Liver and Onions (Hígado Encebollado)


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided into 2
  • 1 pound beef liver, sliced ¼” thick
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Maggi sauce
  • ¼ cup beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste


  • To clean the liver, use a small knife and cut through the membrane and peel it off, and place in a bowl. Add milk and soak for about 10 minutes 
  • Discard milk and rinse liver in cold water. Add salt & pepper to taste, and cumin and mix until fully incorporated. Cover and marinate for 1 hour 
  • Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the liver slices and cook for 5 minutes on one side. Turn and cook for 5 minutes on the other side. Remove from the skillet and set aside (Note: be sure not to overcook, to avoid the liver becoming tough)
  • Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter to the skillet. Once melted, add the sliced onions and cook them until caramelized, for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and Maggi sauce, and stir until well combined. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for another 5 minutes
  • Add 1 tablespoon of the beef stock to the tablespoon of flour and mix together in a small bowl, until it forms a paste. Add the rest of the beef stock to the paste and mix until well combined. Add the mixture to the skillet and bring to a boil
  • Reduce the heat to low and stir in the tomato paste and simmer for about 5 minutes to allow the liquid to reduce by a third, and gravy has thickened slightly. Add the liver and simmer for 2-3 minutes to allow the gravy to warm the liver
  • Serve immediately with Panamanian corn tortillas, Panamanian hojaldas, or over a bed of white rice


Liver is commonly soaked in vinegar or lemon juice to get rid of the smell and toxins. However, I found that milk does the same thing as vinegar or lemon juice, plus it also tenderizes the liver.