Before you flee in terror from the mere suggestion of eating liver, wait! There are so many great things to say about this dish. To put it simply, liver is an excellent way to get a ton of nutritional bang for very few bucks. It is a concentrated source of the same nutrients you get from regular muscle meat, and it costs something like $1-2/pound. I’ve found that working liver into my diet a couple times a week improves my overall energy, and it certainly improves my dietary variety. I first tried liver in Senegal, where it was fried and the women nibbled on it while cooking on Tabaski. Initially, I wasn’t a huge fan, but when I learned more about the health benefits, I committed to integrating organ meats into my diet. To quote The Paleo Mom in her post “Why Everyone Should Be Eating Organ Meats“:
Compared to the muscle meat we are used to eating, organ meats are more densely packed with just about every nutrient, including heavy doses of B vitamins such as: B1, B2, B6, folic acid and the very important vitamin B12. Organ meats are also loaded with minerals like phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium, iodine, calcium, potassium, sodium, selenium, zinc and manganese and provide the important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Organ meats are known to have some of the highest concentrations of naturally occurring vitamin D of any food source.
Since I found a market where I can easily buy liver, heart, and other organ meats, I’ve been trying various recipes to make them not only palatable, but delicious. My boyfriend mentioned that he had a recipe that we could Paleo-ize and try, so we went for it on Day 13 of my Whole30. His recipe, combined with the suggestion of lemon from a recipe from Melissa of The Clothes Make the Girl, is the best I’ve found yet for a fast and tasty way to prepare beef liver.
Beef Liver and Onions – Serves 3-4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes for the onions, 3-4 minutes total for the liver
2-3 tablespoons bacon fat or ghee (clarified butter)*
Two medium yellow onions, sliced
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup almond meal or almond flour
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound beef liver, sliced (never fear, you can purchase it in slices- they are about 1/4-1/2 inch thick)
Two lemons, halved
*Normal practice would be to cook a bunch of bacon and munch on it while you cook the liver and onions in the fat. As I don’t have any sugar-free bacon, I’m avoiding this during my Whole30, but you can make this dish either way!
In a large skillet over medium-low heat, heat one tablespoon of your fat of choice. Slice onions and add them to the skillet. Continue to cook these, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the rest of the dish.
In another large skillet over medium heat, heat one tablespoon of your fat of choice. In a large, shallow dish or plate, combine flours and seasonings until evenly mixed. One by one, dredge both sides of each slice of liver in flour mixture and place in hot skillet. Turn after each slice has cooked for 60-90 seconds and cook for another 60-90 seconds. I like to leave the centers pinkish-red to maintain the natural tenderness; liver will become chewy if overcooked. Remove to a plate when finished, and then heat another tablespoon of your fat of choice and repeat with remaining slices.
When onions have become soft and translucent, turn off the heat. Serve liver with a hearty serving of onions and half a lemon. The lemon juice adds a great flavor to the onions.