How to Make Chicken Liver Taste Good
As fans of the nose-to-tail food movement ourselves, we know there are lots of our customers who have seen chicken livers advertised for sale on Pasturebird and done a little happy dance. The nose-to-tail/zero waste food movement not only incorporates lesser known parts of animals into dishes to decrease food waste and increase nutritional value, but it also incorporates organ meats such as chicken livers, which are absolutely chock full of vitamins and nutrients. So, we’re thrilled to be able to offer this nutritional powerhouse to our customers, and we know lots of our customers are excited to have access to a supply of pasture raised chicken livers.
We also know that there are some of you who make a face every time you see the words “chicken liver” and can’t figure out why anyone would voluntarily consume such cuisine, no matter how healthy it is. Friends, we dedicate this blog post to you. We get it - not everyone is going to be chomping at the bit to try chicken liver, and some of you may have even tried it before and are basing your bleh on experience. Most people either love liver or hate it, but we’re convinced there can be a middle ground! If you’re not a fan or have had a less-than-delicious experience with chicken liver in the past, we urge you to give chicken liver one more try, because it really is one of the healthiest foods you can consume, especially when sourced from pasture-raised chickens. We’re going to give you some tips for preparing chicken liver properly, as well as some tricks for hiding it in other foods if you really can’t get behind making it the main focus of a meal.
Something to remember when you think of adding chicken liver to your diet - a little goes a long way. You don’t need to eat it often to reap the nutritional rewards; in fact, liver is so nutritionally dense that it’s actually recommended that you consume liver only about once a week.
Follow these tips before cooking chicken liver
Like any other meat, there are a few pre-cooking prep steps that you can take to get the best flavor. When cooking most meat, you tend to want to maximize the flavor. In the case of chicken liver, the flavor is already quite strong, and these tips help to mellow it out for the best overall taste.
- Soak liver in milk for 1-2 hours before cooking. If you follow a strict paleo diet, you can use coconut milk instead of dairy milk; you’ll get the same benefit of mellowing out the flavor. Buttermilk is also a great option!
Here are a couple of our favorite paleo liver recipes, to give you some inspiration
It can be difficult to know exactly how to prepare liver. Pretty much everyone has heard of liver and onions, or liver pate, but if you’re not a huge fan of liver or haven’t yet been converted, you’re probably not aware of all of the different ways liver can be prepared to make chicken liver taste good! Some of the recipes below call for beef liver, but we find that chicken liver is interchangeable; in fact, the taste of chicken liver isn’t quite as strong as beef liver, so you may find that the substitution makes these recipes even more palatable.
Bacon, Mushroom and Apricot Liver
This recipe from The Healthy Foodie calls for beef liver, but pasture raised chicken liver is just as delicious. These flavors meld so well together we’d wager that even liver naysayers will enjoy it!
For the liver:
About 1.5 cups liver, rinsed, patted dry and cut into large slices
2 tsp arrowroot flour
1 tbsp cacao powder
¼ tsp cinnamon
Pinch ground clove
Pinch Chinese 5 spice powder
¼ tsp Himalayan or unrefined sea salt
¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
For the other ingredients:
4 slices pastured, sugar free bacon, cut crosswise into ½" pieces
1 large onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 oz. mushrooms (about ½ pound), sliced
8 dried apricots, chopped
¼ tsp Himalayan or unrefined sea salt
½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 cups water
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Combine arrowroot flour, cacao powder, spices, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk until fully combined and set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium, and add the chopped bacon, cooking until crispy but taking care not to scorch the edges. Remove the bacon and set aside, leaving about a tablespoon in the pan but saving the rest in a small bowl.
Cook the onions in the bacon fat until soft and caramelized. Add the garlic, apricots, mushrooms, salt, black pepper and oregano and cook until the mushrooms are soft and tender, about 5 minutes. Add these ingredients to the reserved bacon.
Next, crank the skillet heat to medium-high, and add your reserved bacon fat.
Dredge the liver slices in your arrowroot/cacao mixture, coating well but making sure to shake to remove the excess. Sear the liver on each side until they are dark brown and crispy (about 30 seconds per side - remember, liver cooks quicker than you think!)
After the liver has been seared, add the onions, mushrooms, apricots and bacon back to the skillet, plus one cup of water and the balsamic vinegar and give everything a quick stir. Bring to a simmer, stir in the other cup of water slowly, and turn the heat down to medium low and let the meat finish cooking, which will take about 5 minutes.
The original recipe suggests serving this with mashed sweet potatoes and mixed greens, and we agree - the combination of flavors is healthy, wholesome, and delicious.
Raspberry Liver Chili
Chili or spaghetti sauce is a great way to sneak liver into other foods so that the flavor melds together and is virtually unnoticeable, but you still reap the health benefits of liver.
We love this Raspberry Liver Chili from Paleo Flourish. It’s chock full of healthy, wholesome ingredients, and bonus - it can be made in the slow cooker! While the recipe calls for ground liver, chopped liver works just as well. Just make sure to dice it finely if you’re trying to pull one over on someone in your house and you don’t want them to detect the liver (parents, I’m looking at you.)
3 lb grassfed ground beef
1 lb ground liver
3 cans (14.5oz) diced tomatoes
2 cans (6oz) tomato paste
1 lb raspberries
2 orange bell peppers, diced
2 chili peppers, deseeded and diced
2 Italian squash, diced,
3 cloves garlic, minced (or use 2 tablespoons garlic powder)
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
Place all ingredients in your slow cooker. Mix well, and cook on low for 8 hours, stirring halfway through if possible. Add salt to taste.
If you try these recipes, we hope you’ll provide your feedback in the comments. And if you’re a tried and true fan of chicken liver already, we hope you’ll share your own favorite recipes!