Organ meat: friend or foe? I know it’s not for everyone. In my experience, you either love it or hate it. It’s about a 50/50 split in my family. Me? I love it 🙂
My History with Organ Meat (Offal)
I remember when I was a kid, on rare occasions, my mom would cook up chicken livers and hearts, and my brother and I thought it was such a special treat! She would fry them in butter, garlic and onions, and we’d dip them in ketchup (chicken livers and ketchup are the best of friends). In elementary school, I’d eat liver pâté and mustard on toast for breakfast, very regularly. Later, in my early 20’s, I dated an Italian guy who’d serve the hearts and livers in a reduced red wine, garlic and onion sauce – omg yum…I’ve never been able to re-create it.
So there’s my history with organ meats – no bad experiences, no weird introductions. It’s always been a part of my diet, so I’ve never had a chance to think it was weird. Now, thinking back, and reminiscing about my organ meat experiences, I’m grateful that my mom introduced my brother and I to “strange” foods early on. Doing so never gave us a chance to think otherwise (unless we had friends over for dinner on liver night and they made a big deal about it). Today, we’ll both try pretty much any food once (except pork, which I don’t eat…that’s another story).
Are Organ Meats Good For You?
Yes! Liver especially is very good for you. Liver is high in protein, iron, vitamins and minerals and considered one of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence.
And although many people avoid liver because it has been labelled a “filter” organ, in fact, it’s not actually a filter at all, and contains no higher amount of toxins than the rest of your body.
According to this article:
“One of the roles of the liver is to neutralize toxins (such as drugs, chemical agents and poisons); but the liver does not store toxins. Poisonous compounds that the body cannot neutralize and eliminate are likely to lodge in the fatty tissues and the nervous system. The liver is not a storage organ for toxins but it is a storage organ for many important nutrients (vitamins A, D, E, K, B12 and folic acid, and minerals such as copper and iron). These nutrients provide the body with some of the tools it needs to get rid of toxins.”
So you see, liver is nothing to be afraid of, my friends! Embrace it, welcome it, serve it with some fava beans and a nice chianti.
Especially if you’re a liver-beginner, give this Homemade Chicken Liver Pate with Green Peppercorns a try! It’s exceptionally easy, delicious, as it doesn’t taste “liver-y” at all!
For all you seasoned liver-eaters out there, I know you’re love this flavorful recipe too!
*Note: I stopped eating pâté for a long time because I became weary of store bought brands. Only when I started making it myself, from legitimate, meat sources, did I start eating it again. So, choose organ meat, and all meat for that matter, from hormone-free, antibiotic-free, and grass-fed animals.*
- 1 lbs Chicken Livers (organic, and hormone & antibiotic-free)
- 1-2 cups Milk, organic (milk is used to soak the livers prior to cooking, which is said to remove excess blood, and the "liver-y" taste)
- ½ cup Unsalted Butter, cold, organic
- 1 yellow Onion, small (about 1 cup)
- 2-3 cloves Garlic
- 2 tbsp Green Peppercorns
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 tsp Sage, fresh (plus whole leaves for garnish)
- 1 tsp Thyme, fresh
- ¼ tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Black Pepper, fresh ground
- ¼ cup Brandy or Cognac
- Optional: clarified butter or ghee.
- Rinse the chicken livers under cold water, place them in a bowl, and cover with milk.
- Leave the livers to soak in milk for 2-3 hours.
- Strain out livers, and rinse.
- In a frying pan, sauté onions and garlic in a ¼ cup of butter for about 5 minutes.
- Add the liver, 1 tbsp peppercorns, bay leaves, sage, thyme, salt and pepper, and cook until the outsides of the liver of brown and the insides are pink.
- Add the brandy or cognac, and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Remove the bay leaves.
- Puree the livers in a food processor.
- Pulse in remaining ¼ cup butter.
- Fold in remaining tbsp of peppercorns.
- Pack into silicone molds, ramekins, or jars, and refrigerate over night.
- Serve with crackers, toasted sourdough, djon mustard, and Enjoy!
Spoon 1-2 tsbp of melted, clarified butter or ghee in the the bottom of silicone muffin molds.
Place a sage leaf in the centre of the butter.
Refrigerate the molds until the butter has hardened.
Pack the pâté into the molds, ontop of the hardened butter.
Refrigerate over night.
Spoon in pâté leaving a bit of room at the top.
Place in sage leaf in the center
Spoon a tbsp of clarified butter or ghee.