We go through some meat around here.
We halved a cow with our dear friends the S family back in August. But our outside freezer started looking pretty barren, so last weekend we picked up another 1/2 a cow, and our freezer now looks like this again, thankfully:
We had actually been out of some types of beef (like ground beef) for months.
But then we added five deer to our freezer during hunting season. But then we ate all that also. Those two lone pink packages in the lower right hand corner of the freezer picture show all the venison that now remains.
And we order (and eat!) 16 whole chickens through our co-op every month.
Yes, we go through a lot of meat around here. And we actually do not even eat meat-centric meals. But when you have 7 good eaters...meat (food in general, actually) just doesn't last long. (Now that I sit here thinking about it, G probably eats just as much as me during a given day now.)
But back to the topic of this post
which I haven't even really revealed yet for fear you'll close the page.
When we picked up this 1/2 cow last weekend from a local good 'ol boy farmer, who lets his cows roam around freely, grazing on grass all day as the good Lord intended...he had also (at our request) set aside the bones for us (for making broth). And the fat (to render into tallow, I need to do a post on how I do that).
AND....we asked for and received the liver also.
I know, I know. I have just over the last year or two come to a place where I can even entertain the idea myself.
What has won me over is knowing the nutrition found in liver. Ounce for ounce, it beats all other foods in terms of nutrition. It is a great natural, real, whole source of vitamins and minerals.
rant aside about supplements of vitamins, minerals: We don't believe in synthetic supplements taken in isolation. And we don't do multivitamins...not even our children. I know, gasp. Synthetic (meaning man-made) supplements, besides not working correctly when taken in isolation from all their other intended co-factors, can actually cause problems and be harmful. Vitamins and minerals work together as they are intended in whole food sources. For example, if you are eating an iron-rich food, your body can't absorb that iron unless you are also taking in Vitamin C at the same time. That is one example we know of...how many more of those types of interactions do we not even know about yet? God didn't create these substances in isolation, they were made and meant to be ingested together, and work together in ways that scientists and doctors will never be able to fully understand. That being said, the only "supplements" we take are Fermented Cod Liver Oil (a whole food item, not synthetic - that is chock-full of vitamins that work together in a synergistic way, because the Lord made it that way!) and probiotics.)
So, as I've become increasingly aware of just how nutritious liver is, I've been trying to figure out the best way to work it into our diets.
Last year I purchased a couple pounds of liver from the man at our co-op who raises grass-fed beef. I had been wanting to try this Liver and Onions recipe. It sounded like a good first recipe to try out liver. As I was cooking the liver and onions, different ones came in and out of the house, I can't tell you how many times they would mention, "That smells SO good!" And it did...it truly smelled absolutely divine as it was cooking. I couldn't wait to actually try it.
And then...we did try it. Wow, what an unusual texture. Jas - unbeknownst to the children - put his helping back in the skillet (while making exaggerated gagging faces). So that is the last time I made Liver and Onions.
Since then I've been adding leeeetle bits of liver here and there to other ground beef/venison dishes. Never enough to change the taste/texture of the dish, and no one has ever caught on.
I've not needed to try this, but I've also read tricks about making your own liver "pills", in order to get the nutrition of liver, without the taste.
So now I had this 5.5 pound liver from this cow. What to do with it?
I'd been pinning great looking pâté recipes. I remember trying some pâté when I was younger (and probably didn't even realize what I was eating) and liking it. So I went to work, inspired by this recipe (although I had to multiply everything since I had so much liver!).
Again, it smelled soooo good. The children kept asking what I was making. "Pâté!" I answered cheerily...careful not to use the "L" word in connection with the yummy-smelling concoction I had going on.
My pickiest eater asked me several times what was in the dish I was making. "There is some onions...and, ummm, garlic....and some....rosemary.....and...." I just never quite finished the list of ingredients.
End result: We are all loving the pâté!
Mr. G eats it up! He eats it straight off a spoon. I don't know who is happier: him because he loves it so much...or me because he is eating it up and I know how great it is for him.
And by the time that picky-eater figured out there was liver in the pâté...it was too late. The pâté was already a hit, and that picky one? Is possibly the biggest fan of all.
We dip it up with carrot sticks. Celery would be good too. And Noah and I also made some yummy GAPS-legal cheese crackers, and that is perhaps our favorite way to eat the pâté :
Beef Liver Pâté by My Cultured Palate
1 lb beef liver cut into pieces
1 onion chopped
1/2 c red wine
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 tsp mustard
1 Tbsp rosemary
1 Tbsp thyme
1 Tbsp lemon juice
4 Tbsp butter at room temp
salt and pepper to taste
1. Soak liver (in the refrigerator) in milk, buttermilk or kefir to reduce the bitter flavor. After 24 hrs, drain, rinse and pat dry. Trim off any gristle, connective tissue, tubes, etc. (ewwww, I know, gross...but I survived and you can too.)
2. Saute liver, onions and garlic in 4 Tbsp butter until the liver is browned and onions are translucent.
3. Add wine, mustard, herbs and lemon juice. Cook uncovered until most of the liquid is gone.
4. Cool and blend to a smooth paste in the food processor.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
More info on liver:
Are Organ Meats Healthy?
Liver: Nature's Most Potent Superfood
Liver and Onions (with Bacon)