A story of fertility and liver loaf…
When we ordered our side of beef from a local farmer, the butcher asked me if I would like the tongue, heart, or liver? As gross as it sounded initially, I know of the many health benefits of eating organ meats, so I said “definitely the liver, and whatever else you’ve got–I’ll be creative.” So, for 6 months I have had 5 packs of liver in my freezer, now, either this cow had a HUGE liver, or she gave me the liver from 5 different cattle. Either way, I was grateful, although intimidated by the thought of eating liver. The times I’ve had it in the past it was well-done, covered in gravy, and served overtop rice, and it was tasty, but it had a texture that only those who have tried liver can imagine. As we get down to the end of our supply of organic, grass-fed beef, those packages of liver have become more and more visible, looking at me from inside the freezer. It’s not that I didnt’ want to eat them, I just didn’t know how to cook them.
Because everyone I know either just had a baby, is having a baby, or is trying to have a baby, I’ve got baby on the brain, I’ve recently had a newfound interest in the benefits liver has to offer . Although we’re not there yet, I thought many of my friends would be interested in knowing a little bit about “fertility foods.” Conventional wisdom doesn’t put a lot of stress on the importance of diet in regards to fertility. Oh contraire. Diet plays a significant role in a men and women’s ability to conceive. In many civilizations, when people are first married they are given certain foods that are known to increase fertility and overall health of young mothers, among these foods is the liver of pastured animals. (Weston A. Price) Liver is a rich source of folate, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin A, it is an extremely nutrient-dense food. Vitamin A or folate (folic acid), is imperative in the development of the brain, skull, and spinal cord. Also, serious birth defects such as neural tube defects are less likely to occur when womenconsumes0.4 mg of folic acid daily. (Wiki) A 1/2 c. portion of chicken livers has 6 times as much folate as 1/2 c. of spinach, a food that is known for it’s folic acid content.
Many breakfast cereals and white breads are fortified with folic acid, because without fortification they wouldn’t have any other nutritional value, you’d be much better off getting it from a whole food source such as:
- Chicken liver
- Beef liver
- brussel sprouts
We had another snow day last week, so I spent part of the morning searching for inspiration on the Food Network site, trying to find new ideas for the beef roasts and pork chops that line our freezer shelves. I didn’t have all of the ingredients for a single recipe on the site, not one, my fridge is packed from floor to ceiling, I have a bajillion different spices, every kind of meat imaginable and I didn’t have the ingredients to make a single recipe! Because I have been trying to get better at following recipes ( I don’t know why, it just seems like any normal human being should be able to follow a recipe and I find it impossible), I got out my Rodale Cook, published in 1973 it was a gift from my Grandmother at my bridal shower, she gave me lots of old cookbooks that I have cherished and try to use regularly. Anyway, I flip to the page on beef liver and what do you know, I have all of the ingredients to make nearly every liver recipe. Fancy that. Is it fate, or is it folate?
I decided to make liver loaf, it seemed very simple and I’ll be honest, I was VERY excited. The recipe didn’t call for very many ingredients, but just out of Laureness, I had to substitute something. Although I probably had dried sage, but I had fresh rosemary in the fridge that I’ve been wanting to use up. Oh yeah, and I added garlic, it just seemed like a sin to use onions without garlic. And I used almond meal instead of wheat germ…so I guess 3 substitutions/additions in a 7 ingredient list isn’t exactly following the recipe, but it was much closer than any of those Food Network recipes would have been.
- 1 pound liver (I used beef, she didn’t specify which kind, just not human)
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 5 slices bacon, crispy
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 2 eggs, whisked
- 2 T. fresh rosemary (or 2 tsp. dried sage)
- 1/2 c. almond meal (she called for wheat germ, but I do not own that)
1. She said to take the first 6 ingredients and “force them through a meat grinder”–in the absence of a meat grinder (gotta add that to the Christmas list) I used my food processor. In fear of the liver loaf, my food processor took a dive out of my hands onto the hard, ceramic tile in my kitchen, plastic pieces and profanity flew everywhere, and all I could think was “:(how am I going to make liver loaf??” But, the food processor worked like a charm–who needed all those little plastic pieces, anyway?
2. After pulsing the food processor until everything was blended, without being minced, I stirred in the eggs, rosemary, and almond meal to make a pretty ‘meat-loafy’ mixture.
3. I placed the mixture into a buttered loaf pan, and set it in the preheated oven at 350 degrees for an hour and 15 minutes.
Just as Nancy Albright said, I served it with ketchup. It was very good, I won’t lie, it did taste very much like liver, but it was good. The greatest part was that it didn’t have the normal consistency of liver, which was a plus. I think the next time I will mix some ground beef or sausage into the mix to give it a more meaty consistency and take away some of that strong liver taste. If you are a liver lover, you will DEFINITELY like this recipe, if you are new to liver, use 1/2 pound of liver and 1/2 pound of ground beef/pork, if you are afraid of trying liver, you are not alone, but you need to get over it. 🙂
Next week: I will attack the tongue in my freezer. Get pumped.