Chicken liver and berry puree (and a Whole 30 update)

Yup, that's right. Chicken liver for babies. I was hesitant at first too, but we gave some to M when he was around 1 and he LOVED it. Who knew? Turns out, some people actually advocate chicken liver as a first food. Live and learn, I guess. M likes it plain, but combining it with berries and turning it a lovely purple color definitely makes it more appetizing.

M's passion for chicken liver was helpful during Whole 30, as it's an easy, savory, protein- and iron-rich dip for veggies or a topping for chicken, fish, and other meats with some balsamic onions. Speaking of Whole 30, I have a little update: When I last posted, I was pretty down about the process. After some time and perspective, I feel a lot better and have forgotten the painful parts. Kind of like childbirth.

So I decided to do a Whole 25 before we left for a friend's wedding in August (I procrastinated!). Historically, an event like a wedding would have made me totally body-crazy. I would have awakened every morning intending to eat nothing but steamed veggies and chicken and run 5 miles, only to crash and burn by 3 pm and hate myself by bedtime. Instead, I tried to focus on feeling good rather than on being either unrealistically ambitious (eat nothing, run lots) or completely rigid (my first Whole 30), and it really worked. I definitely "cheated" a few times, but I only ate things that felt really worth it, (Roberta's pizza= WORTH IT) and I felt pretty happy with myself when we got all fancied up for the festivities.

I haven't been Whole 30-ing since then, but I do feel like the experience has changed the way I look at food and eating and wellness and myself. I'm guessing we'll do another one in the new year, so stay tuned.

Back to the puree! This guy is delicious. Trust me. Actually, don't trust me: Make it for yourself and see.

If you've made chicken liver before, skip these next few pictures. If you're a liver novice, here's what mine looks like at various stages of cooking:

Stage 1: Put some olive oil in a hot pan and add the livers, making sure that each one has some space in the pan. Cook in batches if you have to.

Stage 2: Ready to flip. Once you see brown creeping up the sides, flip those puppies over and continue to cook.

 Stage 2!

Stage 2!

Stage 3: Add the onions. Once you have an even browning on both sides, add the chopped onions. It's okay if there are some pinkish areas remaining because cooking isn't over yet.

 Stage 3!

Stage 3!

Stage 4: Cover. Once the onions are translucent and the livers are mostly browned (it's okay of there are some slightly pink nooks, but you should see any "raw" patches), cover and cook over a low flame for about 10 more minutes. 

 Stage 4!

Stage 4!

Chopped chicken liver

.75 lb chicken livers
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

Heat olive oil over a medium flame. Add chicken livers and brown on both sides. Once livers are browned, add the chopped onions. (It’s okay if there are small bits of pink still showing on the livers in the nooks and crannies- see photos.) Cook on medium heat until onions are opaque, about 5-8 minutes. Cover and turn heat to low. Let simmer for another 10-12 minutes or until livers are cooked through.

Immediately add cooked livers and onions and all liquid to a food processor or blender with hard-boiled eggs and balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste, but I’m usually very generous with the salt at this phase. Pulse the food processor until you’ve reached your desired consistency. Taste again for seasoning.

Yield: about 2 cups

Berry compote

1 pint blueberries
1 pint blackberries
2 Tbsp water

Combine berries and water in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the berries are cooked down, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool slightly. Puree. If your little is opposed to seeds (like mine), pass through a mesh strainer. 

Combo

2 Tbsp Chopped chicken liver
2 Tbsp Berry compote
1 Tbsp Applesauce