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

Two Meat Chili

So before I tell you what meat is in here, let me just preface this with a disclaimer: Organ meats are really really good for you! And beef heart is no exception. Especially when it’s organic and pasture-raised. (That preface didn’t last long.)

A few months ago, my local food buying club had a buy on a whole cow. There were various cuts and it was first come, first serve. Ironically, no one wanted the ox tail, the heart or the Rocky Mountain Oysters. Okay. I didn’t want the latter, either. But for $10, now was a good a time as any to buy a beef heart. So I did. And it sat in my freezer until I was tired of looking at it this past week.

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Beef heart gets a bad rap for being a “gamey” chunk of meat. (For those of you who are gagging over this, it’s a muscle. And it’s the hardest working muscle in the body and it needs gobs of nutrients to work, making it nutrient-dense and really good for you. So… Think of it that way.)

This chili wasn’t gamey at all. It’s rich, the spices compliment each other and the beef heart is the most tender piece of meat you may ever put in your mouth. I cut the pieces up into stew meat sized bites. To the untrained observer – aka your family, they’ll have no idea.

Preparing it is a bit of a trick, you want to cut away the connective tissue (it’s tough), the valves and tendons (no one wants to chew on something that much) and the fat (it’s a hard, grisly fat that doesn’t cook well). Then, just cut it up like I would stew meat. Voila! No one knew… Until I told them. (And I did because I like to see the look on their faces. I’m mean like that.)

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Two Meat Chili

  • 3 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 medium Organic Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 1 Organic Green Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 1 Jicama, peeled and diced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 lbs Ground Pasture-Raised Organic Pork
  • 1 Pasture-Raised Organic Beef Heart, trimmed and cut up like small pieces of stew meat
  • 1-28 oz can Organic BPA-free Crushed Tomatoes
  • ½ cup Filtered Water
  • 1 tbsp Chilli Powder
  • 2 tbsp Cumin
  • 1 tbsp Oregano
  • 1 tbsp Organic Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 ½ tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • ½ tsp Cayenne
  • 1 ½ tsp Salt or salt to taste
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  1. In a stock pot over medium heat with 1 tbsp coconut oil, brown beef and ground pork.
  2. In a separate skillet over medium heat, saute jicama in 2 tbsp coconut oil until slightly translucent.
  3. When beef is lightly browned, add onion, garlic and spices. Continue to cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add jicama (after about 6-8 minutes) to the beef, pork and onion mixture. Stir to incorporate.
  5. Add tomatoes and water.
  6. Simmer until done, about 1 hour.
  7. Serve with your favorite raw milk aged cheddar or Crème fraîche.

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Meatloaf!

No, I’m not talking about the rocker-turned-famous-ballad-singer who’s music video is five parts creepy and three parts even creepier.

I’m talking about stick to your ribs meatloaf.

The American classic. And the thing of many jokes.

I decided to make meatloaf before I knew it was going to be 75 here in Portland over the next few days. Had I known, I would have turned the two pounds of ground beef I pulled out of my freezer into taco meat or hamburgers to be served in a lettuce wrap. As it stands, meatloaf isn’t all that bad and I’ll probably crumble it up and serve it on salad (because it’s 75…. and that’s warm for this area).

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Good thing this meatloaf is fantastic and super easy. I even gave my roommate a sample (she really has the best job ever of being my taste tester… except for when things don’t work out) and she said it was fantastic. And then went back for an even bigger second sample. So, here ya go. Super easy meatloaf – that’s bread/gluten/grain free and full of whole foods goodness!

Note: when buying sausage, make sure you check for additives. A lot of prepared meats will have extra stuff in it that’s not good (gluten and sugar are a big one). Talk with your butcher about what goes in it. A safe store to buy from is Whole Foods – their corporate recipe for Italian sausage is good, with no added crud.

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Meatloaf

  • 2 pounds grass-fed beef
  • ½ pound pasture-raised mild Italian pork sausage <OR> ½ pound pasture-raised ground pork and 1 ½ tsp Mild Italian Sausage Seasoning
  • 2 pasture-raised, soy and corn-free eggs
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 heaping tbsp Lacto-Fermented Ketchup
  • 1 tsp ground mustard powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. With clean hands, mix two types of meat in a large bowl.
  3. Add onions, egg and coconut flour and continue to mix the meat.
  4. Add ketchup and spices and mix.
  5. Pour into a loaf pan and pat until the surface is even.
  6. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes, allowing juices to settle. Serve hot.

Taco Seasoning Mix

I recently purchased a bunch of grass-fed beef and the cow is in process so… I have to clean out my freezer. Which means I eat my older beef as quickly as possible. Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? This morning it was taco meat. I ate it with some scrambled eggs and guacamole for a delish high-fat/high-calorie meal (it’s cold, windy and rainy over here in Western Oregon). I guess you could say I’m jonesing for more tropical climates… or San Diego. Which ever is cheapest.

Okay. So, here’s my super easy recipe. I make a whole bunch of it up at once and buy my spices organic and in bulk. There are probably places that you can do this from wherever you live. Here in Portland, we have Bob’s Red Mill over in Milwaukie. They have bulk organic spices and really reasonable prices. I buy my own spice jars and have cute labels. Heck. I even alphabetize my spices. Don’t judge me. You know you do it, too. First and second letter. I need a life. 😛

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Okay, so once I’ve made a mega batch of taco seasoning mix, I dump it in a half-pint mason jar and put a lid on it. I mark on the lid my ratio – 1 ½ tbsp mix (sometimes I feel like having a bit more zip and throw a bit more in) to a half cup of water. Below is the recipe for a single batch and is for a pound of beef. If cooking more beef, simply double, triple, etc the recipe. When I make my large quantities, I usually make 6 batches at once – those are included in the parenthesis. Enjoy!

Taco Seasoning Mix

  • 1 tbsp chili powder (6 tbsp)
  • 2 tsp dried minced onion (4 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp sea salt (2 tbsp)
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin (3 tbsp)
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes (1 tbsp)
  • 1/8 – ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (¾ tsp to 1 ½ tsp)
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano (1 ½ tsp)
  1. Mix the seasoning and seal in a air-tight container.

To make taco meat:

  • 3 tbsp taco seasoning mix (may be a bit scant if you are using less cayenne pepper)
  • 1 pound lean, grass-fed organic ground beef
  • ½ cup water
  1. Brown 1 lb beef in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Drain fat if desired. (I leave it in, personally.)
  2. Toss in taco seasoning mix and water and stir until incorporated.
  3. Simmer on medium-low until water is evaporated.
  4. Serve immediately.

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Note: I included the tag for nightshade-free because spices affect most people differently than the actual fruit or vegetable. If you are still sensitive to peppers and this includes spices, disregard this recipe.