hog slaughtering, cut in ¼” to ½” slices, otherwise it is already sliced. Season the liver on both sides with salt and pepper and dust generously with the first quarter cup flour.
Add the rest of the lard to the skillet and let it get back hot. Then lay the liver in the grease and allow to cook for about 1 minute on each side. Fry the liver in batches so it doesn’t crowd the pan. Set the liver to the side and make the gravy.
Return the onions to the skillet and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons flour; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the flour starts to smell toasted and brown. Add water to the pan, ½ cup or more, depending on how thick you like your gravy, and stir well, scraping the bottom of the skillet. Simmer for a few minutes and if need be, add more water to the gravy to get the consistency you desire.
Make your grits with half water, half milk, and some butter and salt stirred in at the end. Serve the liver and onions over the grits with lots of gravy.
(from Crop Stories no.6)