We enjoy every part of the animal: sirloins… roasts… ribs… but also liver, heart, tongue and kidney! Organs might be out of your comfort zone, but they can provide vital nutrition and taste for those daring to try.
First let’s take a step back and consider the basic functions of the liver and kidney. Each of these organs filter and regulate nutrients in the body. They clean blood and eliminate waste; thus, it makes sense that these organs would be a storehouse of nutrients. When considering liver, just one 3 ounce serving can achieve your whole daily target of vitamins A and B12, copper, and many other nutrients. Vitamin A plays a key role in strong vision and bodily immunity. Insufficient B12 can lead to something as serious as a nervous system disorder. These vitamins are no joke!
As the body’s filters, these two organs are strongly affected by the health of the animal. To truly reap the rewards of these incredibly nutritious cuts, it’s essential to get your liverwurst or kidney stew from healthy animals that haven’t eaten toxins in the first place.
As some of the most viscerally recognizable muscles, tongue and heart often take a bit more gumption to enjoy. But if you can get past their distinct exteriors, you’re rewarded with a truly unique meat. In fact, most other cultures covet the heart and tongue—making it the centerpiece of dishes. In cuisines across Argentina, Japan, France, and beyond, these organs can often be found on the menu. At Spain’s Celler de Can Roca, the reigning champion of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, pigeon heart takes center stage in the penultimate course of their tasting menu. Right here in Boston, a quick trip to Anna’s Taqueria gives you a choice between steak, chicken, and lengua (Spanish for “tongue”).
As long as you’re confident in the source of your meat, there is a lot to be gained from trying these cuts. Whether it’s nutrients from liver, or street cred from eating heart, we invite you to take a walk on the wild side.
Here are a few great recipes we’ve enjoyed trying:
Beef Kidney Stew (NYTimes
Liver & Bacon Saute (Good Food)
BBQ Beef Tongue (NYTimes)
Bourbon Chicken Liver Pate (Epicurious)