Lucy’s liver and onions with polenta

I met Lucy in Avignon where our friendship cemented over a manic birthday party on the terrace of her tiny flat from which, if you strained hard enough, you could see the Palais des Papes in the distance. We spent most of our time drinking coffee up to lunch, wine over lunch, and beer with dinner while smoking heavily and playing whist. We explored Provence heavily in between.

Lucy and me, Blue Lagoon, Iceland March 2012, washing off the face packs in eggy thermal water

Lucy and me, Blue Lagoon, Iceland March 2012, washing off the face packs in eggy thermal water

Lucy and I have laughed, a lot. On one occasion we had a collective fit of the giggles while watching Viva Forever, one of the worst musicals I have ever seen. I made a quip, Lucy giggled, and couldn’t stop. It became infectious. Our party of four couldn’t breathe for laughing and trying to stifle it. Understandably the audience started to turn. You don’t know fear until you’ve seen anger in the eyes of an ardent Spice Girls fan in a pair of teeny-boppers.

20-odd years later we’re still best friends, we still travel for cheeky city breaks without our other halves and we still eat out as often and as extravagantly as our wallets allow. This meal is borne from two things; firstly, both Lucy and I love liver, our partners don’t. Secondly this is the laziest supper to whip up after work. I make no apologies for the prepared polenta or stock for the gravy, the key here is a quick meal to prepare leaving for longer time to gossip.

This feeds two people, with no left overs… sorry.

Music to prepare this dish to: ‘Y’a d’la haine’ by Les Rita Mitsouko


  • 2 large slices of lambs liver
  • Plain flour for dusting
  • 2 large onions sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 x 400g can of Baxter’s Royal Game Soup (or 400ml of reduced beef stock)
  • 1 x 500g pack of ready made polenta, evenly sliced in 6
  • Vegetable oil for frying


  1. Fry the sliced onions over a high-ish heat. Don’t add salt yet as you want the onions to brown and slightly char (not much). Once they’ve browned off, put in a bowl and put to one side.
  2. Dust the liver in the flour seasoned with salt and a little pepper and shake off any excess.
  3. In the onion pan, add some more oil and fry the liver until it is seared and sealed on both sides.
  4. Add the onions and the soup and mix. Reduce the heat to medium and let the liver, onions and soup percolate.
  5. In a separate pan, heat a good plug of oil and fry the polenta slices. These take a good 5-7 minutes to brown on each side… which is as long as the liver takes to cook. Don’t shake/move them too much as they will not brown.
  6. Once both are cooked, put three slices of your crispy polenta on each plate, sprinkle with salt and then portion out the liver and onion gravy. Be fair with your portions.
  7. Be careful of your seasoning, Baxter’s season their products well, so you shouldn’t have to do much.

Serve with a good, heady southern French wine.


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