If you've never tried liver before, this classic beef liver recipe will make you fall in love with this superfood. Beef liver is one of the most nutritionally dense foods available, and calf liver topped with caramelized onions is both nutritious and delicious with a mild taste of liver. This is absolutely the best way to serve it and will convert even staunch liver haters!
- ❤️ Why you'll love it
- Is Liver Considered Meat?
- What Does Beef Liver Taste Like?
- What Is The Difference Between Beef Liver And Calf Liver?
- Health Benefits of Liver
- 🥘 Equipment Used
- 🧾 Ingredients Used
- 🔪 How To Cook Beef Liver
- 🥫 Storing and Reheating
- 💭 Tips and Variations
- 🍽️ What can I eat this recipe with?
- 👩🍳 Frequently asked questions
- 📚 Related Recipes
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
❤️ Why you'll love it
Whether you already love liver or are trying to add this superfood to your diet, this is the recipe for you! I never liked it or its weird, rubbery, bitter taste and texture throughout my entire childhood.
Now that I'm older and know how amazing beef liver is for the body, I prepare it following this delicious recipe to reap all those nutritional benefits!
Is Liver Considered Meat?
Liver is known as organ meat and is also referred to as offal meat. Offal meat refers to internal organs and other parts of an animal that are deemed undesirable and discarded.
Other offal meats include kidney, heart, brain, tongue, chicken hearts, and chicken gizzard. Organ meats are usually nutrient-dense and are very healthy.
What Does Beef Liver Taste Like?
Beef liver might be a bit of an acquired taste, but it is tender and delicious when prepared properly. It has a sweet, naturally earthy flavor and a soft texture, unlike beef liver. It has a unique taste of its own and soaks up the flavors of what it's cooked in.
If you're trying to introduce beef liver into your diet, I highly recommend opting for young calves' liver over regular cow liver, as it doesn't have the same strong liver flavor you've probably tried in the past. This is one of my favorite recipes using liver as it gives any type of liver a lovely, tender texture.
What Is The Difference Between Beef Liver And Calf Liver?
Both beef and calf livers come from the same animal, a cow. However, one significant difference is that calf liver is from a young cow, while beef liver is from a mature cow. Therefore, the taste of beef liver is stronger and more intense than the taste of calf liver.
But no matter where the liver meat is from, it is still packed with essential nutrients, so it is good to include this beef liver recipe in your diet.
Health Benefits of Liver
In general, liver is very nutritious and packed with lots of vitamins and minerals. It is, without a doubt, one of the most nutritious-dense foods out there. A single portion of liver contains significant amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, folate, and iron.
Additionally, liver contains potassium, copper, magnesium, phosphorous, and selenium. Even a small amount of liver will produce more than the daily values of several nutrients the body needs. So, you only have to incorporate this sparingly into your diet.
Since liver does not contain any dietary fiber, so be sure to pair it with a high-fiber dish for a well-balanced meal.
🥘 Equipment Used
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To make this old fashioned liver and onions recipe, you'll just need a large bowl for soaking the liver and a large skillet, like a cast iron skillet, to sautee the liver.
🧾 Ingredients Used
- Raw beef liver: You can get fresh calves liver from your local butcher shop or meat market. Slice it into one-inch-thick slices if it's not already sliced. If that is not an option for you, you can often find frozen liver at grocery stores or butcher shops.
- Spices: Garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, black pepper, and salt.
- Other ingredients: Olive oil and medium sliced onions.
🔪 How To Cook Beef Liver
How To Prepare Liver
Place the liver in a large bowl and add enough milk to cover it. Let the liver soak in the milk for an hour or two, then pour the milk away. Pat the liver dry, and it's ready to use.
How To Make Beef Liver And Onions
- Wash and pat the liver dry. Mix the spices together in a shallow dish and lightly rub the liver with the spices.
- Chop onions into rings. Heat oil in a cast iron pan. I like to use a cast iron skillet for this, but you can use any large skillet or shallow pan.
- When heated, add the onions and sprinkle a pinch of the mixed spices. Cook onions in olive oil for a few minutes until golden brown and caramelized. Take out the sauteed onions and add more olive oil to the pan.
- Add the liver pieces and cook liver for 3-5 mins on medium-high heat. Flip and cook the other side for a few minutes. Top with the onions and serve.
🥫 Storing and Reheating
Of course, the liver can be frozen and stored even longer than that, but it might not taste as fresh.
💭 Tips and Variations
- To reduce the strong metallic taste of the liver, you must prep it first by soaking it in milk.
- Once you get comfortable cooking liver like this, try this recipe with lamb livers or chicken livers. They're both quite mild and full of flavor!
- For a beautiful presentation, sprinkle chopped fresh parsley over the top of your liver and onions.
🍽️ What can I eat this recipe with?
This liver and onions recipe is usually eaten with white rice. I like to enjoy my liver and onions with mashed cauliflower or keto rice on a low-carb diet. This beef liver recipe also tastes great with green beans sauteed in a little bacon grease!
👩🍳 Frequently asked questions
Yes, liver is keto-friendly. It contains very few carbs, is high in proteins, and has lots of vitamins and minerals.
Liver contains just 3.8g of net carbs and a whopping 26g of protein, making it incredibly nutritious, low carb, and keto-friendly. This beef liver recipe does include onions, which are higher in carbohydrates. You can either make the recipe without the onions or have a few to fit your macros.
Rinse your liver to get rid of dirt and excess blood from it before cooking. Clean liver cooks and tastes much better than when it has excess blood in it.
If using beef liver, I highly recommend soaking it in milk for an hour or two so you can get rid of the odor and improve the taste of the liver. In addition, liver that has been soaked in milk isn't as chewy as it would've been without the milk.
It's pretty easy to know when liver has gone bad. The liver would give off a slightly ammonic smell. It would also feel slimy to the touch. Also, because bacteria multiply fast on raw meat, liver left out at room temperature for hours might have gone bad and should not be eaten.
One way to ensure your liver slices have been appropriately cooked is to cook for at least 3-5 minutes on each side and slice a bit open to ensure it's no longer bloody. You can also use an internal thermometer to check that the temperature is at least 160F.
Beef Liver Recipe
Prepare the liver
- If using beef liver, soak in milk for an hour or two, then pour the milk away.
- If liver is not sliced, slice about one inch thick.
- Wash and pat the liver dry.
Make the liver and onions
- Mix spices together and liberally rub liver with spices.
- Chop onions into ring shapes by slicing lengthwise.
- Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a cast iron pan.
- When heated, add the onions and sprinkle a pinch of the mixed spices.
- Sauté the onions in olive oil for a few minutes till caramelized.
- Take the onions out and add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil to the pan.
- Add the liver pieces and cook liver for 3-5 mins on medium-high heat.
- Top with the onions and serve.
- If you struggle with eating liver, soaking the liver in milk for a while will remove the bitterness from it and improve the taste of the liver.
- Do not overcook the liver or the texture will become rubbery.
- Make sure the liver is cooked in a single layer to make sure it's cooked through. Do it in batches if you need to.
- You can substitute the olive oil with two tablespoons of butter or bacon grease for an infusion of flavor.