Chopped Liver: It's What's (Should Be) For Dinner (From Time to Time)
“What am I … chopped liver?”....
Certainly you've heard the colloquialism; a rhetorical question that implies you are being ignored, dissed, slighted, avoided or downright disliked by someone.
The expression gained popularity because, well, most people do not like liver.
While it’s true that liver is an acquired taste, eaten on occasion, organ meats like chicken liver can be a healthy addition to the diet, provided the livers come from Glatt kosher sources.
Here’s why liver is good for you….
You’ve likely heard of water- and fat-soluble vitamins, but perhaps you’re not sure of what exactly that means. Vitamins like C and those in the B complex are utilized by the body (how effectively is dependent upon bio-individuality); excess water-soluble vitamins are eliminated in the urine.
Fat soluble vitamins, on the other hand, are stored in the body’s liver and fatty tissues. Chicken liver is especially rich in vitamin A, which is often difficult, in its pure form, to get enough of in the diet. Carrots contain beta-carotene, which converts into vitamin A, but it is not a direct, potent source of vitamin A like liver.
Unlike water-soluble vitamins, which need more replenishing through diet, fat-soluble vitamins, because they are stored, require less consumption, which is why most people who eat liver, do so infrequently.
Why non-Jews should also eat kosher liver
The liver is a miraculous organ. Among its thousands of tasks involved in the chemical alchemy of nutrient processing, the liver is also the major detoxification organ. Toxins are stored in the liver (and fatty tissues). In healthy people, toxins are excreted through the stool, but in people burdened with chronic disease, detoxification can be lethargic and ineffective.
Obviously, if you eat kosher, you’re only going to purchase kosher liver. But it’s worth mentioning that in kashrut laws, there can be no toxicity in the animal, because of the fact that the liver is the storage house for toxins. This reinforces the wisdom of kosher laws.
Still, it’s prudent to purchase kosher grass-fed beef and pasture-raised poultry from smaller, independent, non-factory farmed sources, and the only purveyor of such kosher meat the Miracle Noodle team has found is KOL Foods, which was created in 2007 to provide truly organic, sustainable, kosher meat. KOL sells a pound of raw chicken liver on its website for $8.49.
Another fat-soluble vitamin that’s found in liver is vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant and crucial for eye health as well as providing protection to cells (it helps form structure to cell membranes), to name a couple benefits.
Other vitamins, minerals and trace minerals in liver
Organ meats like liver contain vitamins and minerals not often found in the muscle belly of popular cuts like the thigh, breast or ribs. Here’s a partial list of other nutrients found in liver:
- --vitamin B12
- --vitamin C
Old world chopped liver recipes
The gourmet website, Epicurious.com, has an excellent and simple recipe for chopped liver. Robert Sternberg, who covers Yiddish cuisine for the website, recommends only using chicken liver. He says the flavors of beef and calf liver are too intense, especially for those that want to give liver a try for the first time.
Second rule, according to Sternberg: only cook with schmaltz. [Read ‘Schmaltz is Healthy’ on the Miracle Noodle Kosher Blog.] Do not cook with vegetable oil. The amount of schmaltz in the recipe is the equivalent of only a dab of butter, for those who are concerned about dietary fat intake and cholesterol.
Also, don’t use a food processor to chop the onions or other ingredients you plan on serving the chopped liver with. Sternberg says the chopped liver should not look like a purée or pâté.
Finally, eat only small portions, i.e. on special occasions like yom tovs.
Occasionally add chopped liver to your diet; eat Miracle Noodle often & save money!
Get adventurous and creative with your kosher cooking. Miracle Noodle is an excellent substitute for traditional chicken noodle soup.
Eat all the noodles you want without the guilt.
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