Calves’ Liver with Gooseberry Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

A Taste of Dreams

A Taste of Dreams

By Josceline Dimbleby

Published 1976

  • About

This is a fairly rich tasting and exotic looking dish suitable for a dinner party. If you can’t get calves’s liver use lambs’ – though calves’ is much more tender and delicious. If you use lambs’ liver try and buy some which is a pale colour. Butchers always say the colour makes no difference but it seems to me that the paler it is the better it tastes. Also ask the butcher to slice the liver as thinly as possible – somehow English butchers never seem to slice it as thinly as in Italy, but you can try to persuade them Liver is often good mixed with slight sweetness, like orange juice, or as in this recipe where the gooseberries give it an original taste which goes well with the savoury flavour of the mint and capers.


  • about lb calves′ liver – cut very thinly (575 g)
  • seasoned flour
  • 2 onions
  • 3–4 tomatoes
  • 1 wineglass sherry
  • 1 wineglass water
  • 1 small tin gooseberries – drained (in summer you could use stewed fresh gooseberries)
  • handful of fresh mint leaves – roughly chopped
  • 4 teaspoons capers
  • salt, black pepper
  • olive oil
  • butter


Coat the liver slices in seasoned flour. Melt a little olive oil and about 1 oz butter (25 g) in a large flying pan. Sauté the liver in a pan over a medium heat for 1–2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a fairly large but shallow serving dish, cover with foil and keep warm in a very low oven. Peel and slice the onions into fine rings. Add more oil and butter to the pan and fry the onions over a medium heat until soft and transparent. Transfer to the serving dish and mix with the liver. Cut the tomatoes up into quarters and fry them in the pan until soft. Arrange them on top of the liver and onions. Now into the pan pour the sherry and water, salt and pepper and boil fiercely until the juice has reduced and thickened. Then stir in the capers, the chopped mint leaves and the drained gooseberries and pour the sauce over the dish of liver. If you put the foil on top of the dish again you can keep it warm in a very low oven for an hour or so until you are ready to eat it. I serve it with new or mashed potatoes and a crisp green salad.