The sacred superfood you’re avoiding (but shouldn’t)
When was the last time you were menu planning and thought, ‘oh yes! Thursday is liver night!’
Uh huh. I thought so…
Although we tend to shun organ meats today, they have been revered in cultures around the world throughout history.
Liver, for example was prized for its ability to fuel the strength and stamina of warriors and to nourish expectant mothers.
But organ meats are not often on the menu (or in the supermarket) these days in the West.
It is truly a shame because organ meats from animals raised in biologically appropriate conditions (think grass-fed, pastured, organic) are incredibly nutrient dense.
“Liver is held sacred by many African tribes, and practically every cuisine has liver specialties. It simply contains more nutrients, gram for gram, than any other food.”
Yes, liver can be classified as a traditional superfood.
Take a look at just some of its benefits:
- It contains an abundant, highly usable form of iron
- It is rich in B vitamins – especially B6 and B12. Liver from ruminant animals (cow, lamb and game) is our best food source of vitamin A; Porcine (pig) liver is loaded with vitamin D
- It is nature’s most concentrated source of vitamin A (retinol)
- Three ounces of beef liver contains almost three times as much choline (a B vitamin), as one egg…
If you are returning to the sacred practice of eating offal, it is incredibly important to know how the animal was raised.
Most of the meat you see on supermarket shelves come from animals’ whose living conditions were dismal- they were most likely pumped full of drugs, raised in confinement and fed a grain-based diet laced with GMOs and ground up meat products (bones etc) from other animals…
So, the simplest and safest way to do get good quality meat, is to connect directly with a farmer you trust…
But then there’s the question of how to get your family to eat organ meats….
Well here are a few tips to help anyone- kids or otherwise- to eat offal:
1. Hide it in something else
2. Grind it up into pate (and spread on crackers).
This is a much easier sell (trust me).
The truth is, the earlier a person starts eating well-prepared organ meats, the easier it is for it to become a regular part of their food repertoire!
If you start children when they are school aged (for example) and have become accustomed to eating yogurt tubes and granola bars, expect this process to take a bit longer (and that’s ok- just keep offering it!).
I love referring to Nourishing Traditions because Sally Fallon gives so much great advice for getting your family eating these nutrient dense foods.
Things like how to artfully blend your organ meats into other dishes…
- Grind up raw liver/heart and add to hamburger (raw) BEFORE COOKING.
- Grate a bit (about 2 tbsp) of liver into your rice and cook.
- Use a heavy, ‘strongly-flavoured’ sauce (maybe one that used ingredients like onions, wine, balsamic vinegar and broth)
And, when all else fails: Supplement with desiccated (dried and powdered) liver. You can order it from Radiant LIfe, for example.
So get started! I even have a delicious recipe to share today. One that I frequently make into a DELICIOUS pate- it has converted many liver loathers, into liver LOVERS….
Liver with Fig, Bacon and Caramelized Onion Compote
Note: If you decide to make this first, ‘as, is’ just process whatever isn’t eaten into pate by putting into your food processor.
If it’s your family’s first time eating liver, I recommend making it into pate immediately and allowing to cool in fridge. Then serve with crackers or a sourdough baguette.
I tend to make a very large batch and freeze this is in small ramekins for times when I need an energy boost or when I am having friends over!
Yield: Serves 2-3
- beef liver, sliced (do this while still frozen)
- The juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tsp arrowroot flour
- ½ tsp Himalayan or unrefined sea salt
- ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 slices pastured bacon, cut crosswise into ½” pieces
- 2 large onions, sliced
- 200g mushrooms, sliced
- 4 dried figs, chopped
- ¼ tsp Himalayan or unrefined sea salt
- ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 sprigs fresh sage, chopped
- 2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
In a non-reactive sealable container, marinate the beef liver in lemon juice for at least 8 hours (or up to 24 hours). Yes, that’s in the refrigerator!
In a cold, large heavy skillet (cast iron preferred) set over medium heat, cook the bacon until nice and crispy.
While the bacon is cooking, rinse the beef liver slices under running water and pat them dry.
In a shallow bowl or plate, combine the arrowroot flour, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly with a whisk until very well combined.
Dredge the liver slices in the arrowroot mixture and shake well to remove any excess. Set aside in a plate until bacon is done cooking.
When bacon is nice and crispy, remove it to a plate with a slotted spoon, and set aside. Pour the bacon fat into a small bowl but leave about 2 tablespoons in the pan. Put the skillet back over high heat.
When the pan is really nice an hot, add the liver slices and sear for about 45 seconds to a minute per side, just long enough for them to get a beautiful dark brown and crispy exterior. You might have to work in batches, depending on the size of your skillet.
Remove the liver to a plate, cover loosely to keep it warm while you work on the onion compote. Put your pan back over the heat source and lower heat to medium-high; add about half the remaining bacon fat and throw the sliced onions right in.
Let the onions caramelize for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the onions have taken a nice golden coloration, add the remaining bacon fat and the sliced mushrooms. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes, until the mushrooms become soft and slightly golden.
Add figs, vinegar and water and cook for another minute or so, until liquid is completely evaporated.
Stir in fresh sage, kill the heat and place liver slices on top of the onion compote. Cover loosely and let sit for about 5 minutes just to warm up the liver and allow all the flavours to mingle happily.
Serve immediately, sprinkled with crispy bacon.
Reproduced with permission from: The Healthy Foodie (.com)
How and why to eat organ meats is covered in ‘Nose to tail eating’- one of the traditional food skills covered in Traditional Wisdom, Modern Kitchen– a class where you will learn all the fundamental skills you will need to bring sacred, traditional and healing foods into your family’s life.
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