Thursday, April 18, 2013

Maksa Laatikko - Liver Casserole

Liver is not uncommon ingredient in Filipino cuisine. For almost 11 years of living in Finland, I have been quite curious about the Finnish traditional dish called Maksa Laatikko or Liver Casserole. It is readily available in most grocery stores all year round and Christmas spread at Mummis place is not complete without this. Though yes, I have tried small amounts of it, I didn't actually take a liking to it, until I tasted a home made one.

So today, I focused on this unique dish. For people who likes liver, this should be on your top 10 list of your most favourite, at least.

* I start off by cooking 1 cup of porridge rice (in 3 cups water and ½ tsp. salt).
The recipe I found called for 1 cup of long grain rice. You can use that of course. I just think that porridge rice has more texture to it. And if cooked properly, it could be as good as the sushi rice. Please wash the rice at least twice.

* Butter up the sides of 2 pieces 1 Liter baking pans, or 4 pieces of 500 ml.

* When the rice is on 'al dente' stage, turn off the heat and pour 2½ cups of milk.  Stir and set aside.
I used whole milk just because everything taste so good with the creamiest possible. You can of course use non-fat or regular milk.

* Heat up 1 tbsp. of olive oil and fry about 150 grams of bacon until crisp. Chopped up to crumbles. Set aside.
I used a 6 liter wok for this, coz I work better with woks and since this will yield more than 3 liters, its better to have more working space.

* At this point, turn on your oven to 175 degs C.

* In the same wok with the oil left from the bacon, saute 1 finely chopped medium onion, until its limp.

* Add to this, the rice and milk mixture and stir for about 1 min.

* Pour in 4 tbsp. of dark syrup. (You can find this on the shelves right next to the sugars and honey)

* Add to this 1½ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. white pepper, ½ tsp. marjoram and 1 cup of raisins. Stir for 1 min.

* Add 400 gms. of mushed beef liver. (It is easier to chop the liver into cubes first, then freeze a bit, before mushing it in a food processor. Chopping it with knife may leave you with big pieces)

* Turn off the heat, then stir in bacon bits and 2 lightly beaten eggs.

*  Pour in the mixture equally to the baking pans, and bake for at least 45 mins to an hour on middle rack.

* Serve this with puolukka/cowberry jam. Enjoy!

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