Beef liver is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet, and chances are you either love it or hate it. Some have fond memories of eating it as a child, reminiscing about mother or grandmother who made sure it was served on occasion. Or you were forced to eat it (likely overcooked) and might prefer starvation when given the choice. But there are several reasons this organ should be on the dinner table periodically. The good news is that with a little attention to detail, you can make it not only tolerable, but also delicious!
Liver is the organ responsible for a range of very important bodily functions. Perhaps that is why beef liver really is a super food, containing 10 to 100 times more nutrition (based on individual nutrients) than typical muscle meats in addition to providing very high quality protein content.
But it does tend to have a strong flavor. Especially when overcooked, and most people are probably going to err on the side of overcooking because it is perceived as something rather foreign. It doesn't have to be that way. Gentle cooking until just cooked through (I prefer to have some pink still in the meat) will do the trick. And it cooks quickly because it is very lean.
The best option is gently pan searing or even roasting on a tray in the oven until just cooked. Pairing it with onions is a classic accompaniment and the flavors work very well together. The addition of vinegar to the onions also helps pack an extra punch which will stand up well to the beefy, iron rich flavor of the liver. Toward the end of the recipe, we will also provide a couple tips/trick for working with liver for those who may be sensitive to stronger flavors.
1 package beef liver cutlets
Salt/pepper for seasoning
- Ghee or butter for pan searing
Onions, sliced (any type will do)
- Garlic, chopped
- Fresh thyme, basil, and parsley (any herbs you have on hand will do)
- Vegetables for roasting (we used squash and cherry tomatoes)
- 2 tablespoons vinegar (apple cider, etc)
- 1 cup stock (chicken, beef, or vegetable)
TIME AND DIFFICULTY
- Prep Time: 10 minutes total
- Cook Time: 25 minutes total
- Difficulty: Easy
May We Suggest:
- A sheet tray plus parchment paper for roasting vegetables
Step 1: Pat beef liver cutlets dry. Beef liver will often have some juices in the package. Place on a plate and pat dry with paper towels before cooking to help minimize moisture. If roasting vegetables to serve alongside the liver, pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and prepare all of the vegetables, including the onions and herbs.
Step 2: Cook the beef liver. Add a generous two tablespoons of ghee (or butter) to the pan and heat over medium heat. Season the beef liver with salt and pepper. Once the pan is getting hot, add the liver. This will take only 3 or 4 minutes per side, depending on how thick your beef liver cutlets are. Flip once for another 3 or 4 minutes to complete the cooking. Keep the heat at a nice medium so things don't burn. When done, it should feel similar to a steak in testing for doneness. It will start to firm up as it cooks. Note: Don't over cook it because it will get stronger in flavor as it cooks! It should feel firm but with a little softness, like a medium steak.
Step 3: Cook the onions. After the liver finishes cooking, allow it to rest on a plate. Keep the pan over medium-low heat and add the sliced onions. If the pan seems too dry, add some more ghee or butter. Cook for about 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally as the onions cook down. After the onions begin to soften and turn brown, add the garlic and stir, cooking another two minutes. Now deglaze the pan with the vinegar and stock, mixing in the liquid while it cooks. Add the chopped parsley and thyme (or whichever herbs you have on hand). Cook until the liquid is mostly cooked away and absorbed into the onions.
Step 4: Slice and serve. You will notice a little bit of pink still in my liver cutlets. This is just where I want it. Cooked but not cooked well done. The flavor will be more delicate this way. Slice and serve with the onions and roasted vegetables on the side. Top with fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil if you're feeling good.
ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR COOKING LIVER:
- Cook gently and do not overcook! The more you cook, the stronger it tastes.
- If you really want to minimize the iron flavor, soak the liver cutlets in milk overnight in the refrigerator. Restaurants often do this.
- If you want the nutritional benefits of the liver but can bring yourself to eat it by itself, try our ground beef organ blend, which has a combination of liver, heart, and beef all ground together. This minimizes the flavor while still providing some of the boosted nutrition.
- Start with chicken livers as they can be milder than beef liver in taste.