I mentioned before how much of a superfood liver is and how little of it we have been consuming. It was time to grin and bear it, however, given the health-promoting properties of the offal.
By using some of the tips provided by you in the comments and through my own research I came up with a simple, familiar recipe that my family actually liked. And from here on out I will be preparing liver using these guidelines.
1. Soak It In Acidic Water
I read this in several places, including Nourishing Traditions. One of the toughest (pun intended) things to get past about liver is the texture, which is much more dense than meat. The acidity seems to break down the liver and make it more palatable.
To Do: Simply place your cut up liver in a bowl, barely cover with water and add the juice of a lemon or a tablespoon or two of vinegar. Soak for a few hours before cooking, drain and pat dry.
2. Do Not Overcook It.
In fact err on the side of just undercooked. Even though the lemon juice makes the liver a bit more tender, overcooking can really ruin it. I cooked mine until it just had a hint of pinkness left, and then removed it from the heat.
To Do: Cut the liver in thin strips and fry only a few minutes on each side. It should be a touch pink inside when you remove it from the heat. The residual heat of the pan will finish the job for you.
3. Use A Lot of Cooking Fat.
Fat carries flavors, which is why it makes things taste so good. It is also good for you, in case you’re worried about that. I recommend an animal fat like bacon drippings, lard, tallow, an unflavored coconut oil.
To Do: Use somewhere between 1/3 to 1/2 cup of fat per pound of liver + flavorings.
4. Cook It With Lots of Flavorful Ingredients.
Liver has a distinct and strong flavor that is tough for some to get over. Cooking it with pungent foods really tones down the "liverness" of the dish.
To Do: I believe onions and garlic are almost a necessity when cooking liver. Also try bacon, chilies, and aromatic herbs like thyme or sage.
5. When All Else Fails, Pass the Ketchup.
I grew up eating liver with ketchup, so I had some at the ready. The strong sweet-sour flavor really tames the liver flavor.
To Do: Try to avoid high fructose corn syrup by buying organic. Or make your own. Add enzymes with a lacto-fermented ketchup. Sugar-free barbecue sauce is another great option.
I used the above guidelines to cook beef liver last week and my husband asked for seconds. In times past he either choked it down or took a bite and said no thanks. It was a big moment in the nourishing days home.
And did I mention he ate the leftovers cold for lunch the next day?
Tomorrow I will share my recipe for beef liver that my husband really liked. And this week we are moving on to experimenting with chicken liver pate.