Conjure an image of a caveman on the hunt, ok? Now picture him and his tribe nabbing it, the mammoth or whatever. What next? Do they carefully butcher the thing, discard the fat and squabble over who gets the USDA prime cuts? No! They consume the most nutrient-dense bits first: the organ meat. Later, you'd find them crunching on cartilage or sucking marrow out of bones. In fact, the flesh-meat was least valuable and was used in stews or cured for long term storage for hard times.
Fast forward. There we are at the modern butcher counter asking for boneless, skinless chicken breast. Boneless? Skinless? I'm certain our forebears would have declared this profane. Organ meats are the best, most nutritious parts of the animal.
There are problems associated with excess meat consumption, i.e. stagnation, toxicity, poor digestive function, cancer. But weigh that against the mixed deficiency we see in our culture, i.e. weakness, nutrient deficiency, atrophy, autoimmune disease, cancer. An organic plant-based diet including fermented food balanced with occasional consumption of pasture-raised organ meats and broths made from tendon and bone is a good general diet for humans. This can be refined by understanding our Ayurvedic constitution and ancestral heritage.
Those who were not raised eating organ meats sometimes experience a difficult adjustment. Chicken livers are probably the most palatable "starter" organs. They are iron-rich and nourish blood, containing all nine amino acids, some in quite high levels. One serving of livers contains 100% RDA of vitamin A and an impressive dose of 4 of the much-needed B vitamins. That's helpful for those who wish to support vision, the immune system, brain, nervous system and muscles.
Below is a simple recipe to help you get your caveman on--with refined elegance. It's delicious and easy, a gateway recipe for would-be organ meat eaters. It is quick to prepare and costs about a fifth of what you would pay for pate in the store. Remember, the storebought stuff is on the no-no list for pregnant cave-ladies, but the fresh and homemade stuff is safe because you have better control over freshness and kitchen hygiene than they do in the factory.
Once you get the hang of pate, you might find yourself dicing up pork heart to mix into meatballs. You might start thinking about how to extract the collagen and minerals from bones into your soup stock. You might make friends with a hunter and slow-stew a bear paw. If you do that last one, please invite me over. I'm almost always hungry.
Cavegirl Chicken Liver Pate
1 stick butter
1 small onion, diced small
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2-3/4 lb chicken livers
2 teaspoons brandy
salt and pepper
handful parsley, chopped
handful dill, chopped
Prep onion and garlic, wash livers. In a frying pan, melt half of the butter. On low heat, saute onion. Do not brown or caramelize. When onion becomes translucent, add garlic and bay leaf and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Add chicken livers, cook 5-10 minutes or until nicely browned. Stir in mustard.
Measure brandy (or cooking sherry in a pinch) by the teaspoon. Holding spoon over pan, use a lighter to ignite the alcohol, pouring it into the pan. Let it flame for a few seconds to burn off the alcohol and then extinguish by blowing it out or covering the pan.* Repeat with second portion of brandy. Remove from heat. Salt and pepper as desired.
Pour everything in the blender with the rest of the butter, parsley and dill. Puree until smooth. Turn out into terrine or ramekin and refrigerate. Serve chilled on crusty bread or crackers. Or, my favorite, spread on toast in the morning and topped with a fried egg.
*When playing with fire in the kitchen, always keep a tightly-fitting lid handy to quickly extinguish the flames if necessary.