On Wednesday, I ate part of a dead cow for the first time in approximately sixteen years. Did I love it? No, because liver is not typically a beloved part of the cow to eat. However, it is full of iron, Vitamin A, and assorted B vitamins, plus protein, so it can be a very good thing to include in one's diet. In the past I have worried that I would lose the ability to digest flesh products after so many years of excluding them from my diet, but such was not the case. I can report no digestive problems after two consecutive days of eating some liver, so it seems my organs are doing just fine.
For those of you who ask, doesn't the liver play a major role in the body's processing of toxins? And wouldn't that make it unhealthy to eat? The answers are yes and no. The liver processes toxins so they can be eliminated from the body--it doesn't store them. Liver has been consumed by humans for thousands of years, and is often more prized than the muscles for its nutritional capabilities.
Wednesday was basic liver and onions. Just to make my Dad jealous. Liver was soaked in lemon juice for 2 hours, then rinsed well and trimmed. I coated the pieces in a mixture of whole wheat flour, salt, and pepper, then cooked them in melted butter. I think it got a little overcooked, as it browned so fast. Then I smothered the liver in caramelized onions, and ate it with some sauerkraut and sauteed kale.
Last night, since I couldn't face the prospect of cold leftover liver, I chopped it into bits and stirred it into chili. To make the chili, I chopped up an onion, a carrot, and a sweet potato and started cooking them in a bit of coconut oil. In went a can of diced tomatoes and my spices: chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cinnamon, and cocoa powder (since I was going for a bit of a mole kick). After things had simmered for about 30 minutes, I mixed in some cooked rio zape beans (from Rancho Gordo) and the leftover liver and onions, which I had chopped into small bits. Tasty. Plus, I learned in my nutrition class that consuming heme iron (from animal sources) along with non-heme iron (from vegetable sources) will enhance the absorption of the non-heme iron, especially if there's also some Vitamin C around.