Recently liver looked good to me. That meant a lot to me, because I can eat most any organ meat, but liver is a glaring exception. What it told me was that perhaps my lethargy, coffee excesses, and saurkraut cravings were a cry for help from my body that organ meats could answer. Especially if liver looked desirable.
Our elders knew a vitamin pack when they saw it. It generally looked like a heart, kidney, liver, spleen, or similar organ. The organ meats are the most nutrient dense morsels an animal has to offer us. Especially in a pastured, grass-fed animal, they are full of fat soluble vitamins A, D, and E as well as essential fatty acids and lots of macro nutrients and trace minerals. It’s no mistake that many whole food supplements contain animal organs. Organs are part of the gift of life that animals offer us. (Read more about it: “The Liver Files“)
Sometimes I sneak organ meats in on my family—like grinding hearts and gizzards into the burger or sausage, or finely chopping them and adding them to burger or soup as it’s cooking. Liver is a little trickier because of it’s stronger flavor and definitive texture. I learned an effective trick, though: soak the liver for at least ½ an hour, up to several hours, in milk or salt water. That helps draw the blood out and mellows the flavor.
It is important to get organs from healthy, pasture raised animals. Since you want the most nutrition possible you want animals that have had variety in their diets, sunshine on their backs, and limited or no exposure to chemicals and pharmaceuticals.
(photo courtesy of Pinterest)
Today I’m putting a package of gizzards in the roasting pan with the chickens for dinner. They’ll be nice and tender when the chicken’s done. Then I’ll dice some hearts, soaked livers, and the gizzards and melt some smoked lardo in a frying pan. The key to good organ meats (in my opinion) is lots of onion, garlic, and various spices. So, I sauté the onion and garlic, then add the organs (whatever combination it is for that day—sometimes just hearts, sometimes all three) and any herbs that sound good. Herbs are an easy way to weave more variety into your diet, so play with your palate and try some variety. Easy basics are parsley, thyme, marjoram, and sage. Corriander, curry, and mace all add very distinct flavors. If I have hearts or gizzards or kidneys in the meat, I fry them till a bit crispy. Enjoy as is, or with your favorite condiment (like sauerkraut, but that’s a story for another day).
It’s got me looking forward to processing chickens, even. Not because that’s a fun job, but because we can enjoy a fresh supply of “vitamins.” Let us know if you want to try some, too!