“This looks good,” commented my son Timothy, helping himself to the platter of liver and onions in front of him. “Does anybody else want some of this cow’s poison removal organ?”
Amalia and little Mack both froze, and they turned toward Timothy and the platter of liver and onions in front of him. He smiled slyly at them. They turned away.
“No, thank you, I’m not very hungry,” said Malachi, helping himself to an enormous pile of rice from another bowl.
“I ate too many snacks this afternoon,” mumbled my daughter, picking at her salad. “I think I’ll just have salad, Mom.”
Darn you, high school biology! I fumed, as I gave my son a dirty look. He and I had had this debate for years: is liver actually packed full of nutrients and good for you (as I believed), or an organ meat to be avoided (his argument, although it must be noted that he does eat large portions of it whenever it is offered to him, after all that)? I knew I was on the winning side, as I had done enough research to know that the healthy aspects of eating liver far outweighed any potential unhealthy aspects, but Timothy enjoyed engaging me in this silly debate every time I fixed liver for dinner. It didn’t stop him from eating it, mind you, but he did enjoy arguing about it with Mom.
Why does everybody like to argue with Mom, I ask? I have no answer for that.
“Did you know that the FDA checks liver more often than it does any other meat?” I asked my son.
“There’s a good reason for that, Mom. A good reason, since all the toxins and poisons and chemicals that the cow comes into contact with go right through this organ here.” He took a big bite of liver, and smiled at me.
I narrowed my eyes at my son. We had had this argument many times before, but it was all in fun.
Liver has so many good things going for it–it just makes me blanch when I think of the fact that my own butcher throws out most of the liver he gets in, because people just don’t buy it!
Here are the facts: liver is:
- low in calories
- low in fat
- packed with nutrients, including riboflavin, copper, vitamins A and B12 and B6, thiamin, protein and iron
- really delicious if prepared correctly
While it’s true that the liver neutralizes toxins from the body, it does not store them. (Timothy, perhaps, did you skip that vital paragraph in your biology text?) The toxins that the body cannot eliminate, in fact, tend to accumulate in the body’s fatty tissues and nervous systems. I generally do not eat the fatty tissues or the nervous system of the cow, do you, Timothy?
Didn’t think so.
(By the way, did I mention that this post is dedicated to my dear smart-aleck son Timothy? No? Well, it is. So you have to read it, dear son-o-mine.)
On the other hand, liver is the storage organ for many important nutrients (vitamins A, D, E, K, B12 and folic acid, as well as many minerals). Ironically (and please point this out to your child who may try to use the same argument with you) these nutrients provide your body with some of the tools it need to get rid of toxins.
So there, Timothy.
But enough about how wonderful it is, you may say. How can I prepare it so my family will enjoy it, and get all these lovely nutrients into their bodies? There’s this . . . thing . . .about liver. Everybody turns up their noses at it . . . what’s that about?
My mom knew, years (and years and years) ago, how nutritious liver was, and she made it for us all the time. We grew up eating liver and onions, and we never knew that it was something that we shouldn’t like. But then, Mom has always had this uncanny ability to make common things utterly delicious, and her liver and onions was no exception. We probably ate it with as much gusto as we ate steak, or hamburgers.
Guess what. I have Mom’s recipe here. Yep. I do. Just for you, Gentle Readers. ‘Cause I love ya. And as you know–love is powerful stuff.
Mom’s recipe is quick, easy, and will take the sometimes-too-strong or bitter taste away from liver, so your family will enjoy this nutritious meat. You have to plan a little in advance, because of the secret that makes it so delicious, but it’ll be worth your efforts, I promise!
- 2 pounds liver, sliced thin
- 1½ cups of milk, or more, enough to cover
- 2 large onions, sliced into rings (preferably sweet or Vidalia onions)
- ¼ cup butter, divided (add more if necessary--don't skimp on the butter!)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, with salt and pepper added, or more as needed
- First Secret you must know: An hour or two before dinner, place liver in a shallow bowl (or a ziplock bag) and cover with milk and refrigerate. Let soak as long as possible. This will remove much of the bitter taste from the meat.
- Melt a couple of tablespoons of butter in a heavy skillet (I use cast-iron) and saute onion rings slowly until they are translucent and a bit carmelized, on medium-low heat, about 10-15 minutes.
- While the onions are cooking, cut the liver into strips and dredge them in the flour/salt/pepper mixture one by one.
- When soft and translucent, move the onions from the skillet and set aside.
- Melt the rest of the butter.
- Saute the liver in the melted butter slowly, turning once. Second Secret: Do not overcook! My family likes liver with just a hint of pink inside, and it takes only a few minutes to cook it to this point.
- When all the liver is cooked, reduce heat, add the onions back to the skillet, and heat through. Arrange on platter and serve.
Now you have the recipe. And the secrets. Go. Go, brave stalwart soul, and prepare liver.
And eat it. It’ll do your body good.
By the way . . . need anything from Amazon? Remember if you order it from clicking through my blog links, I’ll receive a teensy commission, which I’ll plow back into maintaining my blog and sharing handy-dandy posts like the one you just read . . . so it’s a win/win, baby, and THANK YOU SINCERELY!! 🙂
Are you still here? Well! Before you go away, could I ask you a favor? If you enjoyed this post, and/or learned something new whilst reading it, would you do my the greatest honor of sharing it? Pin it, share it to Facebook, tweet away, whatever you like: and thank you. I’ll love ya forever.
And remember . . . love is powerful stuff, baby.
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