Liver’s robust flavour is perfect in dumplings, that humble but satisfying dish that was once made with left-over bread, milk, and eggs. I was able to pick up some buffalo liver from First Nature Farms last week.
First I cut the liver into pieces and seared them on high heat. I set the liver aside, sweated onions in the same pan, then deglazed with vinegar and water.
For moisture and body, I added leftover bread heels soaked in milk. I used eggs to bind the mixture, dried bread to tune the consistency, and finsihed with salt, pepper, and thyme.
The ingredients were then forced through the hand-cranked meat grinder above, at left, which used to belong to my grandmother. This was the first time I’ve used it. It has a plate on it that redefines what I consider a “coarse grind.” You can see in the photo that it doesn’t even have holes like a typical die, but rather annular slits. It was perfect for the dumplings.
Once ground, I shaped the paste into balls. They can be poached, but I prefer frying them in a pan. I ate them with broth. Buffalo broth, of course.
A Weird Digression on Bison Milk
Working with buffalo liver and milk got me asking questions. What does buffalo milk taste like? My understanding is that bison are related more closely to dairy cows than to the dairy buffalo of Europe, so I would wager that their milk is similar to our household milk in fat, protein, lactose, et c. How difficult would it be to milk a buffalo?