Liver Burgers

Okay. These sound gross, I’ll admit. And that’s not a good selling point at all. But, at least I’ve learned a thing or two since I was 5 years old and I no longer call a burger a “booger” (my parents thought it was quite funny, btw). So know that I have your attention… and managed to embarrass myself all in one fell swoop. Liver burgers. Yea. That’s right. It’s the super organ that everyone needs to eat and no one wants to eat. Auth Ethel’s liver and onions? No thank you. (And no, I don’t have an Aunt Ethel and apologize to anyone who does. I’m sure she’s lovely.) Pâté

? Well, I like it now. So that argument is moot. But I used to think it was nasty. 

(So this photo – it’s the only one I have of the burger and was taken on my super ancient iPhone 4s.)

Incorporating liver in your diet should be a necessity. Unfortunately in the United States, we view organ meats and sub-par. Why have organ meats, the most nutrient-dense of the whole animal, when you can have a nice flank steak? Don’t get me wrong, I love a good marinated flank steak as much as the next person… but it just doesn’t match up for the vitamin powerhouse that organ meats provides. In fact, according to an arcticle by Chris Kresser, organ meats contain 10 to 100 times the nutritional benefit than corresponding muscle meats. (He also has a nifty chart comparing the nutrition of liver against other foods.) Organ meats were once so prized in traditional cultures that they were given first to the pregnant and women of child-bearing years. Talk about a super prenatal! 

If you’re not ready to take the liver and onions plunge, and I’m there with ya so don’t worry, than hiding it in your muscle meat might be the way to go. I usually direct my clients with putting a ¼ lb of ground liver in with 1 lb grass-fed/organic/pasture-raised/etc ground beef. They look at me like I’m crazy. Or have a new growth growing out of my face and it suddenly appeared. Either way, it’s the easiest way to hide the flavor. Yes, it does taste slightly gamey. But it’s not bad. In fact, the flavor is like a mild venison. And who doesn’t love venison?! 

To grind the liver, thaw in cold water and blend in blender until it’s all broken up. Or, if you have a fancy meat grinder, you may use that. Cutting it on the cutting board also works but if you’re trying to hide it from a picky eater, the pieces might be too big. 

Liver Burgers

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ¼ lb ground liver (see above)
  • ½ tsp ground dried organic onion
  • ½ tsp ground dried organic garlic
  • pinch of sea salt and fresh cracked pepper

Cook as you would any burger. And top with your favorite toppings. Might I recommend my Fermented Ketchup

Tomato-Free “Tomato” Marinara

I told my fiance that I was making tomato marinara for dinner. His first reaction was that I wasn’t allowed to have tomatoes (they’re a nightshade and are off the list) and then he began reminding me that I was trying to get better (he’s been very very supportive during all of this – I’m one lucky lady).

I told him that it wasn’t tomatoes… it was beets and pumpkin puree.

I think I heard a pin drop.

He might have thought he’d seen a pig fly outside.

And then he shrugged his shoulders and said, “You’re a good cook, I trust you.” Did I mention that I was a lucky lady? He’s willing to take culinary leaps of faith right alongside me.

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Much to my surprise… and I think even more his, it tasted like marinara sauce.

Just LIKE marinara sauce.

And it looked like marinara sauce that had been slow-cooked for hours on end.

I was so excited! Combine this with my gluten-free dairy-free spaetzl (recipe for that coming soon) and my life just might be complete. Or pretty close to being complete. A sprinkling of nutritional yeast would, in fact, make it complete.

Just one note, the onion, which reads finely chopped, needs to be finely chopped. Otherwise you’ll get fuchsia onions like I did during my first attempt. Also, I added a splash of plum balsamic vinegar (you can find it at your local vinegar and oil specialty store – I highly suggest picking up some vinegars you like as store-bought salad dressings are off the foods list) and a splash or two of white wine vinegar to brighten things up a bit. It’s a marinara – play around with it!

Enjoy!

“Nomato” Tomato Marinara

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 (8-ounce) can beets, drained, juices reserved (oven-roasted, pureed beets are fine, too)
  • 1 (14-15 ounce) can pure pumpkin puree (make sure it’s not pumpkin pie mix)
  • ½-¼ cup gluten-free chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 24 grinds fresh black pepper
  • ¼-⅓ cup chopped fresh basil, or ¼ cup dried basil
  • a good “palmful” of dried thyme and oregano
  • 1 tbsp honey (maybe a little more, maybe a little less)
  1. Saute onions and garlic over medium heat in a dutch oven until onions are translucent in a medium dutch oven or large skillet.
  2. Add balsamic vinegar and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
  3. In a food processor, puree the beets. Add beets and pumpkin to the dutch oven and stir until there isn’t a kaleidoscope of color. (You’ll see what I mean when you make it.)
  4. Add the stock and stir. Add the spices and stir. Let simmer for about 30 minutes. Check the balance of the spices and adjust as necessary.

I dare your family, friends, and picky eaters to tell the difference!

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