You're absolutely right. That is not liver in that photo above. That is stew meat. You can use either grassfed lamb or beef in this amazing stew.
It's my secret weapon for incorporating dastardly liver into my healthy eating plan. If you love liver, stop reading. You don't need this secret weapon. But if you're like me and cannot abide the stuff, read on for the most amazing nutrition hack of the century.
Bay leaf, rosemary, basil, sage and thyme. Peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, eggplant, onions, tender grassfed beef or lamb. And the secret that thickened the sauce: liver puree. Yes, you heard right. LIVER. I finally found the perfect way to disguise liver. Puree it with water, okra, fresh parsley, tomatoes, celery and onions and use it as the base for your stew. Undetectable (I swear) and oh so rich and savory.
A few posts back, I wrote about liver and why it's important to get at least 4 oz a week. I was still searching for solutions to my liver dilemma in that post. My dirty rice recipe I came up with to disguise liver was good, but nowhere near as amazing as this recipe.
It's important to find grassfed organic liver. The liver processes toxins and you don't want to be eating a sick, toxic liver from a commercially-raised cow that has been eating grains that are toxic to its health. For beef liver, I can go down the road to the farmstand of our local grassfed beef purveyor who I know on a first name basis, and I can pull a pound of liver out of his freezer and leave my $3.50 in the jar (they still go on the honor system there). That'll do me a whole month at 4 oz a week. You can't do that. But...I know how you can order the best grassfed liver from a cattlewoman I know. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll put you in touch. Her cows are grass-fed and grass-finished. Primo stuff. She will ship it to you on dry ice.
If you need motivation to incorporate liver into your life, think about all that Vitamin A and Vitamin B-12 and iron and a host of other essential, healing, life-enhancing nutrition in such a small serving of relatively inexpensive grassfed beef. Did you know that liver is so nutrient rich, it can be dangerous if you eat too much of it. But four ounces a week is perfect.
You can get your 4 ounces in 2 bowls of this stew and never even notice you are eating liver. It makes 8 servings (large bowls) and 2 bowls weekly satisfies your essential liver needs, so if you freeze your leftovers (2 bowls worth in each freezer container), you will have enough for a month.
I started out making it with beef, then I realized I also needed to incorporate more lamb into my life. Lamb is the number one highest food source of the zinc most of us are deficient in other than oysters and lamb is much less toxic than oysters. It also has less saturated fat, more omega-3 and more CLA than beef. A 4 oz serving will give you almost 50% of your daily B-12 RDA and around 30% of your necessary selenium and niacin.
Livery (not) Lamb Stew (or Beef)
Ingredients for the puree that forms the basis for your sauce:
16 oz. grassfed sauteed beef liver
1 raw purple onion, quartered
2 organic roma tomatoes
2 stalks celery, cut in large pieces
1 cup raw parsley
1 cup chopped okra (frozen or fresh)
2 lbs. grassfed lamb (or beef), cut in chunks
4 large red potatoes quartered with skins
4 stalks celery, cut in chunks
2 large yellow onions quartered
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 large bell peppers (any color or mixed colors), chunked in large pieces
8 organic carrots unpeeled and WHOLE, not sliced
2-4 cups sliced mushrooms
1 small eggplant, chopped in small chunks
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (leave one sprig whole for each serving)
1 tbsp dried sage (or 2 tbsp fresh)
1 tbsp dried thyme (or 2 tbsp fresh)
Your favorite fresh, dried or pickled hot pepper to taste plus one whole small pepper for garnishing
1 cup bone broth (preferably homemade)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar or red wine
Two tbsp beef base (I like Organic Beef by Better Than Bouillion)
Salt and pepper to taste (black pepper and cayenne)
Put soup pot boiling with water with 2 tbsp of Better Than Bouillion Organic Beef Base.
Cut raw liver and lamb (or beef) into chunks and season meat strongly with your favorite seasoning for stew meat. I use salt, black pepper and cayenne, sometimes a little garlic powder and celery salt. Sautee chunks of lamb and beef liver in a black iron skillet on low to medium heat until well browned, deeply carmelized. (High heat cooking increases cancer-causing HCAs, so you'll have to cook the meat longer on a lower heat to get the browning normally obtained with high heat.)
Add chopped yellow onion to deglaze pan. When some of the onions are carmelized, add 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar or red wine. Pull out liver and set it aside to cool. Add mushrooms to meat and onions in black iron skillet. Add bone broth as needed until mushrooms are sauteed and have absorbed flavors fully.
Pour lamb/onion/mushroom mix (along with brown gravy) into boiling water in soup pot. Plan to slow boil for at least an hour, preferably two hours.
While soup pot is slow boiling, take your liver you set aside earlier, and cut it into chunks. Add it into a food processor, blender or Ninja, together with 1 cup water, raw okra, purple onions, roma tomatoes, parsley and celery. All raw. Pour pureed liver and veggie mix into boiling soup pot.
Continue boiling until the hour or two is up. Add water as needed to keep your stew at the right consistency as it boils down.
Add eggplant, herbs, carrots, celery, quartered onions and bell peppers. Boil until carrots are tender (30 minutes at least). I like leaving my carrots whole. It adds a rustic French country touch or something. It's unique and artsy and keeping them whole preserves their flavor more. It makes for a beautiful presentation to have a whole carrot placed diagonally in each bowl of stew. It also helps you keep track of your carrot servings (since they are a rather high carb vegetable).
At this point, taste the stew. Some of the seasoning from your strongly seasoned meat will have dispersed in the stew, but you may need to add more. Salt, pepper, herbs - get it to where you like it.
It's possible you may not have browned your meat and onions enough, and your stew may not be brown enough for you. Normally people make a roux (but I'm trying to stay away from wheat and gluten). It's so bad for you so please don't add roux to this healthy stew. If it's not brown enough, use an old trick my mother taught me. Put two tablespoons of sugar in that black iron pot and cook it until it carmelizes then turns almost black. It won't taste like sugar anymore, and that almost black liquid will add depth to the color of your stew. It will be such a negligible amount of sugar in such a large stew. I don't know which is worse - roux, chemicalized Kitchen Bouquet or sugar. I've also heard you can brown tomato paste in the oven and it will serve as a homemade browning agent, but I've never tried that. If you try it, let me know how it turns out. It sounds like the healthiest option.
Add potatoes. Boil for another 15-30 minutes until potatoes are tender.
Remove bay leaves and serve with sprig of fresh rosemary in each bowl and a small hot pepper (optional). Two bowls will supply your week's worth of required liver intake.
Please comment below on whether or not you could taste the liver. I really want to hear back from you on this one.