What We’re Cooking This Week: Cibreo

You don’t need the gnarliest giblets to bring out the best of this delicacy.

A bowl of cibreo with toast. (Jim Dixon)

Jim Dixon wrote about food for WW for more than 20 years, but these days most of his time is spent at his olive oil-focused specialty food business Wellspent Market. Jim’s always loved to eat, and he encourages his customers to cook by sending them recipes every week through his newsletter. We’re happy to have him back creating some special dishes just for WW readers.

This ancient dish was supposedly a favorite of Caterina de’ Medici, although the cibreo she ate was made with cockscombs, hearts and testicles. But it’s hard enough just finding good chicken livers, and the Tuscan osterias that serve a modern version, like me, forgo the gnarlier giblets.

I like to make cibreo for people who claim they don’t like liver. Some kind of culinary magic happens when you add the egg yolks at the end. That iron-y liver flavor disappears, and once they taste it, so does the cibreo. While I mostly eat it on lightly toasted bread, a few spoonfuls stirred into hot pasta are also very tasty.


1 pound chicken livers

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 leek (or small onion), finely chopped

2 tablespoons flour

¼ cup water or broth

2 tablespoons white wine, optional

¼ chopped fresh sage or parsley (or a mix)

1 teaspoon kosher-style sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook the leek in the olive oil with the salt and pepper over medium heat until it gets very soft, about 10 minutes. Add about the chicken livers. You could chop them up first, but raw liver is messy, so I chop them in the pan with a stiff metal spatula while they cook.

When the livers are lightly brown but still a little pink inside, sprinkle a couple of spoonfuls of flour over them. Stir well and let the flour cook for a couple of minutes. Pour in the water and, if you feel like it, a splash of white wine. Stir and continue cooking, adding more water if the mixture gets too thick. You want a consistency like thick gravy.

After a few more minutes, remove from the heat and, while the liver cools, separate 2 eggs (save the whites for a frittata) and mix the yolks with about a tablespoon of good wine vinegar. Stir the yolks into the liver, sprinkle with the chopped herbs, and eat on toasted or grilled bread.

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