Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sneaking in some Liver

Today, I did a total Mom thing. I got sneaky.
See, I have been doing a lot of reading and have discovered something amazing: did you know that liver is good for you? I didn't grow up eating liver. My parents both detested it. Liverwurst on crackers, we did, but not liver per se. The only way most people knew to cook it back then was until it was gray and grainy and maybe with some onions thrown in for good measure.  It doesn't have to be that way!

I have an acquaintance in my home town. Some of you might know him if you watch the Food Network. His name is Hans Rueffert. He came in second for the first season of "The Next Food Network Star." He said that liver doesn't have to be gray and grainy! He said it can even be pink inside and then it won't be grainy. Really! He inspired me to find out about it. 

Reading Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions taught me that liver provides copper, zinc, iron and vitamins A and D in abundance as well as being a fabulous source of antioxidants. Sally says to get very fresh, organic liver and soak it in lemon juice for several hours to draw out possible impurities. I have heard elsewhere to soak it in milk (I assume, of course, that raw milk would be best) to accomplish the same thing. So, I decided to try some liver... 

OK, the huge calves liver I saw at the store was quite daunting, so I decided to start small with chicken livers. Then, I saw a wonderful package of turkey offal (pretty much: neck, liver, heart, and gizzard, I think) for 70 cents.  There was the liver we could start with. I know organic would have been tremendously better, but I am on a severely restricted budget right now, so I had to go with what I could get.

Somehow, I didn't think my 11 y/o son would just jump for joy at the thought of turkey liver, seeing how he had never had liver and had grown up hearing everyone around say that it was yucky, so I got "Mom Sneaky." I chopped the liver into teeny, tiny pieces. Hamburgers were on tap for this evening's meal, so I casually mixed in the minuscule pieces... quickly before he got home from playing. I usually mix the hamburger and spices with my hands. I tossed in the pieces after soaking them a while in milk and straining them. Guess what? It looked awful! They were not hiding well. They looked like little brown leeches in the burgers and even stuck to my hands like the little suckers. Thinking quickly, I made the patties and got them on the outdoor grill before he got home. The sun had just set, so he couldn't easily see the meat on the grill. We usually take our burgers medium, but I let them go a bit longer to cook through.

He raved about the wonderful burgers. He had half a pound's worth of meat! He put cheese on his and ate it on a bun. I sauteed some mushrooms in butter and poured it over mine, sans bun. The burgers were insanely divine! After we were done eating, I told him that he had eaten liver in his burger. At first his eyes got really big, then he just said that they were pretty good burgers in spite of the liver. I have to wonder though: was it in spite of the liver or because of the liver?

I guess we'll have to try some different liver applications in the future to find out for sure.

Leave a comment and tell me about your liver recipes or funny experiences!

I'm linking this post to Kelly the Kitchen Kop's "Real Food Wednesday." Head on over to her blog and check out some of the fabulous links to real food recipes and stories. Definitely worth a look!


  1. Personally I detest chicken livers but love beef livers sauteed lightly with onions and bacon. I haven't thought about adding chicken livers TO something though. Good blog! I'll have to use similar tactics, with my husband though :)

  2. Thanks for sharing, Beck! Until you said that, I don't think I realized that different livers could taste different (that was a "duh" moment for me).

    I think my ex-husband, my son's father, must have been like your husband :) He usually made his mind up about whether or not he would like a food before he ate it.
    I am trying to consistently add new, real, whole foods to our diets so that my son drops his ideas of the SAD (Standard American Diet) and embraces experimentation with real food!

    I was a little overwhelmed with a 'roast' sized liver. How do you cut yours or do you cook it whole? How long does it usually take to cook?

  3. My mom used to fry liver just like any other steak. Back in Germany we eat a lot of Pork and Beef liver. It is true, if you overcook it it becomes dry and tough. Just treat it like a steak. We kids loved it.
    Here in New Zealand you hardly find liver to buy. Offals are for poor people I guess. Sad.



  4. I never had liver as I was growing up. My mom didn't care for it. When I married my husband I decided I would try to cook it for him because he liked liver (beef). Each time I made it I would take a few bites. Eventually I actually liked it, too! It was a fairly inexpensive meal for us (back then, I have no idea today). It's been so long but it seems like I cooked it in some water and added onions and seasonings and served it with homemade mashed potatoes. We haven't had any in years. Thanks for bringing a few good memories to mind. :o)