The liver is a delicious delicacy. Have you wondered what does liver taste like? Have you ever noticed liver for sale in the meat section at your supermarket? If so, it’s likely you’ve made a face on moved along on your way.
But don’t judge the liver by its looks! If we did that, we’d never have anything to eat, would we? You’re about to find out why this organ meat should be on your plate more often. Here’s what to know plus how to truly enjoy it!
Also called offal, the liver is found inside your body as well as in different animals. Of course, the liver you’ll find in the meat section animal livers, typically domesticated ones such as calf liver, lambs, pig liver, and chickens. In the seafood section, you may find cod liver as well.
The most liver will have a reddish-brownish hue to it though the size will usually differ depending on the size of the animal. For example, the beef liver will be much larger than chicken liver.
The liver is a vital organ for us as well as animals. It is responsible for processing digested food from the gut, storing essential nutrients, and filtering and clearing toxins from the blood. It was once one of the most popular types of food though organ meats aren’t as predominant in our diets as they were ages ago.
They should be though. The liver is perhaps one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can find. The next time you’re at the supermarket or the butcher shop, you should grab some liver to try.
If you’re in Europe, you’ll find livers from stingray and burbot commonly as well. One of the best things about liver is that it is cheap which can help you stretch your grocery budget all while giving you some of the best nutrition you can find.
Before you turn up your nose at the liver, you should know how good it is to add to the plate some of this nutrient-dense organ meat.
The liver offers many vitamins, including B12 in huge amounts, folate, other B vitamins, iron. The liver also offers vitamin A, consumption of which should be watched and not eaten too much of.
Eating liver in moderation can be a wonderful way to enjoy this organ meat.
There are different liver types you’ll find at the butcher shop and your supermarket. A butcher would have a more vast selection and might offer grass-fed liver options, but even your local meat department will likely have beef or chicken liver. Fish liver, including cod livers, is also popular, especially in European cuisine.
The liver tends to be quite cheap in price, making it a budget-friendly choice for getting nutrients in your diet. However, foie gras is a liver type that you’re bound to find on fine-dining menus. Word foie gras means “fatty liver” and is one of the top luxury items, made from duck or goose liver.
With foie gras, these birds are force-fed large amounts of food to enlarge the liver. Some say it’s inhumane, plus this process is quite expensive. Along with the limited supply of duck liver and goose livers, this explains why it fetches a heftier price.
Pâté is another liver type that can be made from almost any kind of liver. It’s more of a spread and is deemed a delicacy. However, not all pâté is made with the liver so do keep that in mind.
And now we’ve come to your biggest question: what does liver taste like? The liver is part flavor and part texture in experience. As this can be subjective depending on who’s doing the tasting, you may find it to have a different flavor than someone else.
Since the liver is rich in vitamins and minerals, some say the beef liver taste lends one of the minerals or even has a metallic taste. But mostly, it has a strong, rich, and intense taste. It can offer a nutty flavor with slightly bitter and a bit pungent notes, and the flavor will be different depending on which animal liver you feast upon.
In addition to being strong and earthy, you may find it almost sweet in a way. But it doesn’t absorb the flavor of the other ingredients you cook it with, and that can be tricky when you’re trying to cook it yourself.
Then there’s the texture. This mouthfeel may either make you instantly love or despise liver on the spot. With cooked liver, because it is a fattier and gummier cut of meat (hence the cheap price), it may come out with a soft and squishy texture. If you know that’s what to expect, it shouldn’t bother you all that much.
But if you take a bite of liver expecting it to have the same texture as filet mignon, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
You don’t have to be a 5-star chef to make a meal out of the liver. This budget cut from the meat department can help you make meals that are both nutritious and delicious. The best ways to cook liver for the best taste are to braise, fry, or broil it in a pan.
Perhaps one of the most common ways of the cooking liver is to make liver and onions. If you’ve been to a diner anywhere in the USA, it’s highly likely you’ve seen liver and onions on the menu. And quite honestly, it is one of the best ways to taste it for the first time.
Beef liver has such a strong flavor and aroma, but cutting it into thin slices and soaking the liver in milk for a few hours, it will make for a much better taste. You can sauté sliced onions with cooking oil, then set them aside while putting your liver into the same pan.
When prepared correctly, the liver should be brown on the outside and slightly pink on the inside.
Some people make fried chicken livers, they coat the liver in flour and then sprinkle it with salt and pepper before throwing it into the pan. This will give it even more of a browned exterior. When it achieves that status, you can top it with those sauteed onions. Bacon goes great with it, though you can leave it out if you’re worried about having too much fat. Serve with mashed potatoes for the best flavor.
You can also prepare your liver with vegetables. In this way, you can braise it and add more nutrition to the meal. It’s best to coat the liver with seasoned flour, then braise in a heavy skillet with chopped onions and celery. Some people use bacon fat for this but you can use a healthier oil.
From there, you can move it to a casserole dish and add some broth to help it along. Beef broth works best with liver though chicken broth can be used too. From there, you can add more veggies like raw carrots and potatoes and bake until the vegetables have been rendered tender.
You can even make your own liver pâté if you desire. This might not be the best way to start with cooking it, though you can always buy it ready to enjoy. Most delicatessens have chopped liver, a wonderful starter for a brunch, or an appetizer to serve guests before a meal. All you need are toast or crackers for serving.
If you want to make your own pâté, it’s easy enough. You’ll cook raw beef liver, combine it with cooked pork, bacon, ham, boiled eggs, minced garlic, butter, and chopped onions. Seasonings are important for pâté too. Usually, salt, cracked pepper, thyme, and allspice are used. If you have a ring mold handy, it makes serving your pâté look elegant.
It can also help you cook your creation over medium heat, keeping it all together. It should be 160F with your meat thermometer when you’re making pâté out of beef, lamb, or pork, and for chicken liver, it should register at 165F. Once it’s ready, you’ll need to chill it prior to serving. However, keep in mind that pâté is truly at its best when you let it get to room temperature.
If you’re still not sure how to make liver taste good, you can turn to your grill. This will give it a juicy texture. Adding onions and mushrooms to the mix is a wonderful idea that will surely make it taste better.
Prior to grilling, pat your liver dry with paper towels prior to brushing it with seasonings. Mixing some oil and vinegar together with mustard and then seasoning with salt and pepper should do the trick.
You’ll want the grill ultra-hot, cooking your liver until it’s done on both sides. As for the onion and mushrooms, drizzle them with some butter and top with sage plus salt and pepper. Then you can serve it with your grilled liver. While it’s not the traditional grilled fare, once you taste it, you may just make it a regular at your backyard barbecues.
Yes, the liver isn’t the most appetizing-looking food on the planet. And while it does have an unusual taste, plenty of people enjoy it. After all, why would liver and onions be a popular menu item across the country if no one ate them?
Learning a few tricks about how to prepare liver so it has the best taste will make it more palatable, and will help you get the best from its nutritional profile every time you eat it.