Yum, yum, wait… what? That’s right, we are going there. Liver. Seems like people either love it or hate it. Not much middle ground for the odd bits of the animal. Many of us grew up with liver and onions or liver loaf, but how many of us liked it? I remember loving the smell, but then taking a bite and UGH! So gross. The truth of it is though, those odd bits of the animal can be very nutritious and can be prepared so that they are mighty tasty. The title of this recipe does include bacon, remember?
So what’s so great about liver? Isn’t it just the place all the toxins get filtered and stored? Doesn’t actually sound that great. The answer is yes and no. The liver does filter toxins, but it does not store them. It does store important nutrients like B12 and Vitamin A, and Iron. Of course, healthy animals have healthy organs, so I make sure to source my organ meats from pastured animals. If at all possible, I try to be sure the animals have not been fed soy either.
If you buy your poultry from the store, you will sometimes find the organs and neck in a small pouch inside the cavity. When you remove the pouch, just separate out the organs into jars and pop them into the freezer. You can use the various bits for different dishes. Hearts are mild in flavor and can easily be stir fried into almost any dish; necks can be used for broth; livers can be used for pate, terrines, or in fun appetizers, like the one I am going to share with you, my bacon wrapped liver poppers. If you do not have a source for organ meat, I suggest buying it from a reputable online source such as US Wellness Meats.
Bacon Wrapped Liver Poppers Recipe
- 4 oz chicken livers
- Coconut oil, lard or bacon fat for frying
- 12 oz thinly sliced bacon
- ⅓ cup ricotta cheese
- ⅓ cup organic cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
- ¼ cup raw shredded cheddar cheese (or your favorite type)
- 15-20 small medium peppers (you can use spicy or sweet varieties)
- Wooden skewers (optional)
- Begin by prepping the peppers. Cut off the stems, cut the pepper about halfway down lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Remember, the seeds hold the heat so wash your hands after you are done!
- In a medium bowl, blend together the ricotta and cream cheeses. I like my immersion blender for this. Stir in the shredded cheese. Put aside.
- Cut chicken livers into cubes. The pieces will need to fit into your pepper with room for cheese, so the size will vary depending on the size of the peppers. Be sure to cut off any stringy or tough spots.
- Fry the livers in the fat of your choice until just browned on all sides.
- Using a teaspoon, your fingers, or a pastry bag, put a layer of cheese mixture into a pepper.
- Place a piece of liver on top of the cheese, and top it with another layer of cheese.
- Take a strip of bacon and wrap the pepper. I found that I had enough bacon to wrap it once the length of the pepper, and then again a few times around the width. If needed, use a toothpick to keep the bacon from unwrapping.
- Stick skewers through the end for easier serving, if desired. It helps to pre-soak the skewers in water so they don’t burn in the oven
- Place all wrapped peppers on a cookie sheet and place into a cold oven. Turn heat to 400°F and bake for 20 minutes or until bacon is done to your liking.
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