mmmm mmmmm melting in my mouth, I am right now enjoying a luxuriously rich spoonful of freshly made chicken liver pate’ as I write. Can’t get enough of this divine stuff. Yes, divine. Yes, delish. Can’t believe it? It’s true. Made some last night. Ate it while I made it. Ate it after it firmed up in the refrigerator. Stole a spoonful this morning while making breakfast…who would have known?
Liver is one of those forgotten foods…depending on your age, you may remember your mother or grandmother serving it once or twice a week when you were growing up. (I am hoping more moms will start serving their family nutrient-dense liver once a week after reading this post!) I remember my mom and I going to our favorite Jewish deli and ordering chopped chicken livers on an onion bagel with raw onions for a treat. Delightful. My mom made THE BEST chopped chicken livers. She still does. (She also made the best steak tartare. But more on that superfood later. ;))
Liver is a forgotten food. I guess it was destined to be so as the industrial food movement took over our food supply, started raising hundreds of “beeves” on CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) and chickens in CAFOs the size of football fields in battery cages stacked on top of one another. Butchers became a thing of the past, and liver and organ meats were relegated to dog and cat food…or sausages. But as we take our food supply back into our own hands and purchase locally, from farmers we know and trust who are raising their cows and chickens on pasture, the liver (and organs) become a delicacy once again, appreciated as they ought to be, a nutrient-rich gem that I encourage you to serve your families. Often.
Just in case you are wondering, yes, the nutrients of livers from animals in CAFOs are very different than those that eat bugs and grass, as chickens are meant to do. A picture is worth a thousand words. Check out this photo of chicken livers taken in February 2011 by Sandrine Hahn. Afraid of toxins? The liver does not store toxins–it just filters them. Toxins are stored in fatty tissue. However, the liver IS a storehouse for nutrients. Obviously the liver from pasture raised chicken is superior in nutrients. I would eat that one whenever I could. It seems that the benefit of eating liver, even a little, makes it worth it.
Yes, liver is a forgotten food…so much so that no one knows how to make it any more… I have avoided making liver for years because I didn’t know how and now I CRAVE it. Easy easy easy to prepare, once you’ve taken the plunge and begun. Liver from pastured animals is lovely-silky, smooth, rich red in color. Liver is considered sacred by many cultures of the world; traditional peoples and cultures still know its value. Why is liver a “superfood”? Because ounce for ounce, it has more nutrients than any other food. It is rich in natural Vitamin A, (protects against bone loss and birth defects), copper, iron, zinc, Vitamin D, antioxidants, and provides an abundance of B vitamins. It is also the best source of B12 and long chain fatty acids. It is very important for the nervous system and eyes. For more information on liver, see The Liver Files.
Who would benefit from eating liver? Just about everyone. Especially nursing mothers, babies-as a first food, growing children, women of child-bearing years, athletes, those who are convalescing from anything including childbirth, those with anemia and blood disorders, anyone with liver disease…and YOU!
So on I go into my day. More pate’? Oh, yes. And calves liver, just the way mom used to make it. Fried up with onions and bacon, in bacon fat. And I’ll try a few more recipes too… in time to share with my Liver: Love It and Eat It! class on Saturday. Hope to see you there!
P. S. Look for our favorite liver recipes here after class this weekend!