Did you know liver is the best food for rebuilding from depression? I didn’t know either. But I read the book, and decided that it was worth a try to get more liver in my diet. The book is really good. The author cites her sources and there isn’t anything in there that’s really outlandish or not in line with current nutritional thinking. What the book does is tie it all up for you in a nice little easy to understand package.
There’s just one little problem: I really dislike liver. I thought about what it is I dislike and settled on texture and flavor. I decided that this problem could be solved by grinding the liver with hamburger and making something with a lot of spices. Kibbeh seemed to be the likeliest way to go.
First, I bought organic beef liver from Whole Foods Market. My preference is meat from New Seasons Market, but I happened to be at Whole Foods. It came sliced, and the container was 0.8 lbs. Using the meat grinder attachment on my KitchenAid mixer, I ground the liver. This looked really gross, btw. To this I added one onion (pre-chopped in a food processor), 1/2 tsp-ish fresh ground pepper, 2 tsp. cumin and 2 tsp. allspice, and about 1/2 tsp salt. Stir. Then I ran it through the grinder a second time with one pound of very lean ground beef. While the meat was slooooowly working its way through the grinder, I was boiling one cup of bulgur wheat in two cups of water for around 10 minutes, and then I turned off the heat. Once the meat was ready, I layered meat, bulgur (straining off extra water), meat, and bulgur. I drizzled extra virgin olive oil on top and baked it for around 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
The verdict: quite tasty. It had a kind of flat flavor to it (I can’t really describe it, it wasn’t bland at all with all the seasoning) which I assume is the liver. It needed something tangy to offset this, so next time I plan to use a recipe that has tamarind paste in it, or else serve it with a lemon-juice heavy tabbouleh. Another alternative would be to squeeze lemon juice on top before serving.
All in all, I’d say attempt no. 1 at getting more liver in our diet was a success. While the liver was noticeable at the quantity I used (almost 1:1 with the ground beef) it wasn’t objectionable in flavor or texture. Of course, I prefer kibbbeh MORE without the liver addition, but the goal here is to eat the liver so this is a decent disguise. Also, Theo the cat really liked it too, he jumped on the counter and was tearing in to it before he got busted. :-/
Liver Kibbeh a la Claire
Between 0.5 and 1 lb of beef liver
1 lb lean ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp (many grinds, in my case) fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp (or more to taste, we are low sodium in our house) salt
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground allspice
1 cup bulgur, cooked
See above for rough instructions