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Virtual 40s – 70s Party: Rumaki

You may have noticed there has been a low level of activity on this blog lately.  About 2 weeks ago, I came down with what I thought was going to be a little bothersome summer cold.  I hadn’t been sick for over two years (basically since I pulled myself from the workforce) and apparently I had also lost whatever level of resistance that I normally have to the erstwhile bug floating around the typical office.  Well, this one wiped me out.  I’m  just finally able to make it through the day without a nap or two!
This little bug happened to hit during an extremely busy work week.  One of my contracts is winding down and I was trying to make sure I had everything in order for a good hand off.  On the other hand my other contract was really cranking up and I was preparing for a major milestone this week.  In addition, it just happened to be a busy week socially – two concerts, one baseball game and two parties!  Needless to say, I had to cut back since I only had a few productive hours a day. 
The blog suffered, however since i was only eating the occasional soft-boiled egg or bowl of cereal it wasn’t like there was tons to write about! :-) I did rally myself for the 40s – 70s party hosted by Megan of IHeartBacon, however.  And I was really glad I did – we had so much fun! 
My offering for the party was Rumaki and "Stuffed Celery", as seen in the photo above.  At the party, Orangette asked me where the name Rumaki originated and my guess was that it was something to do with the marinade, which is basically soy sauce and ginger – sort of a take-off on teriyaki.  I decided to do a bit of research and while I didn’t find an exact answer I was surprised to see that this was actually a topic of discussion on the Chowhound Boards!
The original Rumaki is chicken liver and water chestnuts, wrapped in bacon and broiled.  You often see a poor excuse of a version with just water chestnuts and bacon since so many people think they don’t like liver.  (I say "think" because I’ve seen people who "hate" liver gobble these down until they realize what’s in them…)
Closely related to Rumaki are Angels on Horseback or Devils on Horseback.  Angels on Horseback uses oysters in place of liver and water chestnuts, although sometimes scallops are substituted.  Devils on Horseback can be two different things depending on where you hang you hat.  Around here it normally is Angels on Horseback but spiced up with hot sauce.  In the UK most often Devils on Horseback uses prunes as the center ingredient.  Sometimes the prunes are stuffed with almonds or mango chutney. 
No matter what center item is used, the one thing that seems to carry across all recipes is the bacon – I guess it is loved by just about all.  It’s even part of the "campers" version which uses hotdogs!  What will they think of next!?! 
I love the original version, although even it has several marinade variations.  The combination of the rich, soft liver with crunchy, clean water chestnut all surrounded by the salty bacon is really great. 
Here is the recipe I used for the party: 
12 slices bacon, halved crosswise
12 ounces chicken livers, halved (I actually cut some in thirds.  You want them bite-size, although they will shrink a bit when cooked.)
12 whole water chestnuts, halved (Use canned.)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 teaspoon sugar

Combine soy sauce, ginger, sherry and sugar in a small bowl. Add the chicken livers and marinate them in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour.


Place 1 chicken liver piece and 1 chestnut piece in the center of each bacon-half, wrap, and secure with a toothpick. (It’s a good idea to soak your toothpicks in water for about 1/2 hour before using them.) Place the Rumaki on a broiler pan or shallow baking pan and broil, about 5 or 6 inches from the heat, until the bacon is crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. Or, you may bake the appetizers in a 375° oven for 20 to 25 minutes.


Serve hot. (These can also be served at room temperature. In fact, I had a couple of leftovers for breakfast the next day and they were right out of the fridge!) Makes 24 appetizers.

  1. Megan permalink
    22-Aug-2005 11:36 pm

    B, I\’m so happy to see you posted your recipe. The rumaki were so good! Angels on horseback sounds great as well…

  2. Culinary permalink
    23-Aug-2005 7:53 am

    Bad, bad me! I started to leave you a comment when I posted but your site was down at that particular moment and then I forgot to do it later! I\’m sorry!! ~ B

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