Sunday, November 6, 2011

Oh Boy, Organ Meat

I guess you could consider this a Halloween post...

Lamb liver was on super special at the Farmers Market ($0.50/lb!), and if I want to eat local, on a budget, it's hard to pass up a good deal, right?

Waste is also bad, so if I am going to eat meat I should try new cuts. By the way, I have never had liver before. I don't think I am alone in not eating much organ meat, at least not in the US. I think it is interesting that we consume a fairly large amount of meat, but certain cuts, and even certain animals (like I mentioned this was LAMB liver) have almost gone out of fashion. When I was looking up recipes one website said that lamb was very popular in the US until WWII and then the army bought very large quantities and served a lot of poorly prepared lamb to soldiers. When they came home they told their wives and mothers that they didn't like lamb- and just like that, the entire country switched primarily to beef. Sheep tend to be lighter on the land than cattle, so I am trying to build my skill preparing less common cuts of meat.

This is a pretty standard liver and onions with mashed potatoes and steamed green beans. Pretty  much everything was purchased at the Farmers Market except spices, oils, and butter. Here are the ingredients:

For Two Servings
  • 2 onions, chopped or sliced
  • 2 small liver steaks
  • about 5 smallish potatoes, washed and cut into small pieces
  • maybe 1/2 lb of green beans, washed
  • Oil, butter, vegetable broth, salt and pepper
Put potatoes in a small sauce pan, cover with water and/or vegetable broth (I add a vegetable broth bullion cube) boil for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. When they are tender drain, add about a tablespoon of butter plus salt and pepper to taste and mash with a fork. If you like creamier mashed potatoes you can add a couple of tablespoons of milk and just keep adding small amounts until the potatoes are at the desired consistency

Meanwhile... while the potatoes are cooking - Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a large pan and add onions. Saute until tender and beginning to caramelize - about 10 minutes, but the longer the better.

Meanwhile 2... once the onions are sauteing - Put green beans in a pan (I use a saute pan so that they can remain long) with a little bit of water. You can also use a steamer but I don't have one. (Side note: one of the benefits of a steamer is that you don't lose as many of the nutrients in the water. I save the water I cook vegetables in and drink it like tea, this way I get most of the nutrients) Cook green beans for about 8 minutes.

When everything is about done, move the onions to the side of the dish and add the liver cooking 1-1/2 minutes on each side. Apparently the "secret" to good liver is that it is just barely done. Serve immediately.

OK, full disclosure. It turns out I don't really like liver. I liked the texture, it is like a very very tender steak. But there was something in the flavor that I felt was distinctive. But my partner really liked it and didn't taste whatever the flavor note that I was picking up on was. And if you have enough caramelized onions it's hard to notice the flavor. Liver is also very high in iron, and like I said, affordable... so... I am glad I tried it and will probably continue to prepare it on occasion (if only because we kind of stocked up when it was on sale)

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