Chopped Liver Paté

Leila left us a recipe for liver paté:

This is my new (ok, only) favorite way to eat liver …

Today I had some for dinner on rice crackers – yum!… It took about 15 minutes to make, not counting the soaking time.

We tried it last weekend for the Super Bowl, and it was excellent.

Ingredients

We would recommend beef or lamb liver (not pork liver – see the upcoming conclusion to the pork series) from a naturally pastured and fed animal. Chicken liver is also good, but again should be from a healthy naturally raised animal. We don’t normally insist on grassfed for most cuts, but it’s worth insisting on grassfed when you eat liver. The liver is a detoxification organ and unhealthy animals can easily have livers that are rich in toxins and inflammatory molecules.

Supporting that judgment, we have found that grassfed beef livers have a noticeably better taste than conventional livers. Fortunately, organ meats are inexpensive even from organic farmers. We typically pay $4.99 per pound for grassfed beef liver. (Here is the price list of a Massachusetts farm we’ve bought from recently).

Leila’s trick is to soak the liver in milk beforehand, which helps remove things like blood that may contribute to a bad taste.

Here are our ingredients:

This was 1/2 lb (225 g) of liver. This is an appropriate amount of beef liver for two people to eat in a week. The liver has been sliced into pieces 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick, and is soaking in milk. Other ingredients are an onion and boiled egg; 4 tbsp butter plus a similar amount of coconut oil; and cilantro. Leila used kimchi in place of the cilantro, for a spicier flavor.

Preparation

After soaking the liver for an hour or so in milk, discard the milk. Brown the liver slices in the butter, cooking 3-4 minutes per side on relatively low heat:

Remove the liver when it has been browned on all sides and add diced onion.

Then put everything – the cooked liver, cooked onion, cooking fluids from the pot, boiled egg, coconut oil, and cilantro – into a blender and purée. The result:

Serve with rice crackers:

Conclusion

This still has a bit of a liver taste, but tastes really good to us. There’s room to experiment with ingredients; Leila writes:

I’ll probably use more kimchee next time to make it a bit spicier, and more onion.

We recommend consuming in the range 1/4 to 1/2 lb (100 to 200 g) ruminant (beef, lamb, or goat) liver per week for copper, vitamin A, phospholipids, and other nutrients. This eliminates any need for copper supplementation, and provides a great bounty of other nutrients.

If you eat more than ½ lb (200 g) per week of ruminant liver, copper toxicity becomes a real danger. If you intend to eat liver in larger quantities, switch to chicken liver once your ruminant liver intake gets above 150 g or so in a week. Finally, we recommend avoiding pork liver, for reasons we’ll get to in the next (or next two) science posts.

Leave a comment ?

84 Comments.

  1. I just finished making this recipe! Bravo Leila! The best pate I’ve made thus far!

  2. We have been making this and eating it as a part of our weekly liver intake. In my opinion, it is the only palatable way to eat liver (I even tried to grind it and add it to beef for shepherd’s pie – but all that did was make the entire dish taste like liver). I’ve been hard pressed to find rice crackers that are 1. Made with white rice instead of brown OR 2. They contain white rice, but then have some extra items like Soy or other oils. Amazon has come up blank for me in the way of rice crackers (that won’t cost me $67) – any ideas or brands?

    • Hi Chelsea,

      We have the same problem — Whole Foods for instance stocks brown rice snaps with no oil, and white rice flour crackers made with safflower oil. We’ll just have to wait for PHD to get more popular I guess, someone will eventually make a PHD compatible cracker. In the meantime we figure the dose of safflower oil or brown rice toxins is low and buy the available items.

  3. I am trying to learn to eat liver, I just finished your book, and this recipe turned out great! After I made it I was even a little scared to try the first bite, but once I did I started chowing down!

  4. hi Paul, what’s your opinion on foie gras? Would you consider those as liver of “sick” animals and potentially toxic ?

    • Hi Hayek,

      Good question. I’m not sure what the answer is. “Fatty liver” is OK but you don’t want full-blown fibrosis and inflammation. I think if it tastes good, it’s probably good for you.

  5. Can this be frozen? I just purchased 1lb of grassfed beef liver and would like to make this into a pâté but this would be a month supply for me but don’t want it to go bad.

  6. Relentless Roger - pingback on March 8, 2013 at 7:32 pm
  7. Perfect Health Diet Meal Plan | Catholic Mom Apologia - pingback on July 23, 2013 at 4:26 pm
  8. i used curry leaves instead of thyme and did not need to use so much butter as most recipes say , enjoy great eating.

  9. Blueberry Balsamic Beef Liver Pâté (Paleo, AIP, FODMAP-free) - pingback on November 1, 2013 at 8:00 am
  10. Hi, I recommend removing the eggs and replace it with canned anchovies, i think that takes away the liver taste. Than it resembles the taste of leverpastej that is a very popular to have on sandwiches in Sweden.

  11. I avoid dairy because it (the casein I assume) stuffs up my sinuses. Any alternative to soaking the liver in milk?

  12. My understanding is that Paul soaks the liver in milk just for taste considerations. So if, (like me :) ), you don’t mind the taste of liver without soaking it in milk…you’re good to go.

  13. Thanks. I wonder if there is some non-dairy stuff (coconut milk maybe?) that might similarly pull out some of the strong liver taste. But maybe I should just try it without that step and see if I’m okay with the stronger liver flavor.

    • See my recipe below. Chicken livers have a much more delicate flavour and the garlic and pepper really overpowers it. The end result is just a rich meaty / garlicky / herb flavour, almost like a very strongly flavoured beef burger patty. Yum!

  14. You should try adding garlic (about 6 to 8 medium cloves) thyme (about 2 teaspoons) and tarragon (about 2 tablespoons), a bit of salt and a heap of pepper. I’ve been using chicken livers, all that plus 1 x finely sliced onion and a bit of butter to make my pate. After reading the list of ingredients in supermarket pate products and tasting what I can make for myself I don’t I’ll ever buy pate from a supermarket again.

  15. Are rice cakes healthy/safe to eat? It’s just that since I learnt that breakfast cereals are not healthy because of the extrusion process, I thought rice crackers are similar.

    • Hi Claire, the industrial processed forms are not as healthy as the natural whole foods, like white rice cooked at home. But sometimes convenience is more important that perfect healthfulness. We’ll eat commercial rice crackers or rice cakes from time to time.

  16. Paul, first thanks so much for this recipe, we have made it loads of times and love it. This is our favourite hack which I think would be good for people who don’t like liver much (not us). Living In Singapore, we constantly exposed to spices and curries .

    Curried Lamb Liver Pate:
    Marinate the lamb in milk as in Paul’s and sauté the liver as above
    Blend the onions together with chili, ginger (and/or galangal) and garlic
    When onions are translucent, add a curry powder ground with your favourite spices – coriander, cumin, turmeric, fenugreek, cinnamon, Szechuan pepper, fennel seed, star anise and white pepper corns is what I use – and brown for a further couple of mins.
    Add everything to food processor with coriander leaves and coconut cream.
    Chill then enjoy…. :wink:

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