Two Estonian Gourmet Recipes On a Shoestring

In Estonia, November is a dark and relatively cold period – perfect timing to stay inside and cook something delicious to enjoy with your friends.

gizzards in a bowl

Liver with sour cream

This is a very simple recipe that takes only 15 minutes to cook. The trickiest part is to find fresh (and young) beef liver from the market. It is easier to find pork liver, but it might not be so tender and sometimes even bitter (of course, the bitter taste can be removed if you soak the liver in milk for an hour).

You’ll need:

1 (beef) liver
2–3 tablespoons of real Estonian butter
250 g sour cream (hapukoor)
½ teaspoon of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
A bit of fresh thyme
Fresh parsley for serving

How to cook:

– Remove the membrane that surrounds the liver and slice it.
– Melt the butter in a large pan, then add the pieces of liver.
– Fry for about 10 minutes (do not overcook, as it gets tough!), then add salt, pepper, thyme, and sour cream.
– Cook for a couple of minutes more.
– Finally, add chopped parsley.

Serve with rice or couscous and any green salad.
Liver provides protein, folic acid, iron, and vitamin A, which is good for your vision and immune system.

raw liverfrying liverseasoning liver with pepperserving liver

Chicken gizzards in red wine with herbs

Have you ever tried chicken gizzards (broileripugu in Estonian)? Well, it’s time! It is ridiculously cheap – half a kilo costs even less than 2 euros and you can prepare a delicious dinner for 4!

You’ll need:

500 g of chicken gizzards
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of flour
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 small carrot, grated
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt
Some ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1.5 (or even a bit more) (wine)glasses of dry red wine
1.5 glasses of vegetable stock
1 teaspoon of butter for the end
Some dill and parsley for serving

How to cook:

– Slice the chicken gizzards and scatter flour over the meat.
– Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add olive oil.
– Add chopped onion and carrot. Cook until the onion is getting soft.
– Add sliced gizzards, garlic, and bay leaf, and cook around 10 minutes.
– Season with salt and pepper. Add chopped fresh thyme and oregano.
– Pour red wine into the meat and leave to cook for 15 minutes over a medium flame (you can add more wine if it feels too dry at some point).
– Pour vegetable stock into the meat and leave to cook for another 15 minutes (again, add some more stock or water if it feels too dry).
– Finally, add some butter, chopped dill, and parsley, and then mix it.

Wine and herbs add a well-balanced and brilliant flavour. For the best flavour, serve it with (raw) buckwheat (toortatar) or rice and cauliflower. It is a very different experience to eat, as the meat remains a little crunchy.

gizzards in a packraw gizzardsfrying gizzardsgizzards on a plate

Piret Saluveer loves to cook and travel. In her spare time she works as an international student coordinator at the University of Tartu. All photos in the post are authored by Piret.

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