Well, the cooler weather of last week has left Vancouver and now we’re back to beautiful, bright, sunny days, albeit a chilly morning start. I don’t know where you are in the world but I can feel Autumn’s imminent arrival and am in the mood for cooking my food slow. I no longer want to think about salads and barbeques, I’m dreaming of stews, casseroles and hot pots. Do you feel the same, I wonder? I’m also more inclined to batch cook on cooler days, there’s nothing like the pull of a warm oven and this recipe is one I’ll be turning to throughout the next couple of seasons since it’s easy, satisfying and freezes like a dream for lazy days ahead. There is no greater culinary thing than a one pot meal and if you loathe washing dishes as much as I do, I’m willing to bet you’ll agree on that!
You do know that organ meat is possibly the closest thing to God’s own pharmacy, don’t you? It is that good for you, experts say we should be eating it at least twice a week and if you don’t believe me then read this post from the Paleo Mom who says “organ meats are the most concentrated source of just about every nutrient, including important vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and essential amino acids”. We eat a lot of liver in our house and I guess I’m lucky as everyone loves it, though personally I will eat anything if I know it’s doing me some good. I hesitated then, to give that statement some careful thought but yep, I really would eat anything if I knew it was doing me good! However, I do appreciate there are people who neither share our taste buds, nor our views on the lengths they would go to for optimum health. Of course one way of eating it is to chop it up into tiny little bits, freeze it and then swallow it down just like you would a pill. Or you could make this recipe!
Don’t look upon this page and think, ‘hurrumph, how dull is that?’. This is comfort food my friends, and comfort is precisely what we are all in search of.
You could, of course, cook this in a slow cooker (which I don’t have), cook it faster on a higher temperature, or on the stove top even. But I like to put it in the oven, close the door and forget all about it, plus I don’t fancy a kitchen full of condensation! I haven’t added garlic to this recipe as my son doesn’t tolerate it well, you on the other hand should feel free to add a couple of crushed fat cloves of the stuff if you can! Now, about that liver. If you truly dislike it, I would be inclined to puree it first, that way it will blend in seamlessly and no one will be any the wiser. Devious, eh?
2 tbsp solid fat, divided
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 large beetroot, grated
2 sticks celery, chopped
310g pastured chicken livers, chopped (or see note above)
900g grass fed beef
3 cups (500ml) beef stock
3 tbsp coconut aminos (I use this one)
2 bay leaves
6 stems fresh thyme
1T fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp salt (I use this one)
Preheat the oven to 250˚F/130˚C.
Heat 1 tbsp fat in a large lidded casserole (Dutch oven), add the onion and sauté on a low heat for approx 8-10 minutes until softened and translucent. Add the celery, carrots and beetroot to the pan and cook a further 5 minutes, then remove everything to a plate and set to one side.
Put the other tablespoon fat into the pan, add the livers and cook 2 minutes on a medium heat. Add the beef and cook for 5 another minutes. Add the reserved vegetables, together with the herbs, stock and coconut aminos. Bring to the boil, cover with the lid and place in the oven. Cook for as long as you possibly can, but for a minimum of 3 hours, checking a couple of times to make sure the sauce is not drying up. I will happily let mine sit in the oven for 5-6 hours, the longer the better, I think, to let all those flavours develop nicely. When it looks and tastes rich and satisfying, you’re good to go!
Remove the bay leaves and leafless thyme stems and serve over courgette ‘noodles’ (zoodles).
4 large courgettes (zucchini)
1 tbsp solid fat
Cut the ends off each courgette and peel the skin if you wish (I didn’t). Using a spiraliser or a julienne peeler, make long ‘noodles’ from each courgette. Heat the fat in a large sauté pan, then add the courgette. Cook for about 5 minutes until tender, or however you like to serve them, being careful not to overcook them or they will break up.