Sticky Fig Chicken Livers with Marsala Wine Sauce

Sticky Fig Chicken Livers with Marsala Wine Sauce on white plate

Thank heaven for small figs. For one day, they shall become big figs – or at least bigger figs. And with a bit of luck (and earnest prayers to the Ficus God) they might even grow up to be big RIPE purple sticky figs!

Two small figs on tree

What’s that, give them another few days you say? You’re probably right

There is much to praise and celebrate in my little world this week. Firstly, as you can see, our fig tree is producing lots of teeny fruits – which, to be fair happened a couple of weeks ago, but they seem to be growing well and looking sufficiently fig-like for me to get excited whenever I pass them by.  I so wanted to include a few of these saucy little jewels in this recipe, but alas, the shelves were bare at every turn. It was clearly not meant to be. Sufficient events conspired, however, to nudge me on with my figgy intentions, one of which was a gift from my lovely loony friend. Having returned to work after her family Easter holiday en France she presented me with a little jar of Figue Confiture: parfait or what!! This, together with the remaining fig chutney from Christmas, formed the sticky sweet base for this post’s recipe. More on that in a bit…

Fig jam, balsamic vinegar and Marsala Wine

Sticky Figs will out

Aside from the mini fig praising, there are also some major celebrations afoot for a Special Someone’s special birthday this weekend…My step mum will reach a milestone age any moment now and if this isn’t cause for much eating, drinking (bubbles!), presents and merriment then I don’t know what is! As such we’re all being treated to what promises to be an amazing meal at Galvin at Windows on Saturday, followed by a lazy day of ‘afternoon tea’ style food – sandwiches, cakes, scones, cakes, tea, cakes, etc. – with lots of folk, as we’ll no doubt be starving after the previous day’s feasting.
I shall be doing my bit toward catering for this sugar-fuelled day, but for today let us just give thanks to the humble, yet satisfying and tasty, Mid-Week Dinner.

Chicken livers and smoked lardons on marble

My husband loves chicken livers so I cook them fairly often, as they make a delicious, dare I say nutritious, meal – but don’t let that put you off…there’s still plenty of indulgent additions to balance it out.  I usually add bacon for salty goodness; always add Marsala wine for sweetness (and sauciness); herbs for freshness and then whatever else I fancy (or have lying about that needs finishing up). Today, for some reason that I can’t quite fathom, I am in a Figgy State of Mind…and stomach. They therefore formed the key sweet jammy flavour that works so well against the mellow irony softness of the chicken livers.

Chicken livers with seasoning on white board

Cook’s notes: If you don’t usually enjoy liver, or offal in general, I would still urge you to try this recipe. Chicken livers have a beautifully soft melting texture and that ‘livery’ taste is so mild, especially when balanced against a sweet tangy creamy sauce…You must cook them on a high heat very quickly so that the outside gets caramelised but the interior remains soft and pink. Overcooked livers are a sad story with an unhappy ending. Don’t go there.

I often use a wok when cooking chicken livers, as they’re ideal for cooking food quickly at a high heat. However, I would caution that they do tend to ‘pop’ this way (i.e. make an alarming ‘pop’ sound whilst jumping and spitting hot fat on your arms and/or face). I’ve not researched enough to find out the reason why this happens – suffice to say, it always happens when I cook them in a wok, but not when I use a copper pan. Here endeth my ‘advise’, such as it it.

Sticky Fig Chicken Livers with Marsala Wine Sauce in pan

Sweet Sticky Fig Chicken Livers cooomin’ right up

Oh, and Beryl managed to use her cat flap (un-aided if you please) for the very first time this morning. Praise be to the kind and generous Universe.  She is just a genius, there’s no other word for it. Amen.


  • Fresh organic chicken livers – 400g
  • Smoked dry cure lardons – 200g
  • Marsala wine – approx. 50ml
  • Fig jam and/or fig chutney – approx. 2 dessert spoons
  • Good quality aged balsamic vinegar – a good drizzle
  • Double cream – approx. 2-3 tablespoons
  • Spring onions or chives – a good bunch
  • Thyme – small bunch
  • Parsley – small bunch
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Butter – small knob

To serve

  • One Ciabatta ‘loaf’
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Good quality olive oil


Mise en place, people – preparation is key:

Chicken livers et al on white marble surface

Wash, dry and measure out your ingredients

First prepare the chicken livers by giving them a good rinse, drying them on some kitchen towel and cutting out any tendon-y interiors that you don’t wish to eat. Don’t cut them too small, otherwise you run the risk of over-cooking them, which is to be avoided at all costs (see above reference to sad story) (also see photos for reference). Grind plenty of black pepper over the livers, as well as a good sprinkle of salt, just before cooking.

Prepare all the herbs and/or spring onions by washing and drying on kitchen paper, then chopping and slicing as necessary.
Have all the remaining ingredients close to hand, ready for cooking the livers.

Cut the ciabatta in half lengthways and widthways so that it’s in four pieces.
Place on a baking tray, along with the garlic cloves, and drizzle everything with olive oil.
Sprinkle the garlic cloves with sea salt.
Place in a pre-heated oven at approx. 190 deg (170 FAN) and cook until golden and crispy – approximately ten minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the livers.

Add butter and a drizzle of olive oil to a pan and heat until melted.
Add the lardons (or, bacon, if you prefer) and stir well. Cook for a minute or two then add the thyme leaves. Continue cooking until the lardons are golden and have deposited their savoury residue on the bottom of the pan (this will be released when the wine is added later). Add the spring onions, if using, and stir through.
It might be wise to remove the lardons from the pan at this point and keep them to one side, to return to the pan later. I didn’t do this, but on reflection I should have. You want the pan to be nice and hot when you add the livers.

Either way, crank up the heat and add the livers to the pan. Stir and then leave them to settle briefly so that the outsides caramelize a bit.
Stir until all sides are browned.
Quickly add the marsala wine and stir well, scraping the salty bacon residue from the bottom of the pan so that it is as one with the dish.
When the wine has reduced down add the fig jam and balsamic vinegar and stir through until well combined.
Finally, add the cream and some of the parsley and stir briefly. Check the seasoning and adjust as necessary.

Serve on top of the hot toasted ciabatta bread that has been smeared with the soft roasted garlic cloves, and a drizzle of olive oil and a final sprinkle of parsley. Quite satisfactory! (Hiccup).

Sticky Fig Chicken Livers on toasted ciabatta

Serves four as a starter or two as a main course

Sticky Fig Chicken Livers with Marsala Wine SauceSticky Fig Chicken Livers with Marsala Wine Sauce

Pink inside of chicken liver

Soft pink, smooth centres…just like last week’s chocolates

4 thoughts on “Sticky Fig Chicken Livers with Marsala Wine Sauce

  1. Janet Mardel

    Wow Mandy! This looks amazing and I’m definitely going to make it 🙂 Sadly, I have only just been informed by Laura, that ‘The Sticky Fig’ is your blog!! How dim am I?? I’ll be an avid reader from now on. Might I recommend a new blog ‘Gus Blathermouth’ as a suitable counterbalance to your delicious musings?
    Love, Janet x

    1. Mandy Post author

      Hi Janet, thanks so much for your sweet encouraging comments! I’m delighted to have another reader…might be up to double figures now 😉 And, er, yes you certainly may recommend said blog…I’m guessing it’s a little higher up on the comedic spectrum than mine!

  2. Claire Singleton

    Loving this one Mandy. My husband loves chicken livers also so will have to try this out. My figs are about the same size as yours however they took quite a hammering after the winds last week so I will have to check up on them!!

    Another one of my husbands favourite’s is Soft herring roe so any variations on this would be great.

    1. Mandy Post author

      Hey Claire, I’m glad you like the sound of this one – it’s tasty and soooo economical too (I hate using the word ‘cheap’ but, they are!). My figs have turned a little darker and slightly shrivelled…I’m not sure this is a good sign 🙁 They’re no bigger either, damn them! Let me know how yours are doing x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.