Eating liver is a difficult proposition for some. It does have a very pronounced flavor and it is not a terribly popular food. Given that is such a deeply nourishing food, most of us know that we should eat but finding ways of incorporating it into other foods can be very hard, especially if you did not like it growing up. The Weston A. Price Foundation recommends that you eat it weekly, especially if you are pregnant or nursing, and your goal in that case should be four whole ounces. So how can you do it? Here are some recipes and some tips for getting more liver into your diet:
1. Simply and lightly fried in bacon fat or another nourishing fat. This is by far my favorite way is to eat it. The liver should be completely thawed and drained of blood (not that the blood is not nourishing, because it is, it just causes splatter).
2. Devils on Horseback. Technically speaking this old school hot appetizer is made with bacon wrapped dates but pieces of liver make a great substitution. Take the barely fried liver but cooled pieces from above and wrap in half a slice of bacon and pin in place with a toothpick. Just before serving, broil the bacon wrapped liver until the bacon is cooked through. These are beautiful, delicious and a favorite at my book club.
3. Biscuits and Gravy. I have many, many times substituted one part chicken liver (the most mild flavored) to three or four parts pork sausage in my biscuits and gravy. I have even done it with guests and I have yet to be caught. Need a biscuit recipe? I have two using sprouted flour: Northern Style Cream Biscuits and Southern Style Biscuits.
4. Tacos. This is the easiest fix for even strongly flavored calves' livers. Because there are so many competing flavors and aromas competing in the dish, even one part liver to two parts ground beef can go unnoticed. I also happen to have the world's best taco seasoning recipe, just try it and you will know I speak the truth. You can find it HERE.
5. Enchiladas. This is also an easy fix and I use it in the same ratios as for tacos and use the same seasoning mix but the difference is that I add red pepper paste. It is rich and delicious and looks so gorgeous. You can find out how to make my homemade red pepper paste HERE.
6. Spaghetti Sauce. If you brown meat to add to your spaghetti sauce, you can substitute one part liver to three or four parts ground meat. I have a recipe HERE for Parma Rosa made with red bell peppers which I often serve over spaghetti sauce and it is a favorite of the kids.
7. Meat Loaf. The Weston A. Price Foundation has a great cookbook which includes a wonderful meatloaf recipe which happens to also make some fantastic meatballs. It is deeply nourishing and so moist because it uses cream, eggs and liver. You can purchase a physical copy of the book or you can download a copy of Healthy 4 Life HERE. I love the recipe but if you are liver shy, the texture of finely chopped liver as well as the flavor can put you off. So, make the recipe, just change the process a bit. Use chicken liver instead of calves' because it is less strongly flavored and mix it into the panade. Panade is the French term for a milk and bread mixture that is used in meat dishes to plump them up and make them more moist. You can add onion, garlic, liver, cream and eggs to a food processer and process until a fine liquid. Feel free to add the blood for added nutrition, the moisture won't hurt a thing. To this add the sourdough bread crumbs and process again. Blend this mixture in with your ground meat and proceed with the recipe. If you add tomato sauce, ketchup or gravy when serving, you will be surprised at how little like liver it tastes.
How to Buy Liver
This is a controversial point for many people because the liver processes toxins but it is still a "sacred" food because it is so deeply nourishing. As with any food, try to get the the least processed (and organic if possible) livers. If you have a choice between beef liver and calves' liver, always choose the calves' since they are younger and in many cases still milk fed meaning fewer contaminants. Chicken livers are less strongly flavored but they are also lower in nutrition, namely iron. You can find liver in the freezer section of many grocery stores but sometimes you will need to ask for it or even have it ordered. If you cannot find organic liver, do not skip eating it but choose calves' liver instead. Do not make the perfect the enemy of the good and do not deprive yourself of this prized food. Some is always better than none and if you cannot find or afford organic livers, please still eat them.
Questions about Iron and liver? I have a couple of posts you might want to take a look at:
Liver Consumption and Pregnancy
I take very seriously the Weston A. Price recommendation and I eat at least four ounces of liver a week but I did find this pregnancy that I needed to up that to eight. I am currently pregnant and I do not take a prenatal vitamin. Instead I choose food sources to meet my nutritional needs. I eat liver weekly as well as roasted seaweed and I take my cod liver oil daily with raw milk, and I am drinking a quart a day. Need more information on just what you should be eating while pregnant or nursing? I have a post HERE which has some Weston A. Price resources and I would recommend for anyone in any state of life to keep THIS fantastic chart of nourishing foods on your fridge. It was assembled by Kimi over at The Nourishing Gourmet and she has been running a great series on what nutrient dense really means. It is well worth the read.
Do you eat your weekly liver? How do you like to cook it?
Linking up to Real Food Wednesday!