Thursday, October 07, 2010

Why I Eat Liver, and Dinner: Liver Stir-Fry, Broccoli, Sauerkraut, Fruit, Milk

Today was a momentous day.  I bravely purchased liver, committed to try liver, and then made it for dinner.  Little did I know that after it came out of the pan, breaded in seasoned sprouted flour and surrounded by diced bacon and browned onions, that I would fall in love.  I know it sounds strange, but liver is delicious.  Liver not only tastes good cooked this way, but is immensely good for you.

Organ meats have been traditionally consumed and revered for their healing properties by our ancestors.  We can learn a lot from the way our forepeople valued organ meats.  The added benefit of looking into the science behind what our ancestors did can help us wrap our heads around incorporating organ meats into our diets.  (Though make sure that you differentiate between studies done on grass-fed organ meats and feedlot organ meats, since the nutritional difference is vast.)

Liver contains all kinds of nutrients, most strikingly a very high amount of vitamin A.  Even the difference between grass-fed red meat and grass-fed liver is striking.  Liver contains over three time more iron, 27 times more vitamin C, over 100 times more vitamin B-12 and folic acid, and that's not even mentioning the vitamin A.  Grass-fed red meat contains 40 IU and grass-fed liver has 53,400 IU!  Liver is also a source for vitamin K2, sometimes called "Activator X" by real foodies and Weston Price foundation folks.  However, chicken liver is much higher in vitamin K2 than beef liver.  Still, liver is good for you.

Vitamin K2 does many things, like promote bone growth and make your teeth grow in straight and strong.  Here is a list of vitamin K2-rich foods, which include chicken liver, pate, grass-fed butter, grass-fed hard and soft cheese, and natto.  I eat all these items except for natto.  But I am determined to try it on a day when I feel especially brave.  My boys love natto, which is very fortunate.  You can buy natto at Asian markets, and they are cheap.  Make sure you buy organic natto, so that you know the soybeans they fermented are non-GMO.

I have been easing into the idea of sauteing liver.  I started by purchasing braunschweiger from U.S. Wellness Meats, which is 60% beef and 40% liver.  Braunschweiger is a nutrient-dense, satisfying organ meat sausage that is wonderful on sprouted crackers and cheese.  Now that I know I have the tastebuds to handle liver, I think I will try some more unusual organ sausages.  Their liverwurst contains grass-fed liver, heart and kidney and looks like a good segue way into even more adventurous organ meat sausages.  Maybe I will even try ordering some head cheese, which contains grass-fed tongue and heart.  Baby steps, my friends.  This is where they can get you to.  This coming from me, the gal who thinks the texture of yogurt is gross.  If I can eat liver, anyone can.

Oh, and my boys loved it.  They happily chewed it, no problem.  Liver is very velvety if you cook it right.  They even asked for more until they were both stuffed.  I know they got their nutrients, and I know that I got mine.

Coconut Oil: two tablespoons taken 20 minutes before dinner in raspberry leaf tea
  • Liver Stir-fry with Onions and Bacon (I cut the recipe in half)
  • Steamed Broccoli with Butter (I was too full to eat this)
  • Sauerkraut (homemade jar was finally done!)
  • Fresh fruit with Coconut Sprinkles (I had half a grapefruit)
  • one cup of raw milk
Liver Stir-Fry
serves 4
1 pound beef or calf's liver, cut into strips
juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup sprouted flour, or unbleached white flour
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound sliced bacon, cut into pieces (I did a small dice)
2 large onions, chopped

1.  Place liver in a large bowl with lemon juice and marinate for several hours in the refrigerator.
2.  Pat piece dry and dredge in a mixture of flour, salt and pepper.
3.  In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a heated platter (I used a glass pie plate set on a burner that was warm but turned off).
4.  Cook chopped onion in bacon fat until browned.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place on warmed platter/pie plate.
5.  Stir-fry liver in remaining fat until browned on each side, only about 1-2 minutes per side, until medium-rare.  If you overcook, it gets that "liver" taste.  Serve immediately with bacon and onions.


Claire said...

I have to say, you are a very brave eater, Kendahl!

WordVixen said...

Have you tried heart? It's not as strong as liver (though a bit tougher). Lucky for me, I suddenly craved it once as a teenager (goodness, my body must have been desperate for nutrients!), and learned to eat it with a lot of onions, gravy, and mashed potatoes. After getting into real food, I finally attempted making it at home without all the hoo-hah. I don't really like it plain, but I have found that if I serve it with over easy eggs, the yolks cover up some of the liver flavor, and I can eat it just fine. For a day or two. Unfortunately, my pre-frozen packs of liver come as 4 big slices, and I don't know how well it would work to thaw, split, and re-freeze, so I had to eat all four in one week. That was a bit much. :-D

Good going, though! Did you notice a lack of tiredness after you ate it? I found out that there's some sort of anti-fatigue factor in liver, and the days that I had it, I really did find that I could keep going, and going, and going...

k said...

I HAVE noticed that, actually. I was feeling really great all day yesterday, the day after I had had the liver for dinner. I am willing to try heart too. I have heard that it's quite good mixed in with ground beef.

Elizabeth said...

Is chicken liver really higher in K2? That's great news, as I prefer it! Do you have link to that info somewhere? I'd love to read more about K2 in chicken liver. I always though beef was the big bang for vit A/K2.

k said...

Elizabeth, that's what I thought too! I have yet to try chicken livers, though I have a pate recipe I need to try making per the Eat Fat, Lose Fat menu.

Let me look for that link...