Organic Organ Recipes for Vitamin K2

If you did not grow up eating organs, then like me, you probably find it tricky to make yourself eat them. For inspiration, I have relied on a few things - firstly reading about how immensely nutritionally beneficial it is; secondly, hanging out in culinary cultures where organs do get eaten as a matter of course (especially in France); thirdly, experimenting with ways to make them really tasty so that I am not just doing it hard, facing the slimy viscera unassisted....

Having recently discovered this book about the place of vitamin K2 in calcium regulation, its crucial role not in uptake of calcium but in its regulation and deposition ( teeth and bones rather than in other places in the body where it causes pain and suffering), I am now resolved to eat organs at least once a week, cheeses whenever I can get away with it before hitting the casein-excess wall, AND to chase up my old friend, the ever elusive Natto Miso. Wholefoods stores always used to sell this stuff, but it has become very hard to find in Australia in recent years. It is a fermented soy/rice condiment that is, to my knowledge, the only vegan source of vitamin K2.

That's it folks. These are the only sources of concentrated K2 around. It is the only lipid-soluble vitamin that cannot ever be consumed in excess (ie. researchers have tried to find a toxic level in animal studies and there just doesn't seem to be one). So get as much as you possibly can, seems to be the logical conclusion for anyone dealing with calcium issues (tooth decay and gum health, osteocytes, heel spurs, kidney stones, osteoporosis).

Anglosaxons up until the Second World War ate animal organs often, but the affluent post-war times brought a reaction against the rationed fodder of the dark years, and muscle meat has been the dominant Anglo-Americo-Aussie preference since. We need to turn this around because organs are far more nutritionally dense than muscle meats and it is completely insane to waste them. So, I have an ongoing project of figuring ways to make organs delicious.


Warm Organic Sprouted-Flour Crumbed Chicken Liver Salad

I took some raw organic chicken livers, coated them in some sprouted millet/quinoa/rice flour which I rarely use but comes in handy for this sort of thing. I then sautéed them on low heat in a pan with lots of butter and some cracked pepper, some salt and some turmeric. I turned them over when I could see them starting to look a bit firmer, I think it was about 5 minutes on the first side and about 1 minute on the second side. This produced smaller pieces that were cooked all the way through, but larger pieces that were delicately pink inside and really heavenly.

I threw some organic rocket and mesclun salad in a big bowl, drizzled some really fruity olive oil over it, placed the livers on top and squeezed the juice of half a lemon over them.

This was a breakfast in our house, and two non-habitual liver eaters relished it.

Organic Lamb Livers with Bacon and Zucchini

Problem: how to make oneself eat liver if not accustomed to it? Solution: combine it with the one food that is guaranteed to make ANYTHING taste good.....bacon.

I recently found nice a source of organic lamb's liver. I like eating organs in part too because they are so often thrown away in favour of the blander parts of the animal's flesh. For every 1 liver eaten, a multitude of lambs are slaughtered for their muscle alone. Like a scavenger picking up the scraps, I like the thought that I am making use of the discarded parts, the secret elixir of life, while the fashionable but nutritionally-impoverished muscle meats are chewed away at by the stylish but ignorant.

Lamb liver has a delicate flavour, is a gentle pink tone and a nice size for a 2 person meal. Chris Masterjohn has some helpful advice on keeping the flavour of liver fresh - use grass-fed animal onlys, buy it frozen and use it as soon as it is defrosted.

I soak it for 20 minutes in milk, since casein causes the blood to coagulate so that the liver does not bleed much when cooking.

I remove any tough sinewy bits of membrane as much as possible and cut it into small chunks.

I trim the fat from some bacon (about 200g for every liver) and melt it in a cast-iron pan on low heat, removing the crispy browned parts and nibbling them as I cook, then cooking the chopped bacon meat along with 2 finely chopped green zucchinis in the fat. If it is not already VERY fatty then I add a little butter to it as well. I keep everything LOW temperature. It takes a little longer but is yummier and avoids carcinogenic activity that increases with temperature in dry cooking of saturated fats.

I season with turmeric and black pepper, and in the last minute of cooking I throw in a generous amount of crushed garlic (always left to sit for at least 10 minutes before it goes in the pan).

The livers go in the pan for only a few minutes on each side. As soon as they begin to firm up even a tiny bit, they are done. Turn off the heat and let it all sit for another couple of minutes to integrate the flavours

I serve this on top of butter-lettuce leaves. It is one of those breakfasts that makes lunch seem pretty optional.

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