Chicken Superfood! (Livers and Gizzards)

No, we don’t get super powers by eating chicken, but perhaps we can still be superheroes in the way we treat our bodies.

Healthline.com touts liver as one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It’s up there with kale, but perhaps better because the nutrients are more easily absorbed. Although modern Western diets prize muscle meat, modern science has proven what traditional cultures knew all along: organ meats (such as livers, gizzards, and hearts) are far superior in vitamin and mineral content. Muscle meat provides plenty of protein, but one serving of chicken liver will also provide 75% DV of Vitamin A and 79% DV of B12 (which at least 40% of Americans are deficient in,) along with significant amounts of Selenium and Iron. What’s not to like?

But liver…? Many people assume that they’re not supposed to like it, just because it’s liver. Don’t tell my kids that though. They kept asking for more liver pate, spread on homemade sourdough bread and topped with a Romaine leaf, while we set up for the farmers market last weekend. That was their breakfast, and they didn’t seem to mind it one bit. Like most foods, it’s all about the preparation.

Gizzards likewise pack impressive amounts of Niacin and B12, along with Iron, Phosphorus, Zinc, and Selenium. We’ve experimented preparing them a couple ways, but our new favorite can pass for Italian Sausage.

Before I dive into recipes, though, keep in mind that not all liver or organ meats are created equal. I’m not really keen on devouring chicken livers from factory-farmed birds raised in cages, fed glyphosate-contaminated GMOs and antibiotics, and which never saw the light of day. Our chicken livers come from birds rotated on lush pastures, fed non-GMO feed freshly ground on the farm, and enriched with a healthy dose of fish meal. Enough said. Here are some of our favorite recipes.

Quick Weeknight Herbed Liver

  • 1/2 lb chicken liver
  • 1 tsp (or to taste) Herbs de Provence
  • Butter or oil of choice
  • Salt 
  1. Heat butter/oil in pan over med-hi heat.
  2. Add livers and Herbs de Provence, and saute until slightly firm, turning occasionally (approx. 5-7 minutes). Centers should be pink and smooth in texture. If overcooked, the centers become grainy (but still edible!)
  3. Salt to taste.

What do you do with leftovers? Throw the leftover liver into a food processor with some mayo, and voila! You have a delicious liver spread for wraps or sandwiches!

Liver & Onions

Liver and onions are just made for each other. We have found this recipe to be irresistible.https://www.rachaelraymag.com/recipe/mama-elsa-s-chicken-liver-spread (The picture above is from a batch of livers my wife cooked up a week ago. We ate them for dinner as pictured, and then ground up the leftovers for a pate.)

Italian Sausage Gizzards

This is our own recipe, and a new family favorite!

  • 1.5 lb Pastured Chicken Gizzards (cleaned and trimmed)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne (omit or reduce for milder)
  • 2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1.5 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 Tbsp fat/oil of choice (could use tallow, lard, coconut oil, bacon grease, or butter)
  1. Chop gizzards finely in food processor and mix with cayenne, marjoram, salt, and red wine vinegar
  2. Heat fat in skillet and toast fennel seeds until browned
  3. Add sausage mix and brown as you would ground beef

(Optional Serving Suggestion) Potato Salad – Dice and boil 4 lb red potatoes, drain, and rinse in cold water. Dice 2 Roma tomatoes and 1 green bell pepper, mix with 3 Tbsp olive oil and 2 tsp dried parsley. Add potatoes and browned sausage, top with baby beet greens and/or baby arugula, salt to taste, toss, and serve.

Let us know how you like to prepare YOUR chicken livers and gizzards!

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