|LIVER! The energy super food.
Give it up for…liver?! Yes! It’s delicious, especially when paired with garlicky kale. Is liver good for you? Yes. Does liver give you energy? Yes, yes. Does liver taste good? Well, I believe so, and I also believe you can grow to like it. Energy, vitamins, minerals…let me convince you why you need more of this in your life.
Let me back up. Liver was not always on my top foods list. We never ate it as kids, and I only remember one time when my mother had it and we tried it. “Ewwww!” we said. Years past. In my teens, I worked at an assisted living facility in the kitchen, sometimes delivering meals and other times serving in the dining room. I loved it. Except on liver nights. I would use the sink sprayer to clean the large liver and onion pans. The steamy smell would hit me in the face like a ton of bricks.
I’m not setting up this recipe for success, am I? Well. My palate has changed and, more than that, the source of liver makes a difference. Liver from overcrowded chicken houses comes from unhealthy chickens and generally does not have a pleasant odor, at least in my experience. But liver from pastured hens is dark, smooth, and full of (good) flavor. Add the trifecta that makes all foods better (olive oil, salt and pepper) and you have yourself a winner.
Medical News Today lists out some benefits of organ meats, and liver tops the list. It is high in Vitamin A, which is wonderful for eye health and helps fight inflammation (chronic inflammation can lead to disease over time and generally just make you feel bad).
Liver also contains folic acid (important for women who are trying to conceive), copper, zinc, iron and chromium. This isn’t just a list of nutrients. All of this is essential for our bodies to work properly. And yes these nutrients can be found in other foods, but liver is packed with them. It’s a wonderful food to reach for a few times a month to ensure your body receives good nourishment.
Liver and Energy
Probably because of liver’s dense nutrient content, our bodies are able to convert it into lots of energy. It is also a great source of iron, which our muscles are able to readily use. This blog notes that liver has an “unidentified anti-fatigue factor” and I totally agree with that. When I eat liver, I feel like every cell in my body is alive and brimming with energy. It may sound strange, but it’s true. I feel energetic throughout the day when I eat liver.
|Liver: pairs well with greens and red wine
How to Source Liver
It is crucial to buy liver from pastured animals (and I believe this to be true of any animal products). Liver from unhealthy animals is not healthy to eat and it just does not taste as good. Look for farms in your area that practice sustainable farming, and see if you can visit to get a feel for the place. Do their animals look happy and bright eyed? Is there overcrowding? Do they care for the soil and the grasses in a regenerative way?
Another option is to ask your grocery store to carry sustainable liver. A quick search online will likely reveal where the sustainable farms are located. Asking your store to stock up on some quality pastured meats and organ meats is a great way to get connected and get more nutrients in your diet.
How to Eat Liver
One of my favorite recipes is caramelized red onions with a rich balsamic sauce and pan-fried liver over rice, but that takes a bit of work. The next best thing is pan frying it in olive oil and adding salt and pepper. I love to eat it over garlicky kale. The somewhat bitter kale nicely pairs with the earthy liver. It’s delicious.
Naturally fermented soy sauce, called shoyu sauce, goes well with liver. A splash of balsamic vinegar also helps.
And, if you’re not ready for straight up liver yet, there are other ways to enjoy the benefits. Mix it into meat loaf or meat sauce with spaghetti sauce. Add it to chili. Or, take liver capsules.
Other Yummy Superfood Recipes
– My Morning Smoothie: berries, collagen, cocoa and maca
– Black Beans: I lived off of black beans for a year in Nicaragua and came back less depressed and more motivated. My family is convinced it was the black beans.
– Perfect Soft Boiled Eggs: nothing satisfies me more than some complete egg protein.
|A nutrient dense meal, coming your way.
Pan Fried Liver and Garlicky Kale
Time: 30 minutes
For Garlicky Kale
2 bunches curly kale
2 tablespoons olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic.
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 – 3/4 cup water or broth
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1. Stem, wash and chop kale. The easiest way to chop this fluffy cruciferous vegetable is to place leaves on top of each other, roll it up, and slice it lenghwise, then crosswise.
2. Heat a large pan to medium high heat. Peel and mince 4-6 cloves garlic, depending on how much you like and how big the cloves are. Add olive oil to pan. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute.
3. Add kale in batches, along with water or broth. Start with 1/4 cup of water and add more as the pan dries out on the bottom. You want to avoid the garlic burning and the kale sticking. Cover the kale to allow it to cook down, and add all of the kale until it can fit in the pan.
4. The total cooking time should be 10-15 minutes, from the first batch to the last batch. Be sure to keep the kale covered while it cooks.
5. Once the kale is soft and tender, turn off the heat and add the salt and apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Stir and serve.
1 pound chicken liver
about 2 tablespoons olive oil
about 1/4 teaspoon salt (or 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt)
fresh ground pepper: about one turn per piece of liver
optional: shoyu (soy) sauce or balsamic vinegar
1. Drain the liver and trim off any connective tissue, the lighter stringy parts that are often still attached. Slice large pieces in half.
2. Heat a large pan over high heat. I usually cook the kale, first then add it to a bowl to keep warm and use the same pan to cook the liver in.
3. Add the olive oil, about 2 tablespoons or so, and let it get hot.
4. Add half of the liver and sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper. Cook just over 1 minute, flip, then cook just over 1 minute longer. I like the inside to be a littler underdone. Overcooked liver is not palatable.
5. Remove liver from pan, keep warm, and continue cooking the remaining half in the same way.