Matt Green is the Head Chef on Britain’s popular luxury train line the Northern Belle. Here, he shares a liver and mash recipe from the train’s fantastic on-board menu that’s perfect for a cold and rainy locked-down weekend.
The inspiration behind the recipe
When I first picked up a copy of ‘White Heat’ by Marco Pierre White, I noticed a dish inside that caught my attention. It was ‘Foie Gras with lentils du pays and sherry vinegar sauce’. At a young age, Marco would visit Leeds market with his father. His inspiration for this dish came when he ate hot pie and mushy peas with vinegar on. ‘It was a brilliant combination those peas and vinegar’ he went on to say.
At his restaurant Harveys he perfected the dish and worked on those childhood memories. He brought it into a different league by using foie gras, added sherry vinegar to the sauce and switched the mushy peas to lentils. A dish was born that purely evoked from childhood memories.
Vinegar with everything
Marco’s story is not dissimilar to mine. My parents owned a pea and pie stall. Early memories of a large pan of simmering mushy peas stick with me to this very day. Like Marco, I enjoyed a lovely pork pie, peas and lashings of malt vinegar. The vinegar cut through the fattiness and richness of the pork pie and made for a taste sensation.
My dish is very similar in inspiration to Marco’s. Instead of ditching the peas, I’ve kept them. I’ve replaced the foie gras with calf’s liver – all served on luxurious chive mash potatoes with onion sherry vinegar gravy. The vinegar cuts through the richness of the liver.
Pan-fried calf’s liver, chive mash, mushy peas, Pedro Ximenez sherry vinegar gravy. Serves 4
225g dried marrowfat peas
2 tablespoons baking soda
Salt and pepper
1 1⁄2 teaspoons sugar or to taste
50 g butter
Place the peas in a large bowl or pot. They will expand so make sure it’s big enough. Add the baking soda and just cover with boiling water. Stir until the baking soda dissolves.
Let the peas soak for a minimum of 12 hours or overnight
Drain and rinse the peas well in a colander, then transfer them to a large pot.
Cover the peas with cold water and bring them to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the peas for approximately 30 minutes or until they soften and turn mushy.
Keep stirring occasionally in case they catch.
Adjust consistency with more water if needed. Season the peas with sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Add the knob of butter. For a smoother texture run them through the food processor if you prefer a puree.
When you are happy with the seasoning and texture set aside to keep warm.
1kg Maris Piper potatoes
100g of diced unsalted butter
75ml of double cream
A generous bunch of chives – finely chopped
Nutmeg to taste
Peel the potatoes and cut them into even-sized pieces. Put them in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and add a little salt
Bring the potatoes to the boil then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer
Cook until the potatoes are tender but not overcooked. Drain in a colander and leave to steam dry for 1-2 minutes
Mash the potatoes with a masher or put through a potato ricer. Add the diced butter
Once the butter is incorporated add the double cream
Season with the salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Fold in the chopped chives
Set aside and keep warm
SEARED CALF’S LIVER
1kg Calf’s Liver 50g Butter
Salt, Pepper Plain Flour
Season the flour with the salt and pepper. Set aside on a plate.
Slice the liver into 1cm thick pieces. Lightly dust in seasoned flour. Heat a dash of oil in a frying pan until hot and fry the liver until golden brown. Turn the liver over, add a little butter to the pan and fry until golden on all sides. Leave to rest for 2 minutes before serving. The liver is best served pink in the middle so only needs 1⁄2 to 1 minute per side.
*Try and get calf’s liver. The flavour is amazing and doesn’t need to be soaked in milk unlike other liver. If you cannot get your hands on calf’s liver substitute for lamb’s liver.
SHERRY VINEGAR GRAVY
2 tbsp butter
2 shallot, finely chopped
2 tbsp Sherry vinegar
300ml red wine
400ml beef stock
Splash of Hendersons Relish
Pour the fat out of the pan you cooked your liver in, but don’t clean it. Place the pan back on the heat with half the butter and the shallots and soften for 2 minutes.
Deglaze the pan with the sherry vinegar and simmer for a moment. Pour in the wine and stir, scraping any sticky bits off the bottom of the pan. Bring to the boil and bubble for a minute, then add the stock. Boil the sauce down rapidly to about 300ml in total, then taste and season. Whisk in the remaining butter, Henderson’s relish plus any resting juices from the liver. Serve with crispy pieces of bacon.
*Henderson’s Relish is a spicy and fruity condiment, produced in Sheffield in South Yorkshire. It is similar in appearance to Worcestershire sauce, but contains no anchovies.