I have been majorly inspired by a few books in 2019. Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan and Real Food for Pregnancy by Lily Nichols. Both of which follow a simplistic set of values. Eat more free range and humanely treated animals, with an emphasis on broths, meat on the bone, and organ meats (also referred to as offal). Of course they also cover things like a variety of plants and fermented foods, but that's a topic to dig into another day.
We've all heard of liver and onions. A dish that Doug Funnie used to loathe. I think Doug tainted my view of liver early in life. Doug and the fact that nobody talks about organ meats anymore. Once my mom cooked a beef tongue when I was about 20 years old. I tried it. It was ok, but my issue was with the blatant tongue just sitting and steaming in a sauce pan with a bit of rosemary sprinkled on it. It was still shaped like a tongue. Had there been a better presentation, I may have been more open minded. Since then I haven't touched organ meats. Until now...
It's no secret if you've listened to our podcast that we are hoping to become pregnant. Any day now. So one of the most important focuses of my life right now is nutrition. I'm so thankful for the authors I mentioned above, as they have opened my eyes to a lifestyle of eating fat, which I love. I've always eaten the fat off the steak. I LOVE eating the skin off of the Thanksgiving turkey. I will, no doubt, eat all the bacon. Contrary to past mainstream nutritional advice, fat is freaking awesome. And after my own research and experimentation, I've found my body functions well with a high, quality fat diet.
Now that I know what works for my body and pallet, the time has come to introduce a graduated version of healthy animal food into my diet: organ meats.
I decided to start with free range, grass fed, beef liver. Before I continue, it's important to note: the source matters. Factory farmed organ meat, while nutritious, is not recommended. First it doesn't taste as good, second it may have contaminants you'll want to avoid, factory farmed meat (not just offal) has a higher risk of food borne illness, and from an ethical standpoint, these animals are not living the life they were meant to. To read more about grass fed benefits, check out this blog from Lily Nichols.
Liver is basically the most efficient, nutrient-rich food you can eat. Liver is high in iron, Vitamin A, K, B12, Folate and so much more. Just a few ounces of liver each week provides all you need for certain vitamins and minerals. If you are familiar with prenatal needs, you'll see that this is basically a prenatal vitamin and then some.
So I don't LOVE the taste. So I've been experimenting to find a recipe that I can take down every couple of days. After some swings and misses, I found a way to pack in 0.5 lbs of liver (about two weeks worth of liver snacks) into a recipe.
0.5 lb of grass-fed liver
1 lb ground pork
1 lb of ground beef
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
2 tbsp of parsley
2 tbsp of oregano
1/2 of a medium onion
1/2-3/4 stick of butter
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
some salt and pepper
Start by soaking the liver for at least 2 hours in a container with whole milk or lemon water (I've also heard some people using apple cider vinegar + water). Rinse after soaking in a colander. Take the above ingredients (except for the butter and garlic) and mix them in a food processor or blender (be careful, because the blender power sometimes isn't enough, so don't let it run too long)
In a big skillet (cast iron is great):
Melt about a quarter or half a stick of butter with some coarsely chopped garlic. Roll the above mixture into golfball-sized balls and begin dropping them into the sizzling butter. Let each size brown to prevent it from sticking to the pan. Use some tongs to keep flipping your balls. It may take up to 10+ minutes per ball. I threw a layer of parchment paper on the counter to set cooked balls. Once you free up some space in the pan, add some more!
You can eat them right away or freeze them for later use. I'm saving a batch for hopefully my first month of pregnancy, so I can be ahead of the game.
I brought them to a dinner party, everyone tried one, and didn't taste the metallic-y liver taste at all and loved it! Even the kids!