There is nothing genius or original about this idea: take a food that many (er, most?) people think is unsavory yet believe it is very good for them, and try to hide it in a more popular food item. Liver is tops on many people’s lists.
The best source of B complex vitamins, iron, folate, copper, and other trace minerals, liver is one of the most nutrient dense foods out there. Although hugely important for pregnant or nursing mothers, everyone can benefit by working some organ meats into their cooking routine.
In my house, the days are mostly gone when my kids would gobble up liver and onions. And while they’ll still eat sauteed heart (oh yes, I’m serious), I must hide liver in a variety of things. Check out my post for liver-dip, which is popular in the warmer months.
This time, it was meatballs. While I’ve done this many times in the past, never had I gotten the ratio so exactly right so that the liver was truly hidden, though present enough to enhance nutrition. I served the meatballs at my daughter’s 2 year birthday party, to about 20 unsuspecting family members and friends. And you know what? I got compliment after compliment on how good the meatballs were! All of the kids ate meatball subs with cheese and got little nutrition boosts into their systems, along with the adults. I looked on from the sidelines with my little secret. Only at the end of the party did we tell some of the guests. I guess the rest will find out soon enough now!
Without further ado, here’s the recipe that worked for me. Be aware that I was making a large batch for a party, so you may want to reduce the amounts to meet your needs.
- 4 lbs ground grass-fed beef
- 1/3 lb liver
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp dried parsely
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1tsp salt
- 1 cup grated cheese
Step one: Puree raw liver in food processor. This is very important! If there are chunks, it can be hard to mix well into the meatballs
Step two: Puree onion and garlic in food processor
Step three: Mix the ground beef, liver and onion/garlic together with your hand. Yes, your clean hand. No kitchen tool that I’ve met can be as thorough and efficient at mixing meatballs or meatloaf as humans first tool. This is the way my grandmother did it, and her meatballs were outstanding also. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
Step four: Form into balls and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes. Then, put into a pot of homemade sauce to finish cooking and incorporate the flavor of the sauce.