It may not sound appealing to everyone, but liver is simply amazing! Since an animal's liver plays multiple roles within the body, it requires many vitamins and minerals to complete its functions. Therefore, liver is a storage house of nutrition — it is known as "nature's multivitamin."
Since I am German, liver was a staple when I was growing up. However, if you are new to eating liver, pâté is a good place to start. It is seasoned well and acts more like a spread or dip than a cut of meat. I love to serve liver pâté as I would hummus: as an appetizer with gluten-free crackers or sliced veggies such as cucumbers, or spread on toast or fresh crusty bread.
Why Liver is a Healthy Choice
Liver is extremely rich in B vitamins, biotin, choline, vitamin A, iron, copper, selenium and zinc. In fact, the amounts of these nutrients found in 3.5 ounces of liver far surpass that found in plant foods. Therefore, eating a little bit of liver in addition to a predominantly whole foods, plant-based diet can be a very easy way to quickly increase the nutrient density of your diet.
However, since liver is very high in vitamin A and cholesterol, limiting it to small amounts — around 3 ounces — a couple times a week is advised. And, just as a reminder, you must make sure to buy organic and pasture-raised liver to ensure the highest quality.
Who Should Eat Liver?
I think anyone who enjoys it should eat liver occasionally. However, those who can benefit most from including liver are those who eat meat but consume very little animal protein, those who have digestive issues of some sort (IBD, IBS, SIBO, etc.), high-intensity athletes and women of child-bearing age. Oftentimes these populations either are not meeting their micronutrient needs through diet alone or they have decreased micronutrient absorption. Because liver is so rich in important vitamins and minerals it can be a wonderful restorative food item to incorporate into your diet.
So, if you are feeling adventurous, or are already a liver connoisseur, I recommend trying this delicious, super-easy liver pâté. Serve it with crackers, apples, olives and some aged hard cheeses and you'll have yourself quite a gourmet antipasti plate!
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons organic grass-fed salted butter
- 2 cups yellow onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely minced
- 1 pound organic grass-fed lamb liver, diced or thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons half-and-half
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- In a large skillet (not cast iron), heat butter over medium heat until melted. Reduce heat to medium-low, add onion and sauté 10 minutes. Add garlic and freshly minced sage and oregano. Sauté another 10 minutes until the onions are caramelized.
- Meanwhile, cut away any membranes on the liver. Sometimes this is already done depending what liver you buy, and if you can find it, it will surely save you a bit of time.
- As onions start to caramelize, reduce heat to low and, with a slotted spoon, transfer onion mixture to a food processor.
- Return heat to medium and sauté liver until no longer bloody but still slightly pink inside, just a couple minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the liver to cool a bit.
- Meanwhile, process onion mixture in food processor until smooth. Add cooked liver, half-and-half, sea salt, ground allspice and ground pepper. Process until smooth.
- Line a container with plastic wrap and pour in liver pâté. Smooth with a spatula and cover. Refrigerate.
- Once cool and hard, turn the container over onto a plate and peel away the plastic wrap, allowing you to slice the pâté. Or, pour pâté into a container from which you can spoon the pâté.
- I prefer lamb's liver in this recipe. When choosing a variety for recipes, lamb and chicken livers have a more mellow flavor than cow's livers.
- This recipe makes a lot of pâté. You can easily freeze it and thaw for use later if you need a quick and tasty appetizer or breakfast spread.