Awesome Cuts of Meat You're (Probably) Not Eating: Chicken Liver!


*Shudder.* The mere word is plenty to strike terror together with dread into the hearts of footling kids together with not-so-little kids alike. This is unfortunate, because liver is ane of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. Our minds tend to automatically gravitate toward fruits together with vegetables when nosotros recall almost vitamins together with minerals, but create no mistake: creature proteins are loaded amongst them, unremarkably inwards higher quantities than nosotros tin acquire from works life foods. So when nosotros remove heed that phrase—“nutrient-dense,”—it’s fourth dimension to start thinking to a greater extent than almost beef together with less about, say, orangish juice. And amid creature foods, a category that delivers ane of the biggest nutritional knockouts is organ meat. Yes, organs. You know, those other things animals conduct hold too the musculus tissues that halt upwardly inwards our supermarkets every bit boneless, skinless chicken breasts, steaks, the world beef, together with other such cuts designed to create us forget that the tasty morsels nosotros similar to eat come upwardly from creatures that were in ane lawsuit living, breathing beings amongst organs, bones, skin, together with feet. (Not to cite heads together with eyes, but let’s stick amongst ane scary thing at a time.)   

So, liver. Like most people inwards belatedly 20th together with early on 21st Century America, I grew upwardly horrified past times liver. Not because of whatever stigma surrounding eating meat, inwards general, or organs, inwards particular. Mostly it was the smell. My mother, similar whatever skilful Jewish cook, made a hateful chopped liver. Or hence I was told past times countless household unit of measurement members together with guests at our Passover Seder table. Personally, I couldn’t gag downwards fifty-fifty ane forkful because it was hence foul. Same goes for her (supposedly) delectable liver together with onions. Two Eastern European Jewish-type delicacies, together with I couldn’t stand upwardly either one. (I’ll stick amongst latkes together with stuffed cabbage, thankyouverymuch.) It was the taste, but it was also the smell. If that materials tasted gamey, it smelled fifty-fifty worse. But inwards my defense, I wasn’t ane of those kids who tried something once, hated it, together with refused to ever, ever give it some other go. I’d tried liver several times over the years, together with its appeal never got whatever better. (Or, to a greater extent than accurately, its repulsiveness never lessened.)

So, yeah, I grew upwardly a liver denier, together with I was perfectly okay amongst that. And then…

And then, I had to become together with acquire myself a nutrition education. And inwards doing so, I opened Pandora’s nutrient box. And what has been learned cannot live unlearned. What did I learn? As it relates to this post, I discovered that liver packs a nutritional punch every bit stiff every bit whatever vitamin pill y'all could promise to find. Knowing that liver is ane of the most body-building together with life-enhancing foods to live had, I decided I needed to observe ways to contain it into my diet, fifty-fifty if only occasionally. (In illustration y'all don’t believe me almost the nutrition, banking concern check out the stats for beef liver [off the freakin’ charts!], chicken liver [also a serious wallop], together with lamb liver [holy nutrients, Batman!])

I’m happy to study that the play a trick on that has worked for thousands of others has worked for me: I’ve managed to sneak bits of beef together with lamb liver into things similar meatloaf together with chili, where I know it’s there, but its season is completely masked past times everything else. Still, since this was truly only the grownup’s version of hiding zucchini inwards cupcakes together with such, I knew at some indicate I would conduct hold to man up, grow a sack, seat on the large daughter panties together with only eat the liver. (Pardon my language. You tin conduct hold the daughter out of the Air Force…)

So I’m fifty-fifty happier to study that I’ve works life a recipe that non only doesn’t create me gag, but truly makes me look forward to eating liver! It’s true! Not to continue y'all inwards suspense or anything, but we’ll acquire to the recipe inwards a minute. We’ve got some other trouble organization to attend to first.

If you’re non turned off past times the aroma or gustation of liver, that’s great. But those aren’t the only things that create people steer clear of this cherished peasant food. Another argue is the misconception that livers “store toxins.” It’s truthful that the liver is the primary organ of detoxification (meaning, the ane that helps an creature acquire rid of all the poisonous materials it comes inwards contact with, addition all the harmful byproducts of its own, natural metabolism), but it doesn’t store toxins. It filters them out of the blood, has its agency amongst them, together with and hence sends them out of the body via the GI tract (i.e., inwards your poop). In fact, the detoxification role of the liver is the argue why it’s hence nutrient-dense. On a chemic level, the enzymes involved inwards those detox reactions require a lot of vitamins together with minerals. (Yes! I knew those biochem classes would come upwardly inwards handy someday.) There mightiness live a little amount of undesirable substances left inwards the liver from whatever was truly yet inwards it only prior to the animal’s demise, but the potential (and probable negligible) negative effects of that are vastly outweighed past times the benefits of all the good things inwards liver. Regardless, if you’re concerned almost this issue, it’s an peculiarly skilful argue to seek organ meats from local farmers (or not hence local farmers), who enhance their animals complimentary of hormones together with antibiotics, on pesticide-free pasture, or on otherwise biologically appropriate diets. (If you’re inwards the Northern VA area, I acquire mine from Chicama Run or Smith Meadows, but I recall they’re done amongst chickens until Spring.)

The 2nd thing I’d similar to cite hither is a quick reiteration of what I said inwards the previous “Awesome Cuts” post almost underappreciated together with under-utilized creature foods: it’s of import to eat organ meats because it honors the sacrifice of the animals that were born together with raised for the specific work of feeding us. Sorry if that’s a footling too woo-woo for you, but I recall it’s a valid point. We’re pretty wasteful hither inwards the U.S. of A. We tend to become for the pretty, easy, together with familiar when we’re perusing the supermarket meat case. But these lovely animals are to a greater extent than than breasts, thighs, ribs, together with rumps. (Get your caput out of the gutter…) And it’s kinda funny, because these other parts together with pieces—the organs, skin, fat, together with bones—offer tons of nutrition, together with they most oftentimes current of air upwardly every bit pet food! Not that our dogs together with cats don’t deserve the best, but nosotros tend to recall of Canis familiaris together with truthful cat nutrient every bit things nosotros would never allow close our ain mouths, together with yet, they’re truly the materials nosotros should live going for.

And ane concluding bit: I referred to liver every bit a “peasant food” above. I experience like, dorsum inwards the “old country,” regular folk ate the organs because they were cheaper than the fancier cuts. That’s yet true, for the most part. Organ meats volition mostly live a footling cheaper per pound, whether at the supermarket or the farmer’s market, mostly because they’re only non inwards high demand because people—especially younger ones—are scared of them together with don’t know what to do amongst them. (This mightiness non live truthful of a marketplace amongst a large Paleo clientele. Then, y'all mightiness conduct hold a difficult fourth dimension tracking downwards organs, bones, together with lard, because individual wearing those funny 5-toed shoes volition conduct hold beaten y'all to them. Ha! I tease because I love…) The funny thing hither is, spell many of us plough our noses upwardly at these things, inwards other countries they’re considered delicacies. French Republic comes instantly to mind. You could become to some snooty French eating theatre inwards a large U.S. metropolis together with pay a fortune for pâté, which is basically only liver together with butter, sometimes nether a layer of gelatin/aspic.

And speaking of pâté, on to the recipe!
This is an extremely unopen variation on the pâté by Diane at Balanced Bites. Maybe only 10% different. It’s pretty much her recipe amongst some really little alterations. (Hopefully she won't sue me for this, because I'm a huge fan together with that would live a major bummer.) Check out her master copy ane here.

You volition need:

1 pound of chicken livers
2 Tbsp cooking fatty of alternative (bacon fatty is magic here, but y'all tin also work ghee, butter, olive oil, or lard.)
2 shallots, chopped or sliced (doesn’t truly affair which; this is all going inwards the nutrient processor anyway)
½ loving cup crimson vino (cabernet is good; I’d avoid anything too sweet) – together with a footling to a greater extent than never wound anyone
2-4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 sprigs fresh rosemary*
2 sprigs of fresh thyme*
¼ loving cup butter, softened (Very important—make certain it’s softened. Leave it out for a few hours, or fifty-fifty overnight.)
Sea tabular array salt to gustation (This is the ane I like.)

Nice & healthy looking.

*If y'all don’t conduct hold fresh herbs, dried is fine. Use almost ½ teaspoon of thyme together with 2-3 teaspoons rosemary.

Check out the color of a raw chicken liver (on the right). This is what y'all want—a bright, vibrant, reddish brown. That’s how y'all know it’s fresh together with from salubrious chickens. (Livers from not-so-healthy chickens would live to a greater extent than brownish together with dull, maybe fifty-fifty almost gray.) I’ve read that the color is less an indicator of the chicken’s wellness or historic menses than it is what the chicken ate last, but if the chicken was eating its normal feed together with also out on pasture, eating the grass, bugs, together with grubs nature intended, why would it live anything but vibrant reddish brown?) 

What to do:

Heat the cooking fatty together with sauté the shallots until translucent or fifty-fifty starting to brownish a little. Add the livers together with laid upwardly until all the pinkish is gone. Add everything else but the tabular array salt together with butter, stir a bit, together with laid upwardly until most of the liquid has evaporated/reduced. (A footling fleck left inwards the pan is fine.)

Everybody into the pool! 
(The weird looking materials is dried rosemary together with the world thyme.)

Allow the mixture to cool a footling together with transfer it to a nutrient processor. Add about ½ a teaspoon of tabular array salt together with let ‘er become until it’s all combined into a smoothen consistency. Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing the nutrient processor to contain each earlier adding the next. Taste every bit y'all go: y'all mightiness want to add together to a greater extent than tabular array salt together with perchance to a greater extent than butter. You should halt upwardly amongst a thick but smoothen paste. This volition thicken upwardly fifty-fifty to a greater extent than inwards the fridge. (You tin eat it mutual frigidity correct from the fridge, but y'all tin also allow it to sit down out for a spell together with acquire closer to room temp hence it’s easier to scoop/spread.)   

If it looks similar truthful cat food, y'all did it right!  ;-)

The master copy recipe calls for a one-half loving cup of butter. That’s a lot of butter! Influenza A virus subtype H5N1 whole stick, inwards fact. Not that I conduct hold anything against butter, because sky knows, I don’t. Personally, for my taste, I only prefer this recipe amongst less. No biggie.

Now, what tin nosotros do amongst chicken liver pâté? Besides only eating it amongst a spoon, it’s skilful for:
  • A dip for raw vegetable crudité (excellent amongst fennel, celery, carrots, bell peppers, radishes, & cucumbers)
  • A spread on crackers or toast, whether gluten-containing or grain-free
  • Stuffed jalapenos (possibly bacon wrapped) – I’ve never tried this, but it sounds good, right?
A banknote almost butter: Check out the 2 butters below. One is the regular stick materials y'all tin acquire at your local supermarket. The other comes from dairy farms inwards Central Pennsylvania, where the cows eat grass.

Now await at the directly comparing when the wrappers are off:

The Land O’Lakes is on overstep together with the Trickling Springs Creamery butter is underneath.
There are no photographic television receiver camera tricks hither together with no colorings added to either of the butters. Notice the deep, golden yellowish of the butter from grass-based dairies compared to the sickly whitish of the industrial stuff. (And imagine how much to a greater extent than pronounced the departure would live if I wasn't completely together with totally lacking inwards photography skills.) This is visible prove that these butters are not created equal. Yes, y'all pay to a greater extent than for the skilful stuff, but y'all know what they say: "Pay the farmer at nowadays or the Dr. later." If you're novel to the realm of real, whole, traditional foods, your fatty sources are an slowly agency to start making elementary changes together with incorporating these higher lineament options into your diet. (Note: I don’t hateful to trash supermarket butter. If you’re non interested inwards seeking out butter from grass-based dairies, I’d much, much rather run across y'all eat regular ol’ supermarket butter than, say, margarine, or soy together with corn oil-based “buttery spreads” made from vegetable oils.) The departure hither is from the cows’ diet. The chlorophyll together with carotenoids inwards the grass the cows eat all twenty-four lx minutes menses give the butter that bright, rich yellow. (The carotenoids are a household unit of measurement of phytochemicals that include to a greater extent than than only the beta-carotene we’re familiar amongst inwards carrots, sweetness potatoes, cantaloupe, together with other orangish foods. Some of them are yellow, some red, others green. Pretty much any light-green works life [like grass] is going to conduct hold some carotenoids inwards it, together with these pigments create their agency into the milk used for the butter. Most vegetable crude oil spreads are yellowish because of added coloring, not because of the natural nutrient content.) For brands y'all tin observe at some well-stocked supermarkets together with only almost every Whole Foods together with Trader Joe’s, I similar these: Organic Valley, Kerrygold, together with Smjör.

I’ll conduct hold other chicken liver recipes inwards the future. My woman parent keeps going on almost how I demand to endeavor rumaki. And I’ll in all probability endeavor my manus at chopped liver. (You tin never become incorrect amongst ane of Ina Garten’s recipes. Although a whole cup of rendered chicken fat? Somehow I run across myself cutting that agency back. Schmaltz is a fantastic ingredient, but that seems a bit much, fifty-fifty to the fat-lover inwards me.) 

P.S. You could skip the nutrient processor together with butter only together with only eat the chicken livers sautéed amongst the shallots, herbs, together with wine. Influenza A virus subtype H5N1 second delicious agency I’ve works life to acquire liver downwards the hatch! Will wonders never cease?

Remember: Amy Berger, M.S., NTP, is non a physician together with , LLC, is non a medical practice. The information contained on this site is non intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or foreclose whatever medical condition.

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Awesome Cuts of Meat You're (Probably) Not Eating: Chicken Liver!
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