Meatloaf – one of those iconic, stick to your ribs, hearty, classic American dinners. Always served with a side of mashed potatoes.
Today, we’re upgrading.
I’m always ‘sneaking’ superfoods onto my boys plates. My husband will eat anything (except avocados), bless his gracious heart. Anything, I thought, until I fried up liver and onions one day. It was and has been the only time I did not make my children finish their food, and the only time my husband said, “sorry Darlin, its a no for me too.” It was the worst thing I had ever tasted in my life.
I am a firm believer in ‘you are what you eat.’ I’ll even go as far as to say ‘you are what you eat, ate.’ If you eat crap, you will feel like crap, and treat others like crap. Likewise, if you eat superfoods, you will feel like a superhero, and serve others as such.
Beef liver is an extremely lean form of quality protein. A 100 gram serving of beef liver offers you 30 grams of protein, and only 3-4 grams of fat and all 9 essential amino acids required to build muscle. Within that same 100 grams, you’ll also find 1,176% of your RDA of Vitamin B12 which creates red blood cells, promotes healthy gut flora, and encourages a properly functioning nervous system – to name a few! You will also be benefiting from 634% RDA of your Vitamin A in its pre-formed state which is another way of saying it doesn’t have to go through a conversion process in your body, its already in its most bio available form – and a very rare form to find in this amount in nature. And third, but not definitely the last, or the least, you will get 714% RDA of Copper – which is a very difficult metal to obtain through foods and critical in supporting the balancing of minerals and the production of hormones. Truly, beef liver is a superfood!
We recently bought half a cow from our local farmers, who (and I’m not biased at all) provide us with the most incredible cuts of beef and chicken out there. We are blessed! With that cow came all the fun cuts like tongue and heart – which we adore – but also, that dreaded liver.
I am Dutch, and could not (because of my own failure) deny my family the incredible benefits of one of natures finest superfoods. Knowing the powerhouse of nutrition liver packs, especially for your thyroid (and because I battle hashimotos) I figured, I should at least make it for myself . I am a grin and bear it type of woman after all – I’ll just power through it. However, I dont like to just ‘power through’ meals. I celebrate food at every chance I get. Every meal is an event in my home. I was determined- this liver would be no different.
So I did it. I put my big girl pants on and came up with a way to deliver one of natures most unpalatable, but nutritionally dense, powerful foods, in a delicious, non suspecting, men satisfying, beg for more, MOM THIS IS SO GOOD, veggie packed dinner. And through the perfect vessel – meat loaf. When serving a table of hungry carnivorous men, meat loaf is the pinnacle of foods. Its taking several cuts of meat, adding fat to it, and forming it into a loaf – just so that when you eat leftovers, you can slice it, and fry it up in your cast iron skillet in more fat – like half a stick of butter. That’s a win in my book.
So how to get the stamp of approval on beef liver? Lend me your ear.
- 1 lb grass fed Beef Liver
- 4 tbsp ACV
- 4 cloves Garlic
- 1 whole Onion
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 cups Brown Button Mushrooms
- 1 lb grass fed Beef
- 1/2 cup Golden Flax seeds – ground (if you’re following AIP simply sub 1/3 cup Psyllium husks)
- 2 Eggs (again, if following AIP, simply omit!)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Pepper to taste
- Marinara sauce (optional for topping)
First, the day before you’re going to bake the meat loaf, it is essential that you prepare your liver. Have it defrosted, rinse it well with cool water and place it in a pan. To that liver you will add 4 tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar, 4 crushed garlic cloves, one whole small onion- quartered and your seasonings. You will want to leave the skin on both the garlic and the onion because they hold much more nutrition than the actual flesh of the food. For one example: The skins of the garlic contain six different antioxidant compounds including phenylpropanoid, which fights against the aging process and can protect your heart! So whenever possible, eat those skins! Because we are going to purée this mixture, leaving the skins on will not be a problem.
Let that marinade in the pot overnight. If the marinade requires to sit more than 12 hours before you can get to it, simply store it in the fridge.
Tip: About an hour before you’re ready to bake your meatloaf, is at all possible, place your mushrooms in some direct sunlight. Mushrooms are incredible in the sense that they act as a sponge, and will soak up bio available Vitamin D from those beautiful sun rays, providing you with up to 800 IU specifically when dealing with button mushrooms. The mushrooms will be able to retain 90% of that nutrition after cooking. Amazing!
Once you are ready to bake your meatloaf, on low to medium heat, cook your liver. Once slightly cooled, purée the entire mixture in a blender/food processor. Add in your 2 cups of button mushrooms and pulse until only fine chunks remain.
In a large bowl, add your thawed 1 lb of grass fed beef. Mix in the 2 tbsp of mustard powder, 1/2 flax seeds – ground, 2 eggs and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in your liver mixture slowly (to temper the eggs) until fully combined. Once unified, allow it to sit for 10 minutes to congeal.
Place it in your prepared loaf pan, and top with optional marinara sauce – or your families particular choice of acidic flavors. Sometimes I like to mix sugar free ketchup with some additional ACV, Cayenne pepper and salt. Its yummy!
Bake at 350 for about 60 minutes, or until the interior temperature reads 160 degrees. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes, slice and enjoy!
Tip: We like to drizzle some spicy mustard on top, just to add an additional punch of flavor to the mouth!
P.S. My boys have been asking for meat loaf every meal since – and have absolutely NO idea there are two things they “dont prefere” in there. Liver, and mushrooms. 🙂