A couple of months ago, a classmate of mine brought some chicken liver paté in for us all to sample. The taste immediately took me back to a time when I was probably around 12 years old, sitting at the luncheon table in my great-grandmother's Upper West Side NYC apartment with my mom, great-grandmother and two great-aunts. My mom and I would take these trips into Manhattan to visit the 80-something ladies-who-lunched and would always stop at Zabar's on the way. Well, one bite of that paté put me at that table, biting into liverwurst and smiling with the eldest women on the German side of my family. We'd schmear the liverwurst on rye bread and have tastes of smoked whitefish and pickled herring with onions to go with it. Those are some fantastic memories.
After I had that taste a couple of months ago, I called my mom to thank her for feeding me liver as a kid. I don't think she really got why I was thanking her, but nonetheless, it motivated me to FINALLY make my own paté. As soon as I finished eating the paté this evening, I called my Grandma (a talented home-chef herself) to tell her all about it, down to the herbs and spices I used. Grandma was delighted to hear about what I'd made and loved my idea to make some for her the next time I'm back in New Jersey.
I don't think it's a great secret that liver is a super-food. The nutrient density of once ounce of this organ meat looks like something of a vitamin supplement. Based on the RDA, here's how 1 ounce of liver stacks up for the following nutrients, many of which are quite scarce in other food sources. I know many of you are probably cringing at the idea of eating liver, but I promise you this recipe is quite tasty! After I made it tonight, I proceeded to eat about 4oz of the paté and about 30-45 minutes later I felt a rush of energy (read about that below). No joke… Win!
The nutrition in Liver.
According to Chris Masterjohn,
“Liver and cod liver oil are nutrient-packed super-food supplements that can help boost energy, libido, muscle growth, brain power, and general health. They are abundant sources of nutrients difficult to obtain elsewhere, such as vitamin A, arachidonic acid, DHA, and the B vitamins.
Liver contains an unidentified “anti-fatigue factor” that was found to greatly boost swimming endurance in rats. It is probably extremely rich in carnitine, lipoic acid, and other energy-related nutrients whose food sources have not been sufficiently researched.”
Source: The Benefits of Liver, Cod Liver Oil and Dessicated Liver.
The Best Sources of Liver to Eat.
According to Lynn Razaitis of the Weston A. Price Foundation,
“Of course, we should consume liver from healthy animals–cattle, lamb, buffalo, hogs, chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese. The best choice is liver from animals that spend their lives outdoors and on pasture. If such a premier food is not available, the next choice is organic chicken, beef and calves liver. If supermarket liver is your only option, the best choice is calves liver, as in the U.S. beef cattle do spend their first months on pasture. Beef liver is more problematical as beef cattle are finished in feed lots. Livers from conventionally raised chicken and hogs are not recommended.”
Source: The Liver Files.
Check out Chris Kresser's take on liver in his post entitled “Liver:Nature's Most Potent Super-Food.”
Here's another fun article that lists out 10 Health Benefits of Chicken Liver – which essentially explains great uses for the above nutrient density in daily functions of the human body. Sweet!
- 1lb chicken liver (you can try other liver if you like- select the darkest livers that you can find as lighter-colored livers are less healthy.)
- 1 small onion (or 1/2 of a large onion), chopped
- 1/2 cup red wine (or you can try balsamic vinegar if you don't want to use or don't have red wine)
- 2-4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup butter (I like Kerrygold)
- Sea salt (I like Redmond Real Salt)
- 2 tablespoons cracked black pepper (optional)
Sauté the liver and onions in a couple of tablespoons of the butter until the livers are browned and the onions are tender.
Add wine, garlic, mustard, herbs and lemon juice and cook uncovered until most of the liquid has gone.
Transfer the mixture into a food processor and blend to a smooth paste along with the rest of the butter 1Tbsp at a time until it reaches a smooth, creamy consistency – you don't want it to be crumbly.
Add salt to taste.
Put pate in a shallow dish to refrigerate before serving.
(optional) Press cracked pepper onto the top of it or garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme or rosemary.
Enjoy spread on celery, carrots, cucumbers, peppers or any other veggies you want to dip!
Use any other kind of liver you like.
If you don't want to use wine, try using some balsamic, apple cider or red wine vinegar. I haven't tried that out myself though, so I can't tell you how well it would work.