It begins with the tale of two livers. There was the liver and onions that my grandmother so adored. She enthusiastically fried up them up on the regular while extolling the nutritional virtues of the meal. But in another house, there was the liver served by my beloved mother to her resistant daughters. Desiccated, leathery and reduced to a few small bites drowned in a lake of ketchup which had to be choked down, perhaps while holding one’s nose, before we were permitted to leave the table. It’s been more than 30 years since I’ve had beef liver on my dining room table. But one day I reached into the depths of the freezer and emerged with the package of neatly sliced strips of Lazy B beef liver and a plan.
Organ meats, including liver, have a rich nutrient content, unmatched by the more popular muscle meat. Liver is packed with Vitamin A, iron, B vitamins, magnesium and other vitamins/minerals. My mother recalls being prescribed liver by her doctor to treat her pregnancy-induced anemia. Ounce for ounce, liver delivered a nutritional punch. And pastured, grass-fed animals have not consumed the amount of antibiotics and hormones present in the feed of conventionally, factory farmed animals. Frequently, people express concern about eating the organ which filters toxins from the blood, however, it should be noted that those impurities are cleaned by but not stored within the liver.
Liver may not be for everyone – it has a distinctive taste which isn’t universally enjoyed. But, I encourage you to give it a try. This recipe removes the slightly metallic flavor of liver by soaking it in milk and quickly pan-fries the slices for a tender dinner, perfect with a side of buttery mashed potatoes. My crew of adolescent eaters declared our liver dinner “interesting” and “not awful” – far better than the tear-inducing, shoe leather experience of my own youth. And if all else fails, ketchup makes everything taste like, well, ketchup.
Liver and Onions (serves 4-6)
1.5-2 lbs liver, cut into ¼’ thick strips
1.5 cups milk
1 c. flour
2 Vidalia/sweet onions, thinly sliced into rings
4 T. butter, divided
Salt or seasoning salt
- Pat strips of liver dry with a paper towel and place in a bowl. Pour milk over, just covering the liver and leave to soak while cooking the onions.
- Melt 2 T. butter over medium low and add onions. Stir occasionally, cooking for 15-20 minutes until the onions turn golden brown. Salt to taste, remove from pan and set aside.
- In the meantime, place flour in a shallow bowl and stir in 1 t. salt and ½ t. pepper. Remove liver from milk and dredge slices in the flour, coating both sides.
- Melt 1 T. butter over medium heat in the now empty skillet and place strips of floured liver in the pan, careful not to crowd the slices or burn the butter. Cook until brown, 4 minutes then turn over for an additional 4 minutes. Be careful not to overcook and try not to turn more than once. The liver may be slightly pink when cut into. Repeat with final tablespoon of butter and remaining strips.
- Place strips on a serving platter and quickly toss the onions back into the skillet to warm for a few minutes before smothering the liver with them.
Hi, I’m Kjesti Easton, an enthusiastic home cook. I live on a small homestead in Madison, GA with my three hungry sons, husband, a few dozen hens and a garden. While there are plenty of chores outside, I find most enjoyment in the indoor, air-conditioned pursuits – knitting, sewing, baking, and cooking. Almost nothing makes me happier than sharing recipes, food and kitchen knowledge with others.