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Grass-Fed Beef Liver Pate

grass-fed beef liver pate

Liver.

Before you snarl your nose, hear me out.

I’ll be honest. Taste-wise, liver is not my favorite food.

But on a nutritional scale of 1-10, it gets an 11. And since nutritionally there are literally no foods that can take its place, liver is something I’ve learned to incorporate into my diet – and I think you should, too.

Think of it like a veggie phobic getting my “Veggies: Eat Them Because You Want To, Not Because You Have To” ebook and deciding that kale can have a place in their menu – at least, sometimes.

My culinary adventures with liver started well over a decade ago after reading Sally Fallon’s excellent book, Nourishing Traditions.

I did not grow up eating liver, so everything about it was just – weird. The texture, the flavor, the color…

But over time, I’ve continually experimented and found that liver can actually be, dare I say it, GOOD.

I’m still not much of a fan of straight-up liver (unless it’s chicken liver, lightly sauteed in lots of butter and served with mustard), but liver pate is pretty damn delicious.

If you’re new to the land of liver, I highly suggest starting with chicken liver, due to its mild taste and delicate texture.

Beef liver, especially from a full-grown animal, has a much stronger flavor. (It is, however, richer in nutrients than chicken liver, especially when you source it from grass-fed cows. Funny how that works out.)

If you’ve been dragging your feet to try offal, suck it up and make this grass-fed beef liver pate. Okay? You can always make a mini batch just in case!

At the very least, you’ll have a good story to tell your friends. (Remember that time I tried beef heart?)

Grass-Fed Beef Liver Pate

Ingredients

  • 1 lb grass-fed beef liver (or pasture-raised chicken liver)
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 4 Tbsp ½ stick butter (from grass-fed cows)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 4 oz heavy whipping cream (ideally from grass-fed cows)

Instructions

  1. With a paper towel, pat any excess moisture off the liver. Sprinkle with salt, thyme, pepper, then the arrowroot powder (arrowroot is a gluten-free alternative to flour).
  2. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add butter.
  3. Cook liver until lightly browned on both sides. Transfer to the food processor.
  4. Meanwhile, add onions to the skillet. Cook until lightly browned and soft.
  5. Add heavy cream to deglaze the pan (scraping up any caremelized bits with a metal spatula).
  6. Transfer contents of pan to the food processor.
  7. Process/pulse until you have a nice, thick pate. Taste test and add additional salt if needed.
  8. Transfer to small mason jars, ensuring no air bubbles are present. Use within 1 week or freeze jars for later use.

how to make grass fed liver pate

How to use grass-fed beef liver pate:

  • The classic way to eat pate is smeared on crackers or bread (if you go this route, go heavy on the pate!).
  • If you eat grain-free or low carb, try it on slices of cucumber or kohlrabi – or even serve it as a dip with an array of fresh vegetables (like you would with hummus). I think it’s delicious with fresh carrots.
  • Not a fan of straight-up pate? Mix a few tablespoons into any recipe that uses ground meat. For example, try adding it to lasagne or meatloaf (You’ll notice the Grass-fed Beef Meatballs and Low-Carb Shepherd’s Pie recipes in my book, Real Food for Gestational Diabetes, feature liver).

grass-fed beef liver pate with carrots

Nutritional benefits of liver pate:

Liver is extremely rich in vitamin A (the real stuff), choline, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, folate, and a whole host of other nutrients crucial to health, especially for pregnant women and women who are trying to conceive (as I explain in excruciating detail in Real Food for Gestational Diabetes).

And yes, contrary to outdated prenatal nutrition advice, liver is safe to eat during pregnancy.

Pregnant or not, even a few tablespoons of liver pate per week is hugely beneficial to your health.

Before you head out to the butcher, I’d love to hear from you:

  • Have you tried making liver or liver pate?
  • What’s your take – delicious or not?

Until next week,

Lily

PS – Wondering why I’m so insistent on using liver from grass-fed/pasture-raised animals? Read this.

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Category: Healthy Recipes
{ 31 comments… add one }
  • Courtney July 14, 2015, 10:12 am

    I’ve tried to make liver twice this year. I have not been able to tolerate it yet. I’m sure it’s a mental block, so I will give this recipe a try when I decide to try again. Luckily my boyfriend is an adventurous eater and ate what I couldn’t. I made the meatballs from your book and he said it’s his second favorite thing I’ve cooked!

    • Lily July 14, 2015, 3:42 pm

      I hear you. It can take some getting used to. You might like liver in small amounts in a recipe that includes more spices, like these Indian Spiced Stuffed Bell Peppers. Try adding just 1-2 oz per pound of ground meat until you become accustomed to the taste or switch to chicken liver. Good luck. (And glad your hubby liked the meatball recipe!)

  • jake3_14 July 14, 2015, 11:27 am

    I’m not a fan of paté, so I mix 1/2 lb. of pureed liver into a batch of 2 meatloaves every few weeks. Everyone who’s tasted it (except my wife, who lives on fast food) has liked the earthiness that the liver adds to the dish, especially with a homemade sriracha sauce.

    • Lily July 14, 2015, 3:44 pm

      Sounds yummy, Jake! I make a similar meatloaf recipe. The nice thing about pate is I can make it in big batches and freeze it. Then when I’m ready to make meatloaf, I can just defrost a jar and mix it right in to the meatloaf. #lazycook

  • Cassie Tran July 14, 2015, 1:50 pm

    Ewwwww liver! XD lol JK–this doesn’t even look like liver! This looks super tasty!
    Can you please explain to me what arrowroot is? Is it really healthy?

    • Lily July 14, 2015, 3:49 pm

      Arrowroot starch is obtained from the root of a tropical plant. I use it here as a gluten-free replacement for flour. It caramelizes upon cooking, which adds to the flavor and also helps thicken the pate. It’s not something I’d seek to eat in large quantities – it’s pretty much pure starch – but it’s fine in small amounts in recipes like this.

  • TT July 14, 2015, 1:56 pm

    Funny you should blog about this now, Lily, as I’ve been obsessed with liver for the last few months, trying to figure out how to eat it in a non-disgusting way. I’ve found a method that seems to work. I mix 1 pound ground lamb with 1/4 pound ground beef liver, and I find that that way, I can barely taste the liver. But I’ve recently discovered that if I use chicken liver, I can tolerate more of it, so I mix 3/4 pound ground lamb with 1/2 lb. ground chicken liver. So question for you. Given that beef is more nutritious than chicken, but chicken is more tolerable so I can eat more of it, what’s better — 1/4 lbs. beef liver or 1/2 lb. chicken liver?

    • Lily July 14, 2015, 3:58 pm

      Liver is nutrient-dense from all animals, but you could do a nutrient comparison using a free nutrition database, such as nutritiondata.com, to decide if you want to switch. Both are great options, but off the top of my head, grass-fed beef liver is richer in B12, choline, and omega-3 (and has far fewer omega-6).

  • Joni July 17, 2015, 8:51 am

    Chicken liver curry is probably one of my favorite dishes right now and I look forward to eating it every week. Cherry tomatoes, curry spices, caramelized onions, ginger, garlic and fresh cilantro makes it taste wonderful and the burst of energy you get afterwards is even better, indicating how nutritious it really is 🙂

    • Lily July 17, 2015, 8:54 am

      That sounds so yummy, Joni.

  • Mike July 21, 2015, 1:37 pm

    Lily,

    I’m one that can tolerate liver or heart just pan fried, but I’ve been looking for a pate recipe to try – your’s looks pretty good. I have a couple of questions. You mention lightly browning the liver – so liver is still pink inside (like med or med rare?) Secondly, what’s the concern about air bubbles?

    • Lily July 21, 2015, 2:51 pm

      Hi Mike,
      I personally like liver cooked to medium, but you can pan-fry to your preference for this recipe. Pate is very forgiving.

      Removing air bubbles prevents off-flavors from developing. This is most important if you make a large batch and freeze extra for later.

  • DW July 24, 2015, 9:09 am

    Would it be alright to omit the heavy cream? I think I can do butter in my diet, but not cream…

    • Lily July 25, 2015, 8:36 am

      Yes. You’ll need either some liquid or more butter to help deglaze the pan and get the right consistency.

      • Joe June 25, 2018, 10:59 am

        Coconut oil instead of extra butter at the end in place of HWC is a good way to switch up the fats for the right consistency.

  • Dawn Carroll August 2, 2015, 7:49 pm

    I would just bet there isn’t too many that have had fresh liver from a grass fed bovine…much more tasty than store bought crap…I cook the fresh beef liver I get with some bacon, butter, & Walla Walla sweet onions topped with a bit of mayo or home made fry sauce

  • Holly August 9, 2015, 10:50 am

    I just made this with grass-fed liver. It’s much more mild than I thought. I’ll eat grass-fed liver anyway,as it’s not as strong as conventional.
    Anyway, thanks for recipe. A lot of them call for liquor, etc. that I don’t have on hand all the time. I had all of the ingedients and ate about a quarter of it with some cucumbers. It was very good:)

    • Lily August 9, 2015, 4:08 pm

      Glad you liked it, Holly. Yeah, I developed this recipe without liquor or wine, since many of my clients either can’t tolerate sulfites (from wine) or choose not to drink. It’s nice to have another option that still tastes good. 🙂

  • Sarah November 18, 2015, 11:17 am

    This is the best recipe I’ve ever used for pate. I’m fortunate enough to have grass-fed liver from our own steer every year, and usually I just pan-fry a slice in butter for a quick breakfast or lunch (talk about fast food!), but this pate is simply too delicious to not take the few extra minutes to prepare.
    Thank you for sharing!

    • Lily November 18, 2015, 2:39 pm

      Thanks for letting me know how much you love it, Sarah! And how lucky you are to be able to harvest a grass-fed steer each year. 🙂

  • Marica March 16, 2016, 1:14 pm

    Hi, great writing!
    After being vegetarian for 10 years and breastfeeding my son 18 months I needed to realize I need to eat meat, bone broth, liver, etc.. to remineralize my teeth. Not easy but I choose to be healthy! I did grow up eating liver but never was my favorite. Goose liver pate ont the other hand: MY FAVORITE!
    So I am going to try your recipe with grass fed beef and eat it up for my health! 😉 Thank you!

    • Lily March 17, 2016, 11:45 am

      I hope you enjoy it, Marica, and cheers to restoring your health with real food. 🙂

  • Becky March 25, 2017, 10:13 am

    Just made this. My husband is anemic due to Chemo. Just what the Dr. ordered. I did NOT have a food processor so I used my old blender. Turned out fantastic. DELISH!

    • Lily March 25, 2017, 1:08 pm

      Awesome to hear, Becky! The iron in liver is very well-absorbed, so grass-fed beef liver pate is indeed “just what the doctor ordered.” 😉

  • Ann March 29, 2017, 9:40 am

    I love all livers! Even though foie gras tastes great, I don’t like the way the poor geese are force fed.

    I buy beef liver in a chunk, not pre-sliced at a local market. They have locally grown meats and poultry that are fresh, not previously frozen. I can than cut it any way I want. My personal favorite is cutting the liver into 1.25″ steaks, adding a dry rub, then pan-searing in the oven with butter, like I do my steaks. Rare!!! Delicious and oh so fork-tender! I hated liver when I was a kid because it was always tough. The reason being is that we kids didn’t want to eat anything bloody, including steak so my Mom indulged us and cooked it all well done. Of course it was tough as an old pair of boots’ leather. She ate hers rare. When I finally got into my teens and started eating rare steak, I knew what I had been missing.

    Liver fajitas are a hit with my friends. Liver and onions are just too plain plus onions, even cooked, can be an issue for my gut. Need to spice it up with some hot peppers (I can handle those, no problem!), salsa, cheese, sour cream, etc. Sizzle, sizzle!

    I had some leftover pan-seared liver and decided to boil it down. Wasn’t sure what I was going to make but had a vague pate in mind. So I added onion, garlic, black pepper, thyme, bay, fennel seed, a bit of balsamic, soy sauce, butter. I added more liquid and decided to add 1.5 slices of several days-old pumpernickel bread. Wow! That tasted great as it cooked. After I hit the mix with the stick blender, I put it in the fridge. It set up nicely. That bread did not detract from the liver flavor at all. Served it with some homemade plum and orange chutney, horseradish, spicy mustard, marmalade, and minced green onion. I’ll have to make that again!

    Liver lovers unite! Lol!

    • Lily March 29, 2017, 1:47 pm

      All great ideas, Ann. I’ll have to give the liver fajitas a try!

  • April July 21, 2017, 9:47 am

    I made this today, 1/4 the recipe to see if I liked it… not bad! Tasted very good. Added extra garlic & had to add a little more liquid but it turned out very good.

    • Lily July 24, 2017, 6:57 am

      “Not bad” means “kinda good” for liver, haha. Glad you liked it!

  • Karen March 18, 2018, 3:25 pm

    A little trick I learned was to soak the liver overnight in lemon juice before cooking. Cuts some of the flavor. Makes it way more edible.

  • Susan May 20, 2018, 11:55 pm

    I add bacon to my recipe, I fry it up first , then the onions in the fat, then the liver in that. I do add butter and also heavy cream. But I add rosemary and thyme when cooking and when pureeing I add a huge dollop of Dijon mustard. Then it goes in the fridge to harden a bit. Only way I can choke this down.

  • Donna September 6, 2018, 2:59 pm

    Lily
    Both my husband and I love liver however the “cholesterol “ scare made us rethink. We enjoy pate with a glass of wine SO I am going to wing your recipe using wild venison liver. However I’m going to soak it in buttermilk for at least 12 hours. Wish me luck!

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