Tag Archives: liver

Balsamic glazed chicken-liver ravioli: 73 cents/serving

Thanks to the lack of cheese and expensive meat, these are the most inexpensive ravioli I’ve ever made. They also happen to be some of the best ravioli I’ve ever made. (If you like pâté, that is.) Intensely flavored, with a bit of crunch from some fried sage, these are at their best if you make your own pasta, which is actually extremely simple, but you can also use prepackaged gyoza wrappers (usually housed near either the tofu or the mushrooms at the grocery store) if you’re in a pinch. I don’t like to use them both because of the cost and because I think they’re too thin and flaccid and don’t absorb sauce flavors very well, but I’ve done it before and can attest that it works.

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Cajun dirty rice: 50 cents/serving

If your only experience with dirty rice is adding water to the dried contents of a box of Zatarain’s—and let’s admit, we’ve all been there at some point or another—this recipe is for you. It’s actually cheaper than the boxed stuff and not that much more difficult (just some vegetable chopping here and waiting for the rice cooker there), and you’ll be saving yourself an entire day’s worth of sodium intake. If you’re unfamiliar with the etymology of dirty rice, the “dirty” comes from the brown color. In the authentic* stuff this comes from liver, in the boxed stuff it comes from soy sauce. If you think you don’t like liver, I recommend making it from scratch all the more—it exemplifies all the wonderful, flavorful reasons why people use liver in the first place without managing to taste liver-y.

*And yes, I have eaten the real thing in Louisiana. It was at a Popeyes in Lafayette and we had just gone to a mall and I was tired and suffering from a somewhat disabling case of culture shock, but still. I was in Louisiana. Eating dirty rice.

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Bánh mì sandwich: 49 cents each

Portlanders loooove to talk about bánh mì, the Franco-Vietnamese wonder that is perhaps the world’s perfect sandwich (meat, pickled carrot and daikon, fresh sprigs of cilantro, and possibly some Japanese-style mayonnaise, all packed into a traditional French baguette). The second most popular conversation topic, after what should or should not go in one and in what ratios, is how much one should cost. Depending largely on the neighborhood, bánh mì can cost anywhere from $2.50 (which is increasingly rare) to $8. Our goal: To make one that’s both comparable to what you’d find in the best shops and that fits our lunch budget of 50 cents or less.

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Fresh pappardelle with chicken-liver sauce: 75 cents/serving

If you blindfolded the average person, drove them off-site, served them this meal with a side salad and told them they were eating a $24.95 entree at a French restaurant, I can pretty much guarantee they’d believe you. (And if you don’t believe me about the price difference, know that pasta dishes have the highest profit margin in almost all restaurants.)

Granted, it takes a bit of work and skill to prepare, but if you’re looking to impress for less than the price of a bag of chips, this is your dish.

I’ll come out and admit right now that I love foie gras. I know it’s wrong in all kinds of ways, but if it’s on offer at a dinner that I’m not paying for, I’m going to order it, and to me this tastes very similar. Even if you think liver isn’t your thing, there’s a high likelihood of this dish changing your mind.

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