“I eat liver every day” I love to see people’s reaction to that statement and it’s never pretty. Six months ago I would have reacted the same way. It took some time and some experimentation to find a way that I could stomach liver daily. I choose to eat liver daily because it is so nutrient dense. According to Chris Kresser “liver is the most nutrient dense food on the planet, rich in vitamin A, iron and all the essential amino acids.” Sarah Ballantyne, PhD writes “eating organ meat is one of the most expedient ways to address micronutrient deficiencies, which go hand and hand with autoimmune disease.” With every book or article I read I became more convinced I had to add liver to my diet.
The first few times I tried eating liver it did not go well. The first thing I had to get use to was the smell and texture. Not that the smell was a bad smell, just different. I recently tried to recreate that first smell experience so I could describe it but happily I’m so used to the smell of liver that it just smells like meat. The texture on the other hand, I still have an issue with that! The texture is cold and slippery, like it just wants to slip out of my hands and onto the floor, which would make my dogs happy.
My first attempt at incorporating liver was with chicken livers. They are cheap, so if I hated them I would not feel too bad throwing them away. I made Crispy Chicken Livers from the Well Fed 2 cookbook. The livers were edible but I did not enjoy eating them. I tried eating them cold the next day and that did nothing to help me develop a liking for liver; I did throw the rest of the leftovers away. A few weeks later I was listening to Liz Wolfe, one of the hosts of The Balanced Bites Podcast, talking about raw liver smoothies, gross, but again I felt compelled to add liver to my diet. So I tried again with beef liver.This time I made it a more traditional way, fried liver and onions. Again, it was edible but nothing I could see eating more than once a year and it would not be something I could look forward too.
Then I started coming across recipes that talked about grinding and combining your liver with other ground meat and that was the ticket for me. I remembered I had inherited my grandma’s old meat grinder and was excited to pull it out and try liver again. I started out with about 1 part of liver to 4 parts of ground hamburger or turkey and eventually worked up to a 1:1 ratio. After I make my pan of ground liver and meat I store it in serving size baggies in the freezer so I can grab one out daily and add it something I’m cooking or thaw it and sprinkle it on a salad. If things mix together in a perfect 50/50 ratio that means I eat about 8oz of liver a week.
The most typical way I eat my liver is at breakfast. I start with some cut up bacon ends in a pan, for the grease, and when they are done I add my baggie of ground liver and meat, kale or spinach or whatever greens I have in the freezer, a jar of bone broth, grass fed gelatin and some spices like ginger or turmeric. Then cover my pan and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes. I still don’t enjoy the taste of just liver but now I have a nice hot breakfast that keeps me going all day and I enjoy all the health benefits of liver without the taste.
- 1 lb of beef or chicken liver,ground
- 1 lb of ground turkey or beef
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2-4 cloves of garlic minced
- 2-3 tsps thyme or sage (or a combination of both)
- 1 Tbsp of bacon grease or coconut oil
- Heat oil in a pan, add liver, ground meat, onion, garlic and spices, brown until done and meat is no longer pink.
Ballantyne, S. (2013). The Paleo Approach: Reverse autoimmune disease and heal your body (p. 196). Las Vegas: Victory Belt Publishing.
Kresser, C. (2013). Your personal paleo code: The 3-step plan to lose weight, reverse disease, and stay fit and healthy for life (p. 43). New York: Little, Brown and Company.