Beef & Liver Meatballs over Sauteed Cabbage

I know that I am not alone in my search to find a method of cooking liver that masks it’s metal iron-like chalky taste.  The only problem is that they don’t call liver “Mother Nature’s Vitamin” for nothing.  We’re talking about an incredible thing.  Not only is beef liver inexpensive, as are other organ cuts that people shy away from, but their nutritional profile is off the charts.

 

 

Hail! The Almighty Liver.

 

It is common knowledge that fruits and vegetables are good sources of micronutrients, but their content cannot be compared to what organ meats offer.  Some people are squemish about liver because of it being a filter organ…meaning they are afraid that it once stored toxins that were found in the animal’s body.  That’s not really the case.  The liver never stored these toxins; it worked to remove them and toxins that cannot be removed are generally stored in fatty tissue.  Liver contains great amounts of vitamins A, D, E, K, B12 and folic acid, and minerals such as copper and iron…these are all nutrients that actually give your body the ability to get rid of toxins!  Go figure!  For more information, including a chart of how liver compares to other foods, check out this article written by Chris Kresser.

Now after being given this information, how on Earth can someone who can’t stand the taste of liver not put themselves through a mission to figure out….HOW CAN I EAT THIS AMAZING SUPERFOOD!!!????  So yes, I have been on a journey.  Researching, experimenting….trying to find a way to incorporate liver without having to taste it.  And guess what…THE SEARCH IS OVER (sort of)!

 

So, what if you don’t like it?

 

So the first thing that comes to mind for masking the taste of something you don’t like is to just mix it with something else that you do like.  That makes me think about the medicine I would take when I was a little girl that tasted like bubble gum.  It was even bright pink and I loved having to take it.  The most common way people prepare liver is smothered with onions.  The sweet caramalization of the onions helps cut out the bitterness a little bit, but for those that don’t like liver…it’s not enough.   It’s an aquired taste, I’m tellin’ you.  So my first attempt was not only frying it with onions, but crumbling a bunch of bacon on top because ummm yeah bacon is freaking the best thing in the world, right?  Bacon is so good it can make even the worst things taste just like it, right?  Wrong!  Not when it comes to liver anyway.  The liver made the bacon taste bad haha, which was a total downer.

 

The darker the color the better. The darker color signifies a liver that is overloaded with nutrients. Pictured is a liver that came from a grass-fed bovine; that is ideal.

 

So my next thought process was to mix the liver in with another meat, rather than just having bacon crumbled on top.  Meatballs would be the answer.  So I began planning for my ground beef and liver combination.  I knew I wanted onions still, as onions make everything better.  🙂  I also knew that I wanted some spices that would stand out and the first two that came to mind were paprika and cinnamon.  Cinnamon is often used in lamb and other meats that can give a deeper gamey taste.  Perfect!  But not quite, at the last minute it hit me…

 

A Touch of Sweetness

 

When you’re eating something bitter, what do you usually do to offset it?  You include something sweet.  The problem is that the carmelized onions just weren’t sweet enough. I had planned from the beginning to serve these meatballs; however they may be, on top of some sauteed cabbage…and it all made perfect sense.  Apple.  Diced freakin’ apple.  Apple goes great with cabbage and to top it all off I had already settled on cinnamon…warm apples and cinnamon!!….uhhh YEAH!  Perfection.  So I took a big gulp of my coffee, threw on my lab coat (not really) and got to work!

Once I came up with the apple idea the rest was just easy.  The spices and onion I had already thought about and it all came together really well.  I do encourage you to try these meatballs for yourself and I promise you won’t taste the liver.  The thing is, it’s not like you’re fooling yourself into thinking the liver isn’t there, because I will say this — you can still tell there’s something else there haha…it’s just not a taste that makes you want to “hack” as my sister-in-law would call it.  So you gotta decide, do you want to eat things that do absolutely nothing for your body?  (Grains, sugars, cakes/cookies, sodas, chips, candies)…or do you want to eat something that can actually heal you?  You CAN heal your body with the food you eat; I truly believe that with all my heart.  Speaking of heart, don’t you worry; I’m way ahead of you…there’s one in my freezer and that will be NEXT 😉

 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/4 lb. grass-fed beef liver
  • 1/2 c. onion, diced
  • 1 small apple, unpeeled & diced
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper

 

Process

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. You can cut your liver into very small pieces, but I suggest putting it in your food processor.  Pulse until chopped up completely.
  3. Dice onion and apple and combine in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add ground beef, liver, and all spices to bowl.
  5. Use both hands to incorporate spices and form mixture into meatballs (a tad smaller than golf balls).  I got 18 meatballs out of mine.
  6. Transfer meatballs to a cooling rack that has been placed on a cookie sheet — this will help the meatballs brown & cook on all sides without you having to turn them.
  7. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes.

 

 

Sautéed Cabbage

Once the meatballs are done you can ladle them on top of some sauteed cabbage, which is a fantastic side.  We like to eat sauteed cabbage in the place of noodles.  It’s quick, easy, and if you slice the cabbage thinly enough and saute them for a good 10 minutes or so they actually resemble noodles quite nicely.  Here’s how I make mine:

 

Ingredients

  • 1 head of green cabbage (you can absolutely use purple if you have it)
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. caraway seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Process

  1. Slice cabbage as thinly as possible, thicker pieces are fine they just won’t cook as fast.
  2. Heat coconut oil in  large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add cabbage and toss to coat.
  4. Let cook down a bit and then add salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  5. Cook, tossing often for about 10 minutes.
  6. By that time the cabbage will be very soft and stir in your paprika and caraway seeds.
  7. Top with meatballs, italian sausages, or just eat as an excellent side dish to any main entree.

 

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