Beef Liver... something different....

Discussion in 'Nose to Tail' started by daveomak, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I learned something today reading this....  I'm thinkin'....  sliced, smoked, frozen and shaved/grated/chopped onto almost anything....  That is of course, only if you can't stand to eat liver the way nature intended it to be eaten.... 

    This article is from "Nourished Kitchens"....   I am a fan of liver.... all liver.... and i have never considered using liver like this.... I only use beef liver sliced, floured, fried and smothered in bacon and onions.. and maybe with liver gravy poured over the top...  Chicken livers are consumed many ways... Foisgras is something I have yet to try... 

    This is an interesting article on the health benefits that liver affords...   and some other interesting stuff...    


    Potatoes with Bacon and Liver

    February 1, 2013 | by Jenny | 11 Comments

    Potatoes with bacon and liver is my sneaky solution to ensuring my family consumed adequate amount of this nutrient-dense, old-fashioned staple.  Yes, I still love my Chicken Liver Pate, and my son consistently asks for Fried Chicken Livers, but, beyond these tried-and-true staples, I still struggle with putting liver on the plate regularly as I ought to.

    That is, until I found this recipe for Potatoes with Bacon and Liver when I was visiting my friends Hannah and Alex  who served it with broiled lamb chops, some greens and a glass of red wine.  We loved it, and I’m sharing it with you now.

    Why You Should Eat Liver

    (and, no, it’s not a storehouse for toxins)

    Now, it seems that every time I mention liver on the Nourished Kitchen Facebook Page, there’s an inevitable onslaught of squalls that go something like this: “But the liver is the body’s filter!”  “I would never eat liver!  It’s a storehouse for toxins!”  “I love liver, but it’s too high in cholesterol to eat.”   Now, it’s none of my business how you choose to eat or what you choose to eat, but I do want to set the record straight on liver.

    Liver is one of the most concentrated sources of vitamins and minerals.

    Liver is extraordinarily nutrient dense, and while kale might be the darling of the health food movement right now (and I still love to use kale in my recipes), liver offers more folate and more minerals than does kale, and is very much a nutritional powerhouse.  It is one of the most concentrated sources of vitamins and minerals available to us, as liver is rich in vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin B6, niacin, folate, vitamin B12 as well as minerals like iron, zinc, phosphorus, manganese and selenium.  Consuming both antioxidant-rich plant foods and nutrient-dense animal foods provides a natural balance that is so often missing in Americans’ typically distorted relationship with food.

    Its liver’s concentrated source of nutrients, particularly true vitamin A, folate and load of minerals that fosters the optimal nourishment for people across all ages and spectrums.  This is why traditional peoples studied by Dr. Price in his landmark book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration  often considered liver to be a sacred food (along with foods like shellfish, fish roe, bone broth and raw dairy), and emphasizing its importance for pregnancy, lactation and early childhood, and why it’s often considered to be a food for fertility.  That’s the reason I also feature a liver recipe every few weeks in Nourished Kitchen’s meal plans.

    Liver neutralizes, but does not store toxins.

    The liver functions to neutralize environmental toxins as well as toxins we (or other animals) consume like antibiotics, pharmaceutical drugs and other potential toxins.  While the liver functions to neutralize these toxins, they are not stored in the liver; rather, if they cannot be eliminated through the body’s waste functions, they’re likely to be stored in visceral fat.
    To avoid liver in an effort to avoid “toxins” is futile, as liver doesn’t store toxins and, in that effort, you’ll also be avoiding one of nature’s most concentrated source of nourishment.  Further, all animal foods whether muscle meat, organ meat, bones for broth, or fat, are best when they come from healthy, grass-fed or pasture-raised animals.

    How to Serve Liver So Your Kids Will Actually Eat It

    In my experience, the idea of eating liver might be more off-putting than actually preparing, serving and consuming it.  And while I won’t lie and tell you that liver is one of my favorite foods (it’s not), it can be delicious as in this recipe for Chicken Liver Pate  or this one for Fried Chicken Livers.  And if you or your children don’t care for liver, you can always blend it with ground meat as in this Pizza Chili  or these Chicken Nuggets where other flavors help to disguise its characteristic mineral-like qualities.

    In this recipe for Roasted Potatoes with Bacon and Liver, I simply grate about 2 ounces of frozen liver over the other ingredients.  Those tiny flecks of liver disappear in an instant, blending with bacon and cheese.  A good friend has visited our home frequently in the past couple weeks – helping me to work through the recipes of the upcoming cookbook, and she fed this recipe to her boys without telling them it contained liver (they couldn’t tell, either).  When she told them, it contained liver, one of her boys asked, “Can we try liver in more ways like that?”

    And if you’re convinced of liver’s benefits, but are still stumped as to how to prepare it, consider checking out the Nourished Kitchen Meal Plans which feature liver, and other nutrient-dense animal foods every few weeks.

    Where to Find Grass-fed Liver

    As with any ingredient, it’s important that you choose the best quality liver you can afford.  Fortunately, liver is largely ignored (or abhorred) by most consumers, so it tends to be inexpensive compared to other cuts.  For this reason, liver is an ideal addition for families on a very limited budget who want to eat well.

    You can find grass-fed liver at your local farmers market, and it usually sells for anywhere from $2 to $8 a pound.  If you cannot find it locally, you can always purchase grass-fed liver online.

    What to Do If You Still Can’t Stomach Liver

    If you still can’t stomach the idea of liver, and all the pates, mousses, meatballs, meatloafs, chilies and jalapeno poppers leave you breathless with anxiety, you can still emphasize liver for your family – reaping all its nutritional benefits without making it or serving it for dinner.

    In addition to the occasional liver recipe that hits our dinner table, I also add liver capsules to our daily supplements (you can find them here).  They’re small gelatin-based capsules filled with dessicated, powdered liver.  Much like cod liver oil, it’s a whole food supplement – you can find out more about my take on supplements here (including which my family takes and which we skip).


    Potatoes with Bacon and Liver

    Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

    Yield: Serves 4 to 6


    Hearty and rustic, this recipe for Potatoes with Bacon and Liver is simple to prepare, and the typically assertive flavor of liver fades into the background.

    1. Place the potatoes in a large stock pot, cover them with water and boil them in their jackets until tender - about an hour. Drain off the water, allow the potatoes to cool until they're comfortable enough to handle, then peel them and cut them into 1/2-inch cubes.
    2. Heat the oven to 375 F.
    3. Melt the lard in a wide oven-proof skillet, then toss in the bacon. Render the bacon in the hot fat until it becomes crispy. Turn off the heat of the stove, add the potatoes to the pan, taking care to evenly distribute the rendered bacon among them. Stir in the finely grated liver, and the cheese.
    4. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake it for 25 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh parsley, and serve.
  2. pgsmoker64

    pgsmoker64 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member


    You are da man, but I ain't eatin' liver no way no how!

    In other words, thanks but no thanks....[​IMG]   not fried, not baked, not saute'd, not even smoked, not even with bacon!!!! And I am a bacon junkie - but NO LIVER, thank you.

    However, I would encourage anyone who has not tried it to give it a try.  Don't let me influence you...


  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Bill.... evening.... Did your mama tie liver around your neck when you was a kid and a bad kid at that ...[​IMG]  ... 

    When I was growin' up, offal was on the menu at least twice a week.... Maybe you eat ox tails, or brains, or gizzards, or heart, or tripe or salmon sperm or tongue or  ......    Hey, you gotta eat something.....  You a vegan ???  Just kidding....  

    All those mentioned are darn good from what I know....  experiment.... Once you  have tried it, especially from someone that knows how to cook it, you could very well enjoy the different flavors and textures that may make you president of the Offal Society....  

    Someday, I will get invited to Chris Consentino's "head to tail" dinner.... WOW, that would be something...

    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  4. pgsmoker64

    pgsmoker64 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member


    I was literally falling out of my chair laughing at your answer...kinda saw that one coming [​IMG]

    Just for first experience with liver went as follows: I was with some friends on a door knocking campaign for a church meeting ( I was about 15) and when we knocked on this one door the smells coming out of that house made my mouth water!  All of the sudden I was so hungry my stomach was growling.  I complimented the lady on how good the smells were and she invited me to have some as her son called and was not going to make it home for dinner.  I was so hungry I accepted - back then I was a little shy.

    The wonderful smell was liver and onions in gravy...the smell was amazing and it looked better than any steak I had ever seen!!!!  I sat down with her, blessed the food, and dug in.  I dang near puked on the first bite but continued to shovel it in, until....the wonderful lady looked at me, laughed and took the plate away.  She said "I know you are really trying, but I can see you really don't like liver!"  I objected but she told me that Christians really shouldn't try to lie.  LOL What a great person she was!  She took away the affront to my taste buds and brought me a big slice of homemade lemon meringue pie!

    So liver is both one of my worst and one of my best memories of life!  BUT I STILL AIN"T EATIN" IT!!!!


  5. My wife will soak calf's liver in milk for an hour before frying with onions. Till just very slightly pink in the middle. I'm not a big fan of liver, but i can eat it 2 to 3 times a year.

    For those that protest liver,  try a dip in "Pick-a-Peppa" sauce.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  6. MMMMmmmmm....liver!!!!

    ~Martin :biggrin:
  7. pgsmoker64

    pgsmoker64 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    You can have mine Martin!
  8. davidhef88

    davidhef88 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks for reminding me about liver. Haven't had it in a couple months. Better get it on the grocery list.
  9. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I have yet to find a Liver Pate' I didn't like and Foie Gras is right there with Escargot, Frogs legs and Scallops as my most Favorite Foods. Beef liver is a bit too strong for my taste. Calves liver is good as well as Pig and any Poultry Liver. Of those that can't stomach Liver, I have found that most of the time they just have not had it prepared properly. I hated Liver too as a kid because the only way we had it was cooked to death so it was Dry and Chalky. But take Onions, Peppers, Garlic, Tomatoes, some Fresh Thyme and a pinch of Cumin, Saute all until tender then add thin strip of Liver and continue to cook just until hot but slightly Pink on the inside, then slap all those goodies in a Italian Roll with some Provolone or Smoked Mozzarella...Better than just about any Sandwich I have ever had! 

    Dave, Definitely put Foie Gras on your short list of things you have to try ASAP.  Foie Gras is none of the things Bad about Liver, strong or metallic flavors, but all of the good flavors with the incredible addition of the Richness of Duck Fat. A slice of Foie sauteed until still pink then placed on top of a Rare hunk of Beef Filet and cover the whole deal with a Madeira Sauce. There is no better way to eat Steak or Liver. The Sum of the Parts is what elevates the dish to Nirvana. I have to include a nice pic I found and a link to a great recipe...JJ

    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  10. pgsmoker64

    pgsmoker64 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Okay JJ, you got me!  Not much on the pate' but I had Foie Gras in black truffles in Malgrat Spain last year and loved it!  I only recently learned that Foie Gras was liver.

    I am appropriately corrected!  Thanks Chef!!

  11. Originally Posted by Chef JimmyJ  [​IMG]

    I have yet to find a Liver Pate' I didn't like and Foie Gras is right there with Escargot, Frogs legs and Scallops as my most Favorite Foods

    SORRY CHEF..... but Foie Gras and shark fin are AGAINST THE LAW in San Francisco. How can the culinary capital of the West Coast do something so stupid?

                                     Anyone caught with said ingredients will be forcibly re-located to Frog Fart, Louisiana.
  12. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    LOL...I feel for you Bro! That is one of the silliest laws Cali has ever come up with. That one is as good as the law banning the serving of Runny Eggs in NJ back in the 80's...We are talking the US Capital of Classic Diners. Man you want to talk about outraged Truckers and old Church Ladies that go out for Breakfast after Church on Sunday...JJ
  13. bear55

    bear55 Master of the Pit

    Liver was a once every two weeks meal at my house growing up so I learned to like it.  My wife on the other hand can't stand it so we haven't had it in awhile.  You have to be a very good cook to make it right and I actually long for some right now.

    we had liver and onions with gravy, biscuits and turnip greens...
  14. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Dave, you bring back memories from my childhood!

    My German mother would cook liver.  Man would she ever cook it?  When she got done that liver was the toughest thing known to man.

    Later in life, I learned about baby beef liver cooked correctly.  Now I could eat liver!

    Even later in life I learned about lamb liver.  Now we are talking?  I have seen people who hate liver scarf down on lamb liver at my favorite Basque restaurant.

    Thanks for the memories.  Looks great!

    Good luck and good smoking.
  15. German heritage here too, on my father's mother's side.

    Liverwurst and Limburger cheese sandwiches.......MMMMmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!

  16. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great thread ! Obviously a lot of memories for us older folk! I have tried calves liver but its not to my taste. I have cooked it for  my first wife 20 years back in an Italian style ,pancetta ,garlic,onions,splash of red wine vinegar ,sprig of rosemary but now a days stick to poultry liver. 

    Down here it was lambs fry & bacon as a breakfast dish,lambs liver.Cooked way to far by a lot of cooks it was like shoe leather. DaveOmack is on the money with "someone who knows how to cook it".

    I do remember being at my Italian friends farmhouse after spending 2 days killing a pig & making salami in the shed that when the big lunch hit the table there was pigs liver cut into strips with caul fat wrapped around it .It had been grilled over prunings from olive trees & grape vines. Traditions exist for a reason.
  17. I don't know why, but even as a young kid I really liked liver, of all kinds. We always were fortunate enough to harvest a deer or two and I always made sure we made it home with the livers.

    I worked on a crew that worked a ranch house project 10 days on and 4 off. We were allowed one deer and/or goat per trip and I always kept the livers. We rotated cooking shifts and when it came my time it was liver on the menu, Some of the guys went hungry several nights we cooked the liver.
  18. What a very fun thread indeed!

    I used to make a lot of paté with ostrich liver, emu liver, rhea liver, (and also their hearts added in, in smaller portions, for extra flavor). Fantastic stuff!

    The smell of liver in general, is simply wonderful!!!!!!

    And I share Chef JJ.'s affinity expressed in this thread too, for frogs' legs (I love both smoked ones and grilled) and of course SNAILS!!!!!!! (As my signature bar gives away).

    But indeed, such fabulous foods out there to eat! And from the inside out!

    Great thread!

    Cheers to all! Happy brand new and beautiful week!!!!!!!!! - Leah

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