Before you snarl your nose, hear me out.
I’ll be honest. Taste-wise, liver is not my favorite food.
But on a nutritional scale of 1-10, it gets an 11. And since nutritionally there are literally no foods that can take its place, liver is something I’ve learned to incorporate into my diet – and I think you should, too.
Think of it like a veggie phobic getting my “Veggies: Eat Them Because You Want To, Not Because You Have To” ebook and deciding that kale can have a place in their menu – at least, sometimes.
My culinary adventures with liver started well over a decade ago after reading Sally Fallon’s excellent book, Nourishing Traditions.
I did not grow up eating liver, so everything about it was just – weird. The texture, the flavor, the color…
But over time, I’ve continually experimented and found that liver can actually be, dare I say it, GOOD.
I’m still not much of a fan of straight-up liver (unless it’s chicken liver, lightly sauteed in lots of butter and served with mustard), but liver pate is pretty damn delicious.
If you’re new to the land of liver, I highly suggest starting with chicken liver, due to its mild taste and delicate texture.
Beef liver, especially from a full-grown animal, has a much stronger flavor. It is, however, richer in certain nutrients than chicken liver, such as choline, vitamin A, vitamin B12, and vitamin B3. Both are nutrient-dense, just in slightly different ways.
If you’ve been dragging your feet to try offal, suck it up and make this grass-fed beef liver pate. You can always make a mini batch just in case. If you don’t love it, save it for making “hidden liver” recipes, like these meatballs or the meatloaf recipe in Real Food for Pregnancy.
At the very least, you’ll have a good story to tell your friends. (Remember that time I tried beef heart?)
Grass-Fed Beef Liver Pate
- 1 lb grass-fed beef liver (or pasture-raised chicken liver)
- 1 Tbsp arrowroot powder
- 4 Tbsp butter (ideally from grass-fed cows)
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- pinch of black pepper
- 4 oz heavy whipping cream (ideally from grass-fed cows)
With a paper towel, pat any excess moisture off the liver. Sprinkle with salt, thyme, pepper, then the arrowroot powder (arrowroot is a gluten-free alternative to flour).
Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add butter.
Cook liver until lightly browned on both sides. Transfer to the food processor.
Meanwhile, add onions to the skillet. Cook until lightly browned and soft.
Add heavy cream to deglaze the pan (scraping up any caremelized bits with a metal spatula).
Transfer contents of pan to the food processor.
Process/pulse until you have a nice, thick pate. Taste test and add additional salt if needed.
Transfer to small mason jars or ice cube trays*, ensuring no air bubbles are present. Use within 1 week or freeze jars for later use. *If freezing in an ice cube tray, transfer fully frozen pate cubes to another container to reduce the chances of freezer burn.
How to use grass-fed beef liver pate:
- The classic way to eat pate is smeared on crackers or bread (if you go this route, go heavy on the pate!).
- If you eat grain-free or low carb, try it on slices of cucumber or kohlrabi – or even serve it as a dip with an array of fresh vegetables (like you would with hummus). I think it’s delicious with fresh carrots.
- Not a fan of straight-up pate? Mix a few tablespoons into any recipe that uses ground meat. For example, try adding it to lasagne or meatloaf (You’ll notice the Grass-fed Beef Meatballs and Low-Carb Shepherd’s Pie recipes in my books, Real Food for Pregnancy and Real Food for Gestational Diabetes, feature liver).
Nutritional benefits of liver pate:
Liver is extremely rich in vitamin A (the real stuff), choline, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, folate, and a whole host of other nutrients crucial to health, especially for pregnant women and women who are trying to conceive (as I explain in excruciating detail in my books).
And yes, contrary to outdated prenatal nutrition advice, liver is safe to eat during pregnancy in moderate quantities (see Ch 3 of Real Food for Pregnancy). I’ve never had a client overeat liver! If anything, it takes extra encouragement to include it in the diet.
Pregnant or not, a few ounces of liver pate per week is hugely beneficial to your micronutrient intake.
Before you head out to the butcher, I’d love to hear from you:
- Have you tried making liver or liver pate?
- What’s your take – delicious or not?
Until next week,
PS – Wondering why I use liver from grass-fed/pasture-raised animals? Read this.