• How I Learned to Eat Liver (and Stopped Gagging On It)

    How I Learned to Eat Liver | stupideasypaleo.comDear Liver,

    I’ve really tried to like eating you. After all, you’re a superfood. Even Chris Kresser called you “Nature’s Most Potent Superfood.” I mean, how can I argue with that?! That’s like someone offering to give me the “World’s Best Car” to drive and me saying, “Yeah, thanks but I’ve got my Corolla. I’m good.” 

    You’re full of a veritable alphabet of vitamins and contrary to popular belief (this is the reason I avoided you for so long), you don’t store toxins even though your role is to filter them out of the blood. Folks sing your praises: How much they love liverwurst or fried chicken livers (Mel Joulwan‘s recipe in Well Fed 2 was the closest to liking the taste I’ve ever experienced) or sneaking it into meatballs. (I even have a recipe for those here.)

    But still. No matter how you’re cloaked or hidden, I can always taste you, and it triggers my gag reflex if I chew too much or really think about it. You’re dank and muddy and too strong for me. I thought all was lost. And then, I found a way.

    Let’s be friends,

    Steph

    So, how did I finally learn to eat liver without the torment? I stumbled across a this post for frozen raw liver “pills” from Primally Inspired and knew I had to do it. If I wasn’t going to eat cooked liver, I had to make this happen. Yes, pre-encapsulated, dehydrated liver pills exist but honestly, they’re a bit outside my budget. (I’ll let you know when my first diamond helicopter arrives at Stupid Easy Paleo Headquarters!) Kelly’s method is friendly on my wallet: The raw liver cost me about $3. Just be sure your source is from grass-fed, free range, and / or high quality animals. Even better? I prepped 250 grams (8 ounces) worth of “pills” in about 7 minutes. Done and done.

    If you’re a bit more adventurous and want to hide liver in your favorite recipes, check out this post from Thank Your Body.

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    How I Learned to Eat Liver | stupideasypaleo.com

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    What are your thoughts on liver? Let me know in the comments below.

     

    Steph Gaudreau is a certified holistic nutrition practitioner, weightlifting and mindset coach, and the author of the best-selling Performance Paleo Cookbook. Her recipes and expert advice have been featured in SELF, Outside Magazine, Elle, and Greatist. Steph loves barbells, cats, and anything Lord of the Rings. She lives in San Diego, CA.

    43 thoughts on “How I Learned to Eat Liver (and Stopped Gagging On It)

    1. I am in the minority; I love the metallic taste of liver (however the texture is very off putting).
      I learned to eat if very young; cooked with bacon fat and nearly caramelized onions.
      Most people cook it way too long.
      I just wish liver was on my grocery delivery service’s shopping list.

      – Susan in Seattle

    2. Well, Steph, I don’t mean to tooth my own horn, but I think you should definitely consider giving my liver pâté recipe a shot. Seriously, it’s so creamy and silky, and the addition of apples really helps in masking the flavor of the liver. For real, I loved this so much, I would look forward to getting up in the morning when I knew this was on the menu for breakfast. It’s really at it’s best with wedges of fresh apple.

      Seriously, try it and tell me what you think. It might very well convert you for good! 😀

      Then we’ll work on beef liver! 😉

    3. Does eating it in the pills help any with the smell on you? I love liver, but my boyfriend doesn’t want me to eat it, because he can smell it on me for the next two days. He says I smell like iron. He’s a supertaster with a supersniffer so I can’t really says he’s full of it. I soak mine in milk or lemon juice for two hours, but maybe I need to try longer.

      1. I have a VERY sensitive sense of smell and I can’t smell it at all. I’m only eating a few of the “pills” a day so in that quantity, I don’t think it has much of a smell.

    4. I think the frozen pills is brilliant. I found a good recipe for liverwurst and made a batch, but it’s not nearly as easy as the pills. I still get squeamish with liverwurst, so the non-reaction from the pills is welcome. Thanks for sharing the idea! I’ve been taking the pills for 2 days now and haven’t seen any changes, but I’ll give it some time. I want what she’s talking about!

      1. Thanks Wendy! When I read it and gave it a try, I was so thankful! I’ve eaten fried chicken livers and they were okay but I had to eat them when they were really hot and basically chew them so fast that I couldn’t taste it.

    5. Hi Steph. Nice blog!
      When liver is cooked correctly it is sublime. Cook it too long and it is disgusting. I walked out of a restaurant that served me overcooked liver last year in Greece. Be delicate. Show it some love and attention.
      Here’s how I do mine:
      Slice your liver into 1 – 1.5cm “fillets” and slice up some thick onion rings.
      Heat up a frying pan to very hot, throw in a good chunk of butter and turn the heat down to about half way. Place your liver in the pan and shake it around a while. Do NOT turn. After a couple of minutes add your onion rings.
      Leave the liver to fry on just one side. When you can see that it’s getting cooked through lift it up with a pair of tongues and check the cooked side. It should look like a well-done steak.
      Now the crucial part. Turn it over and fry for 10 seconds. NO MORE.
      Serve with the fried onions and some real Dijon mustard. No other will do!
      Your liver will be ever so faintly pink in the very middle and very juicy.
      Believe me. You will never feel the same about liver after this. I made it for my mother-in-law and for the first time I can remember, she was silent.
      😉
      Btw, you can also do heart and kidneys like this. Any animal.

    6. My Mum and Gran used to cook liver often and i love it. They always cooked it in slices (thick enough so it colours on the outside but stays pinkish on the inside), always with butter and caramelised onions, sometimes with bacon, sometimes tomatoes. i haven’t cooked it for years (commercial farming and organs make me nervy) but you’ve inspired me to seek out organic liver – thanks for the reminder!

    7. Sorry, but I don’t like pills unless I am very sick. My husband always complains that I don’t take my vitamins, but I am all about eating and cooking from scratch. I grew up eating liver, and I love it!! After I rinse the stakes, I put them on a container, salt, pepper them, add minced garlic and some vinegar, let them seat on the fridge for an hour or so. I then fry onions and slices of tomatoes, salt pepper,minced cilantro. Now fry the liver, and put the onions mix on top. I eat it with mustard, white rice and fries. I am lucky enough that my hubby loves it, and ask for this all the time ( and he is white ;). ) I have a couple more recipes, but don’t want to take all the space. Good luck!! 🙂

      1. Hi Lotena…thanks for the great ideas! Just to clarify…these aren’t actually pills. They’re just small pieces of frozen liver 🙂

    8. I am totally stoked to try this! however… can you provide a bit more clarification around the process of cutting the frozen liver into such a small size? I feel that i’m sometimes putting my hands in jeopardy when handling a sharp knife and anything frozen that needs to be cut into small pieces!! do you butterfly/halve the liver first and then cut into small pieces? or just initially cut into chunks and then smaller pieces? i may be getting a little overly technical about the process but to ensure the proper amount is prepared/ingested, i’d like to be totally sure…. thanks 🙂

      1. You don’t want to have the liver frozen solid…only enough to keep if from mushing when you try to cut it. So I made thin strips, then cut those in half and then made the pills.

    9. Wow!! Thanks so much, We purchased a grass fd cow a fe months ago and I knew I needed to use the liver but fouldn’t stand the thought of it. This will be perfect for me!!!!

    10. I don’t know if I could make the leap to beef liver, but every week I get an organic chicken and I make a tiny batch of pate with the liver and heart if they are in the bag. I sauté chopped bacon and half an onion in butter (in a small omelet pan), then I add the liver/heart cut into a few pieces. After they are no longer pink, I add about 1-2Tbsp Sherry and then I put it in a little food chopper. Sometimes I add a bit of cold butter while I blend it. I still have not gotten my husband to try it, but my 5yo daughter adores it. My 4yo son did not like it at first but a few weeks later tried it again and now seems to like it. I spread it on plantain chips. I find the small dose is perfect- it is like a delicacy in small bits, but if you eat a lot the liver taste starts to accumulate in your mouth. Once I added an egg after seeing a primal pate recipe- the egg makes it more mild, but it was actually TOO mild for us and basically tasted boring!

    11. Steph, thanks for your awesome blog, why couldn’t I have had a science teacher as cool as you back in the day?!
      Thanks for the idea of liver pills! I’ve got a bunch of organs waiting in my freezer from a grassfed beef we had butchered, and I haven’t had the guts to try any of the recipes I’d previously printed off, but just made liver pills- totally my style!
      We mostly eat wild animals here, so I’m assuming I could do the same with liver from antelope, deer, etc? Is it just liver, or do you think I could do the same with other organs and reap the same benefits?
      Thanks again!

    12. Loved this post… I blended my liver, poured it on a flat baking tray and froze it to make it easier to slice. Only thing that I can say is that it took me waaaaay longer than 7 minutes to prep – actually took just over 2 weeks (lol) since I had to wait out the recommended 14 days of freezing after blending it. But other than that, it was simple enough. Today’s the first day that I have had the liver pills (so far only with one meal) and I’m impressed… no gagging, no smell, no taste! Yeah!
      Normally I turn my nose up at liver and wouldn’t put it in my mouth even with a gun to my head. So, thanks for posting this. You really saved me and my family a lot of stress. xoxo

    13. I just got the liver from the store frozen , put into a glass pie pan to defrost cooked up some onions & mushrooms in butter, in the same pan I took all the fore mentioned out of the pan turned on the gas to high heat placed 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter in it ,sizzles melts quickly drop in the liver ,take a fork and as soon as it changes color to brown from it’s original color flip it, and turn down to a simmer the heat, put in the gravy mushrooms & onions let simmer 20 seconds only serve while hot so tender it can be cut with a fork.
      I have never cooked liver in my life and I’m 73 I usually eat liver and onions at a restaurant because my wife won’t eat it. today it was delicious and very good highly recommend liver for anyone no bad taste or odor.

    14. I don’t mind pate or liverwurst. I don’t bother with either now really. But fried liver… There aren’t enuff awfull words in the dictionary to describe it! It reeks, it tastes God awfull and that texture!! Meat is not supposed to be creamy/wet chalky. Ugh. I don’t care how good it is for you. There are more worthwhile superfoods out there.
      Ick ick uber ick!
      Btw, I’m not a picky eater. I love everything, even durian fruit. Just can’t abide liver.

    15. I hated liver… then when I was 18 I worked waitressing in an Italian Restaurant. Our new chef cooked liver.. I don’t know what she did but it was coated with breading and sat in the steam table for a good long time before she served it. She talked me into having some for lunch.. and I went back for seconds. Wish I knew how she did it, it was so good. No metallic taste at all. I would love to have that recipe.

    16. So, went to Whole Foods, and there was my lovely slice of grass fed organ, already frozen, so I had a shorter “quarantine” period.
      I’m pretty good with pills, and can take multiple at a time, thanks Mom, for not getting the chewables when I was a kid…so I cut fairly large “pills”, about the size of a pinky finger nail, trimmed…and started taking three a day, morning, pre-workout and right before bed…this way, they are evenly spaced in time, not sure if that matters…but mehhhhh.
      I don’t burp them, like with a fish oil or similar supplement, and with them being frozen, no taste/odor. Great idea, and I’m not gonna lie, while I was cutting the liver, I quoted Silence of the Lambs the whole time and felt tempted to pour a glass of Noir…my boyfriend watched a movie trying to distract himself from my therapy, but said he’s glad I’m not eating legumes, or else he’d be terrified for his safety…
      But really, great tip and thanks for the nerding out!

    17. I’m very anemic and refuse to get a blood transfusion. I am aware liver is excellent for when suffering with anemia. I cooked beef liver with onions just like my dad used to but I feel I’m about to gag because the taste is just too strong.

      1. You can also find dehyrdated liver capsules that come in pill form. Sometimes I take those. Can’t even taste it. Here’s a link to the ones I get: http://amzn.to/1QdTEst. The taste of cooked liver is too strong for me to eat, too, so I know how frustrating that can be.

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