Day 25 is Not-So-Awful Offal from Nourished Kitchen.
I've threatened, I've warned and now the time has come. Today we're going to talk about offal and why it was considered a sacred food among traditional societies and why it deserves an essential place on your menus. No ... don't close the email in disgust just yet. Hear me out.
If you cringe at the thought of liver and onions or steak and kidney pie, you're not alone. I still shudder a touch at the thought of preparing organ meats - though I fully appreciate their nutritive value. My freezer holds a bag filled with odds and ends: elk, beef, bison and chicken livers, a lamb heart and even a kidney or two. And as much as these foods still make me cringe a bit, they're really worth a good solid examination of their nutritive value.
While muscle meat offer plenty of protein, some wholesome fat and a decent profile of micronutrients, it's the organ meats that represent the truly best sources of many vitamins and minerals. Indeed, liver in particular is one of the most nutrient-dense foods available: a 100-gram portion of lamb liver contains more than twice the amount of folate and more than two-and-half times the amount vitamin A as a 100-gram portion of raw spinach. It is a potent food that is brimming with nutrients.
Including a small amount of liver or other organ meat into your diet once or twice a week, can go a long, far way in ensuring that you maximize your intake of vitamins and minerals, particularly folate and vitamin A which are critical to reproductive function and proper fetal development. Indeed, inadequate maternal folate and vitamin A intake are linked to birth defects.
Traditionally, our ancestors practiced nose-to-tail eating; that is, no part of the animal was left unused or wasted. Bones, as we learned yesterday, became mineral- and collagen-rich broth, muscle meat was consumed, but organ meats were treasured; afterall, they're vital foods.
Preparing Organ Meats. Organ meats can always use a good soaking overnight to improve their flavor. When I prepare them in our kitchen, I soak them in milk or buttermilk in the fridge for up to one day to improve their flavor.
If eating a plate full of liver and onions is unappealing, consider blending up to 1/4 pound liver to 1 lb of ground meat in strongly flavored dishes like bolognese sauce or a well-seasoned meatloaf. Or try chicken livers first, which are small and mildly flavored compared to beef, lamb or pork liver.
When you eat liver or other organ meats, take great care to make sure they're from grass-finished or pasture-raised animals.
Today's assignment is to acquire a source of pasture-raised or grass-finished liver (or other organ meat) and prepare it at home. In time, you'll learn to love these nourishing, nutrient-dense foods.
Day #25 Check List:
Prepare some liver at home. If this is your first time preparing organ meat at home, try a mildly flavored recipe or a recipe that may disguise the flavor slightly until you become better accustomed to this wholesome, nutrient-dense food.
This is some good reading. Check up on the benefits of broths, stocks and soups.
Love and light,