Monday, October 13, 2008

Liver Love?

Saturday, after a long day of errands, I was at a loss for dinner. We'd eaten the wonderful lasagnas from the freezer, and the split pea soup doesn't hold quite the same excitement (plus, we'd had that recently too). The turkey bones were a long way from soup, and I had penance to do for buying a pizza (yes, a store-bought, nitrate-filled, nasty, killer pizza - and it was SOOO good) for a late lunch to feed my starving offspring (not Baby, she had yogurt).

The night before (which I think ended up split pea night) I had tried to dig in the chest freezer (but you can't get very far, it's so full!), and came across an easily-accessible package of beef liver. I'd instructed the butcher that we wanted that, being as it was from a wonderful grass-fed critter and Nourishing Traditions encouraged such things. I'd hit a road block that night, because NT called for 'soaking' the liver in lemon juice for several hours to 'improve flavor and draw out impurities'. Well, I'm all for good flavor and less impurities, so I let it defrost. By the time we got home on Saturday, I decided to have a go at it. It had been years since I'd eaten the stuff. But - being so full of enzymes or minerals or omega-3 fats, I was sallying forth with determination.

I juiced 2 lemons and layered the freaky slices of liver in a bowl with juice in/on everything. Come dinnertime, I patted it dry, as per the instructions, and dredged it in flour (barley flour, since I'm holding off on wheat for Organique) and fried it in.. lard, bacon grease (I'm pretty sure NT would disapprove), coconut oil - I might've used sunflower oil at some point as well. It really soaked up the fat. I also sliced a big sweet onion and sauteed it (in a mixture of olive oil and butter), and steamed some peas and corn. Then I served it to my adoring family.

They weren't adoring for long. Hubby had never actually had liver and onions, and remarked, "I see why they always eat it with onions." Indeed, after a few bites of liver a la carte, I started eating it with the onions, for remarkable improvement. The girls were not so easily convinced. It really was strong stuff. Interestingly, they did eat all their onions. Organique ate a bite or two, but eventually started giving me dirty looks and letting the stuff fall out of her mouth each time I tried to give her some. She stuck with the peas and corn, mostly.

So. Hubby did choose a liver sandwich for lunch on Sunday, because we, for once, had plenty of leftovers. And we are brainstorming other ways to give our bodies the great nourishment that this provides, without the, um, sacrifice of actually tasting it. Any ideas? Can I grind it up and mix it with hamburger to make meatloaf? Could I use the juice of, say, 40 lemons and exponentially 'improve the flavor?' We have several packages in the freezer, and it seems wrong to feed such healthy fare to the chickens. Give me your best recipes. :)


MisoMama said...

I have never actually had beef liver but I would suggest pate because I tried a good duck liver pate once.
A Chiropractor gave me defecated beef liver pills and it was the only thing that finally kicked my bronchitis after several bouts of it one winter.
One time I wrapped liver in bacon and barbecued it but my husband said that was the last time he ever needed to eat it. I have only had liver those two times.

annie said...

Ugh. I say just give it to the chickens. No human should have to eat liver. :) Actually, though I would NEVER eat it if you told me what was in it, I bet you could disguise it pretty well in a meatloaf recipe. I generally don't like meatloaf (i'm not a picky eater, i promise!) but my mother-in-law makes this meatloaf that has mushrooms (i know, i know) and lots of mozzarella cheese and other things and I actually really like it.

Did you find a hoodie pattern? I like the one in a particular knitting book that has a title that is NOT very ladylike, or even gentleman like. But, the pattern is pretty easy and I like how it looks.

Thanks for blowing us some of your weather. While it hasn't actually gotten cooler, it is definitely drier and wonderfully windy. And I'm excited - the high for Wednesday is projected to be 84! Much better than the 89s, 90s we've been seeing. Lows in the 60s....nice. :)

EllaJac said...

Misomama, Pate? Hmm... That sounds a little fancy for hereabouts, but you never know! Though, after watching Aflac, our duck, I'm pretty reluctant to eat anything out of such a critter. :)

Annie, I didn't find a hoodie pattern that seems doable. Maybe my attention span was limited, but I didn't run across anything that didn't seem to be so daunting I wouldn't finish it by NEXT year. I would say to point me to your pattern, but we want to keep this g-rated, so hmmm... :)

You're welcome for the weather. I'm glad it arrived safe and sound, if not in the SAME condition as when I sent it. We're hoping for HIGHS in the 60s this week. lol.

home handymum said...

Yup. With beef liver a little goes a looong way, unless you really like the flavour. Sheep liver is the same. Only chicken livers are fairly universally liked :)

We marinade it in soy sauce or lemon juice or even red wine, some garlic, maybe a bit of salt, ginger, whatever you like, then quick fry it (frying it too long makes it tough and leathery) and have it with bacon and onions - I know, bacon has those nitrates, but the salty bacony flavour really helps with the liver.

Actually, rather than quick frying it in fats, usually we more like poach it in the juice we marinaded it in - adding a bit of water or orange juice to make it go further.

My hubby likes it in soups, chopped really small.

Definitely try the pate - it's really just meat paste with flavourings, and can go nicely in a sandwich - turns a plain salad sandwich into a complete meal. My babies also much prefer pate on toast to any other way of eating liver. (although even then, they're not huge fans)

I'd also definitely try sticking it in blender or mincer and mixing it with hamburger for a meatloaf - maybe 3 portions of hamburger to 1 portion of liver - or even more, to dilute the flavour.

Good luck!

Jenny said...

Mmmm, I love liver - only the organic kind though. If you decide you just can't handle it, I will take it off your hands.

---Your friekishly weird friend.

P.S. I like anchovies too :-P

home handymum said...

I'm not sure which recipe my hubby uses - he's usually the pate maker in this house, but the recipe at this link seems pretty close.

Farmlet is a blog by some new zealanders doing the homesteading thing. Am pretty sure they use Nourishing Traditions fairly often. She recommends this pate on sourdough crackers.

Beef Liver Pate

500g beef liver (you can substitute lamb’s fry), cut into pieces
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup red wine
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons cracked black pepper

*Saute the liver and onions in a couple of tablespoons of the butter until the livers are browned and the onions are tender.

*Add wine, garlic, mustard, herbs and lemon juice and cook uncovered until most of the liquid has gone.

*Cool and blend to a smooth paste in the food processor along with the rest of the butter. (This is easier if the butter is not fridge cold!)

*Add salt to taste.

*Check the consistency of the pate. If it seems dry and crumbly rather than smooth and creamy, add more butter.

*Put pate in a shallow dish and press the cracked pepper onto the top of it.

Anonymous said...

I can see why your girls didn't eat it i would HATE it.

I'm a 10 year old girl and somewhat picky about what i eat.

God bless you.

sincerely Ireland Skye Jones