By Pholosho Matondolo
Growing up in a family of 6 in Seshego, situated in the beautiful Limpopo province of South Africa, food items in my Township such as chicken livers, Tin fish and mincemeat used to be everyone’s favourite “Sishebo” (side dish that can be served with pap, rice, potatoes, etc). They were my mother’s favourites too and she prepared them for her family often. I must say my mother was a good cook (but probably not as good as me!). We used to have chicken livers, sardines and mincemeat so much that I knew my mother’s weekly menu by heart. At times I would create a crazy fun song that said: “today is Monday, so we are having this, if not served this way then it will definitely be served this way!” At some point my mother’s dishes, as tasty as they were, became very boring and repetitive .
My mother picked up her love of cooking and baking from me, from a young age I asked many questions about cooking. I always volunteered to help her whenever she was in the kitchen. I got so good that she let me do the cooking and baking by myself. That’s when I started making suggestions about how to jazz up her usual dishes. She liked the suggestions and my family started to like my cooking more and more. Cooking became my favourite thing to do for my family, especially because of all the attention it got me! So I started getting more creative in my mother’s kitchen, coming up with new ideas to transform my mother’s old time dishes. One that became my favourite, when I still ate meat, was chicken livers. I realised that one can do a lot with it and serve it in so may different ways. Despite being a non-meat eater, I still love making yummy, easy dishes with chicken livers for my husband because he loves them. I came to realise that “Chicken Livers” are not as boring as I thought.
I have served them several times as a starter, as a salad and as part of the main dish and I still believe that one can do a lot more with them. They are relatively inexpensive, quick to prepare and a fun food item to explore with.
So the other day when I did not have many ingredients in my kitchen to prepare dinner for my hubby, I opened my freezer and the only things I could find was bacon and chicken livers. I took them out from the freezer and wondered what I could serve them with? I opened my kitchen pantry and the first thing I saw was a packet of fusilli pasta and I said that’s it!!
That evening dinner was served: Pasta and Chicken livers with bacon
200g pasta Fusilli or any pasta of your choice
500g tub Chicken livers (washed and cleaned) and cut into small pieces
Half medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chicken spice
1 tsp dried thyme
Handful, cocktail tomatoes ( just a few)
Half a cup frozen peas, thawed in hot water
Salt and pepper to taste
For the sauce, whisk together
2 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp Fresh Lemon juice
Rocket leaves to garnish (optional)
Cook pasta as per instructions on packaging.
Heat 1 tsp of oil in a non-stick pan on medium heat, fry the bacon for about two minutes or until crispy. Remove from heat and set aside on a paper towel, slice the bacon into strips once cooled off.
Using the same pan, heat the rest of the oil, add the chicken livers and fry them for 2 minutes. Season with dried thyme and chicken spice. Add the onions once the livers start turning brown, fry further while adding the bacon, tomatoes and peas. Season with salt and pepper to taste. When cooked remove from heat.
Serve warm with pasta, drizzle the sauce over the chicken livers and garnish with rocket leaves.
It’s for 2 servings, a medium size salad bowl!