This post about ideas for fun chicken liver recipes originally appeared on the blog at Real Food Family. I hope you enjoy at least thinking about incorporating chicken liver into your diet. Livers are insanely nutritious, and turning them into nuggets is a fun way to make them delicious, too.
The downside of mass-produced chicken
In America, we eat a lot of chicken, and even more corn. But we don’t eat these great foods the way we should. Conventionally-raised chicken is often loaded with antibiotics, contaminated with bacteria and downright flavorless. As for corn, don’t get me started. Well, since we’re halfway there…
The truth about America’s corn
The corn produced in the U.S. is mostly consumed in the form of sugar – high-fructose corn syrup, to be exact. It’s processed with chemicals, and genetically modified. While the jury is still out on genetically-modified food, many countries in the European Union have preemptively banned the practice based on early research and a plethora of unknowns.
Corn in the USA
The agricultural practices used to produce the literal tons U.S. corn contribute a large carbon footprint, pollute the soil and juries deemed it toxic cancer-causing. For more reading on organic versus conventional farming, the Rodale Institute is a great resource.
Chicken livers are only a small part of the solution
To fix the greater problem we can all start in our own kitchens by adjusting our narrow approach to eating meat. Collectively, we rarely put the whole animal to good use. Take chicken, for example. Most people only eat the breasts (which truthfully is the least flavorful, driest portion of meat). Maybe on game day the greater masses enjoy the wings, and on occasion cook the thigh.
Apart from the mechanically-separated rib meat that continues to be a popular nosh for kids, the remainder of the bird is destined for disposal. Enter breaded and baked chicken liver recipes. When procured from a reliable source and treated with care, these techniques can turn the ever-pungent liver into delightful little bites worthy of a creamy dipping sauce.
The benefits of eating liver
From a nutritional standpoint, animal liver is full of iron, folate, Vitamin A and a nice assortment of B vitamins. All of which are essential nutrients and extremely beneficial to body and brain function, especially for expectant mothers.
You might hear that animal livers, and by extension offals (organ meats), are high in cholesterol, and this is true. However, they contain dietary cholesterol, and contrary to popular belief, it has little effect on our blood cholesterol levels. If you do have blood cholesterol concerns, one way to moderate high levels is with a high-fiber, healthy fat diet.
Aim for organic, non-GMO corn from the cob
Enter real corn. By no means does it have the fiber load of say steel-cut oatmeal, but sweet, succulent, ripe on the cob corn can make a decent contribution to your daily fiber intake. And while true sweet corn is only in season for a few fleeting months in the summer, a great year-round option is to buy organic, frozen kernels. Like in the fall, when hot, steamy cornbread can welcome the autumn breeze and changing colors.
So this post is a challenge to think outside the chicken box, and discover baked chicken liver nuggets and charred corn with shallots, tomatoes and fresh herbs. Because offals – organ meats – don’t have to taste awful. And corn should be allowed to just be, well, corn.
Yours in chicken,Print
Chicken livers??? Yes! Animal livers are nutrient-packed, and a great way to work essential vitamins and minerals into your diet. Soaking liver in milk tones down the strong flavor, and turning them into “nuggets” is a fun way to get your kids on board.
- 1 lb of chicken livers
- Milk, for soaking livers (raw milk for GAPS diet)
- All-purpose wheat, gluten-free or fine-ground almond flour
- 1 egg, beaten with a little water
- 2 cups of bread crumbs, Panko, gluten-free (finely chopped cashews or almonds for GAPS)
- hot pepper sauce, such as Frank’s (it’s free of gums)
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons fresh chopped herbs, Italian parsley and thyme recommended
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Charred Sweet Corn (omit for GAPS)
- 4 fresh corn cobs or 1 bag of frozen kernels, thawed
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, chopped
- 2 Roma tomatoes, quartered, seeds removed, and small diced
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
For Charred Corn
- If using fresh corn, remove husks from cobs and wrap together in foil with a little water. Bake at 400° F until kernels are fork tender. Remove from oven and let cool. Slice kernels off cobs.
- Heat a small amount of avocado or coconut oil over high heat in a large sauté pan. Add corn kernels in one layer if possible, and cook until kernels begin to brown (some may begin to pop in the pan, so be careful!).
- Lower heat to medium and add shallots, garlic and butter. Cook until shallots are fragrant, then add tomatoes and cook another couple of minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Hold warm covered with foil over low heat until ready to serve.
For Chicken Livers
- Soak livers in milk and a few dashes of hot sauce for 30 minutes to an hour.
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Combine bread crumbs or minced nuts with a few healthy pinches of salt and pepper.
- Pat livers dry and season with salt and pepper. Lightly coat each in flour, then dip in egg, then coat in bread crumbs or nuts. Place livers on a rack to set coating prior to baking.
- Bake livers on a parchment-lined sheet tray for 10 to 15 minutes, until bread crumbs begin to brown and livers are firm to the touch. When measured with a meat thermometer, the internal temperature of the liver should be 165°F.
- Combine all ingredients, and whisk well.
Psss… If you’re not interested in eating baked (or fried or sautéed) chicken livers, chicken thighs cut to “nugget size” can stand in for the livers. But don’t knock it ’till you try it!
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