Saturday, October 17, 2020



Menu variety! Lamb's liver in an onion sauce spiked with Sherry.

Searching the cold locker for turkey drumsticks at the supermarket, I discovered a section of meats that I had never before explored—los despojos or casquería—variety meats or offal. Brains, kidneys, tripe, sweetbreads, pigs’ feet, chicken’s blood, giblets. 

I’ll have to work up to brains. For now, lamb’s liver is a good starting point. I like liver (except for pork liver, which for some reason, I took a dislike to), so it will give me some menu variety without being too challenging.

This is a Spanish version of “liver and onions.” The onions cook slowly, melting into the sauce. The liver, however, doesn’t need to cook more than a few minutes. It’s best if still a little pink. If lamb's liver is not available, use calves' liver in its place. Sherry is added at the very end of the cooking. Best is an oloroso-seco or amontillado, but, if not available, fino Sherry is fine.

Tender and savory liver is not so challenging. Spanish style, it's served with patatas fritas, fries.

Add Sherry to the sauce at the very end, so its flavor persists.

Lamb’s Liver with Onion Sauce
Higado de Cordero Encebollado

Serves 3-4.

1 pound lamb’s liver
Freshly ground black pepper
2-3 onions (about 12 ounces)
4 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup red bell pepper cut in strips
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup chicken or meat stock
2 tablespoons Sherry
Chopped parsley

Cut the liver into bite-sized pieces. Place it in a bowl and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

Cut the onions in half, then slice them in julienne.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy skillet. Add the onions and fry them slowly until they are softened and transluscent, 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon more of oil. Add the strips of red pepper and chopped garlic. Continue cooking on moderate heat until onions are very soft, 10 minutes. Don’t let them get too brown. Scoop out the vegetables and reserve them.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and heat over medium-high. Add the pieces of liver in a single layer. Allow them to brown without stirring for 1 minute. Turn the pieces and brown them 1 minute more.

Reduce heat to moderate. Move the liver to one side of the pan and add the flour. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and stir it into the flour. Stir the flour into the pieces of liver. Add the stock and stir until the sauce is well blended and thickened, 2 minutes. Stir in the Sherry and immediately remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the chopped parsley.

Serve the liver and onion sauce immediately.

More recipes with liver:

More encebollado recipes:


  1. That's my kind of dish, though I'd probably add a bit of bacon. I love brains and most offal, I've even got some Catalan pig trotter confit in the freezer!

    1. Mad Dog: Agreed, a little bacon--or jamón serrano--would be a good add. You might like some of these: kidneys al jerez , cheeks and trotters tripe stew,

  2. Beautiful lady - welcome to my world and my basic food loves ! Not that these days I can get all from the local supermarket !! Who on earth can be bothered with boring steak and chops when all of this is available !! You have omitted ox-tail and pig's blood for black pudding and blood pancakes . . . huge on my fave menus. And I am not particularly fond of brains for health reasons - too much saturated fat ! Tripe, sweetbreads and calves liver are mandatory on a weekly or so basis. You are making the very common liver and onions I have eaten for more than half a century with what, in Australia, is called lambs fry - methinks it is much more refined with calves liver ? Preparing all this European/modern Australian style I must admit I omit the Iberian peninsula's capsicums and use cognac rather than sherry . . . please, Milady, continue a food journey into veritable wonderland , , , and blood crepes should be at the very top of it . . . :) !!!

    1. Eha: Glad to have touched on some of your favorites. I am unlikely to get fresh pig's blood, so I'll just enjoy the variety of blood sausages available in Spain. See this post about morcilla sausage: The congealed blood I found in the supermarket is cubed and fried with garlic, a touch of Sherry. I don't much like the texture. See my reply to the comment above for links to more offal recipes.