I love eating liver, which is a good thing because it is so good for you. And not only that, it is cheap to buy. If you are struggling to make ends meet while eating paleo, definitely consider adding more organ meats to your diet. Liver, and especially chicken livers are really economical. I do recommend that you use pastured and/or organically reared chicken liver when possible.
Some people express concern about the possiblity of toxins in liver, and think that it is not a good idea to eat it because it is a detox organ. While this is true that the liver does remove toxins from the body, it simply breaks them down so that they can be excreted by other organs. The liver does not store any of these toxins and in a healthy animal is perfectly safe to eat.
Liver is one of the most nutrient dense foods you can buy. It is a good source of Thiamin, Zinc, Copper and Manganese, and a very good source of Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Iron, Phosphorus and Selenium. While liver is high in cholesterol, it has been shown that dietary cholesterol has very little bearing on blood cholesterol (1, 2, 3), and not only that, you actually NEED cholesterol to make a lot of the steroid hormones that your body relies on. Your brain also relies on cholesterol to function There have been studies that have shown that cholesterol is vital for memory. And if you don’t eat enough of it your body will simply make more.
One of my favourite ways to eat liver, especially in the case of chicken livers, is to make a pate.
Smooth, creamy and rich, this barely tastes like liver. And making it into a pate, paste or spread removes most of the “ick” factor that people have when faced with a hunk of liver. Instead of that hunk of what is obviously an internal organ, you have this rich, creamy spread. This is a good way to get kids to eat liver… my girls love dipping veggies in the creamy meatiness.
I know what you are thinking though…. Pate should be served on toast. And toast is not Paleo or AIP-friendly.
If you ate bread (even paleo bread), you could make toast and spread a generous amount of this pate onto it. But seriously, it is just as good with celery sticks, baby carrots and cucumber slices.
I will often spread it into the hollow center of a celery stick and make a savory version of “ants on a log”. YUM!
This makes a great appetizer or snack, but it could also be a quick lunch. And I have been known to eat it for breakfast as well! In this snack that I prepared for B, the radish slices take the place of crackers.
And if you don’t have chicken livers, you could use any other liver you can get your hands on. Calves liver makes a delicious pate, but even beef or pigs liver would work. The flavour would not be so delicate, but it would be very nutritious, and would still taste good.
Chicken Liver Pate
- 1½lb chicken livers (or any other liver you care to use), trimmed
- 1 shallot – chopped finely
- 2 cloves garlic – crushed
- 1 tsp dried sage
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- ⅓ cup bone broth
- Sea salt to taste
- pinch of ground cloves
- 3 tbsp coconut cream (the thick layer from the top of a can of coconut milk)
- ½ cup of good quality cooking fat (you can use anything that works with your diet – lard, tallow, coconut oil, bacon drippings, even ghee or butter as long as you are not sensitive to it)
Melt 2 tbsp of the cooking fat in a skillet and add the shallot and garlic. Cook over a low heat until softened. Add the sage, rosemary, thyme and bayleaf and continue cooking for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile trim your liver and if large pieces, cut into chunks.
Add the liver to the pan and cook, stirring until it is browned on the outside but still pink in the middle. Add the bone broth and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove the bay leaf.
Transfer the contents of the skillet to a food processor or blender. Add the coconut milk and remaining ingredients, including the leftover cooking fat.
Pulse until everything is smooth, creamy and evenly blended.
Pour into a serving dish and refrigerate until cold.
To serve, scoop out the amount required, and serve.
If you want to be able to turn the finished pate out and slice it, you will need to line a loaf tin with parchment paper before pouring in the pate.
This will keep for at least a week in the fridge.