Monday, May 20, 2013

It pays to get to know your farmer!

A couple of weekends ago I was at my public market and visited one of my local vendors. I typically refer to him as 'The yogurt guy,' as he's the one that I get my wonderful, grass fed, cream-top yogurt (it's the Ithaca Dairy Company yogurt). We got to talking and happened to start discussing offal. That's right... organ meats.  I mentioned that more people should try organ meats and that they taste great, when cooked right. He said that one of his personal favorites was lamb liver. I told him that I'd never tried it before and wasn't sure where I could obtain it. He said that he could bring some for me the next weekend and that it'd be no trouble.

With all of that being said, my recipe for this week involves lamb liver. It doesn't quite have that in your face, "I'm liver!" flavor that beef has. So don't be put off just yet. Take a chance and try it!

Hidden Liver Bolognese

  • 1 lb lamb livers
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 10 oz baby spinach
  • 16 oz sliced mushrooms 
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28 oz can tomato puree
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tap dried thyme
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • salt/pepper, to taste
  • splash of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 spaghetti squash, cut in half and seeds removed
  • olive oil
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rub the meaty sides of the spaghetti squash with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt/pepper. Place them oiled side down on a baking sheet. Roast for 35-40 minutes, or until the squash is easily pierced with a fork.
  • Meanwhile, heat a large put or dutch oven over medium high heat.
  • Puree/grind up the lamb livers in a food processor or meat grinder. Set aside.
  • Add the ground beef to the pot and and cook until browned. Remove and set aside (leave the rendered beef fat).
  • Add the onions and mushrooms to the pot. Cook until the onions have softened and the mushrooms have released their water. Add the garlic, and cook for another minute.
  • Add the ground up liver and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the cooked ground beef, basil, oregano, thyme, both cans of tomatoes, salt/pepper, red pepper flakes and the splash of vinegar. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 10-15 minutes, to let the flavors meld.
  • Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Taste, adjust seasonings.
  • By this time your squash should be done. Take it out of the oven and let it cool slightly. Flip the squash over so that it's meat side up. Use a fork to shred the "meat" and form it's signature spaghetti-like strands.
  • Put some of the spaghetti squash in a bowl and ladle on some of the sauce.
  • Enjoy!
This recipe may sound intimidating, time-wise and ingredient-wise. I can assure you that it's totally worth it! There's only a slight liver flavor. The ground beef, tomatoes and herbs, help to cover it up.  This turns out to be a hearty meat sauce that pairs perfectly with the sweet, roasty spaghetti squash. Give this recipe a try, it's super tasty!


  1. My husband brought home pig heart from the farmers market this week. Off to Google to figure out how to cook it! Adventures in the kitchen continue.... :-)

    1. That sounds awesome! I've used a beef heart in a stew before that turned out great! It's a nice way to ease into organ meats as it doesn't quite have that "off" taste that other organs have. Here's a couple of sites that show some good heart techniques/recipes: