Friday, October 26, 2012

Eggplant and Chicken Liver Casserole

Longtime readers will know that eggplant is vegetable non grata in my house, or at least with my husband Bob. So, in order to make all the recipes in the cookbook, I have to foist some of  them on other eaters. This one was really a foisting. I have to say, this is not a good recipe. If you are particularly fond of both eggplant and chicken livers, you might improve this recipe by adding onions and garlic. The way it is, eh, I wouldn't bother.
It did have one benefit, that of bringing chicken livers into the house, where they could be fed to our elderly corgi, who is, I fear, not long for this world. He had essentially stopped eating, but chicken livers piqued his appetite, and now he is eating two meals a day.
I made the casserole for a potluck lunch that was to take place after an equestrian games event at the stable where the horse boards. If the idea of playing games on horseback seems weird, it's pretty common in England where they call it a gymkhana.  Usually, I believe children do it, but here, it was just a bunch of women having fun with their horses.
My horse is usually not Mr. Cooperative. He does certain things well, and other things he does not do. He does not like to go on trail rides. He is a dressage horse. He belongs in the ring. I didn't think he would play games, but he went along with it pretty well. In something called the carrot race, where the horse is supposed to trot after its rider, who is brandishing a carrot, he did not run out of the ring and back to his stable. He actually trotted after the carrot.
He did not kick the bejesus out of my partner's horse during the ribbon race, where two riders had to ride side by side, each holding the end of a piece of crepe paper.
When it came time to eat, one woman had brought an excellent cheese dip and crackers, some one else brought chips and salsa, and I brought the casserole. Most people left some on their plates. It wasn't great.  I gave the leftovers to Anna, the woman who runs the stable, for her workers, who are living in her house while their burned out trailer is being replaced.

Eggplant and Chicken Liver Casserole

2 medium size eggplants
Boiling salted water
5 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound chicken livers
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste
cayenne pepper to taste
3/4 cup soft bread crumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Trim off and discard the ends of the eggplants. Cut the eggplants into one-inch cubes. Barely cover with boiling salted water and simmer until tender, about ten minutes. (About 20 minutes is more like it.) Drain in a colander. Empty the eggplant into a mixing bowl and mash with a fork.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
3. Heat two tablespoons of the butter in a skillet. Add the chicken livers and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook livers until brown on all sides, then chop livers in the skillet. Add them to the eggplant.
4. Heat two tablespoons of the remaining butter in the same skillet. Add the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until mushrooms are wilted. Add them to the eggplant mixture.
5. Stir in the eggs, beating thoroughly. Add the parsley, cream, nutmeg, cayenne, and all but two tablespoons of the bread crumbs. Add all but two tablespoons of the cheese. Mix well and pour the mixture into a one quart casserole.
6. Sprinkle with the remaining bread crumbs and cheese and dot with the remaining butter.  Bake twenty-five to thirty minutes. Makes six to eight servings.

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