Sunday, July 23, 2017

Liver? How to get recommended four ounces down (and no it's not another liver pate recipe).

Me and liver? It's just not going to happen in this lifetime. You neither?

I've consulted all the recipes...adding bacon to my liver and onions...deep-frying liver (which kind of defeats the healthy-eating purpose of eating it at all)...slathering it with a french cream and balsamic vinegar glaze (again, defeats the purpose). I love the smell of it cooking. I love the gravy and onions on top of grits (not that I should be eating corn grits anyway since grits mostly come from GMO corn).

I would just leave the idea of liver alone, but that nutrient profile is so alluring. 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. Liver is so nutrient rich, it can be dangerous if you eat too much of it. Stick to just four ounces and you'll be just ducky (but don't do foie gras from duck or goose livers because they fatten them horribly and they are not good for you or the goose or the gander).

Grassfed beef liver is the way to go. I can buy local, totally natural, grassfed liver for $3.50 a pound. That's less than a dollar a week to supply basically all my needs as far as grassfed beef goes. Everything else I eat from the butcher's freezer is just for pleasure and not essential. Great thinking, right? Except I can't get the four ounces down.

Four ounces, that's all we need to eat each week, and I can't stomach even an ounce of it. I even tried just nibbling it between my front teeth in tiny amounts, but it took forever to get an ounce down and it was still decidedly unpleasant to me. Liver pate? Forget it. No matter what seasonings you use, I can't swallow it.

But never forget that I'm Cajun, and I can make anything taste good. It's in my genes.

While I was nibbling and gagging at today's attempt at liver and onions (it was deep-fried, sliced thin, cooked with bacon and slathered with that cream and balsamic vinegar glaze), I suddenly remembered my momma's rice dressing or "dirty rice" from my Louisiana childhood. I could see my momma's face, laughing and shaking her head at me.

Momma would always remark on how I would gobble up that dirty rice without one complaint. It was no secret that it had all kinds of chicken livers and gizzards ground up in it. She couldn't understand why I would eat those livers--plus gizzards to boot--but not her prized calves liver and onions. I couldn't explain it. It just wasn't yucky in the same way.

That's when I decided I need to try mixing ground calves liver instead of chicken liver in a new Cajun dirty rice recipe.

So why not just eat rice dressing with chicken livers each week? Well, I can get grassfed calves liver a lot cheaper than pasture-raised organic chicken livers by the ounce, and beef liver has a much higher nutrient profile.

But there's another reason. I tend to think you have to be really careful with liver and make sure it doesn't come from a "toxic" animal.  To tell the truth, I don't trust that organic pasture-raised chicken in the grocery store is really organic and pasture-raised. So I'd have to buy lots of local chickens raised by people I know and take one liver from each to meet my weekly liver quota. It takes roughly 7 chicken livers. I can't eat 7 local chickens a week just to get the livers I need.

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. Or I can make a big pot of dirty rice and feed the whole family their week's worth of liver in a few servings. Dirty rice is a great side to just about any meal. It can even be a main course.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be working on the perfect recipe for Cajun "dirty rice" or rice dressing (whatever you happen to call it). Calves liver has a much stronger (repugnant) flavor than chicken liver, so it's going to take some doing to get it just right.

Keep coming back to the post until the perfect recipe has been added. I'll also notify you on my blog's Facebook page when the recipe is ready. If you haven't yet liked my Facebook page, go here and like the page and you'll get my Facebook post notifications:

I'm going to deliver a classic Cajun dirty rice recipe, but I'm also going to try a version of dirty rice that uses cauliflower instead of rice. I'm also going to make my momma's beloved eggplant-rice casserole using a mix of beef liver and ground beef.

Stay tuned, liver lovers. (Not!)

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