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A Pound and a Half of Beef Liver - Updated Family Tradition of Liver and Onions

For your 1st taste of liver, try calf's or lambs liver.

For your 1st taste of liver, try calf's or lambs liver.

A Family Tradition

When we were growing up we lived in a Jewish neighborhood in the Bronx (NY). Mom sent me to the butcher once a week for yes, Beef Liver. A pound and a half to be exact. No more and no less. The butcher always sliced me off some beef bologna first to keep me satisfied while I waited anxiously. It was good stuff. So was the liver. It was regular fare in our family, just like spaghetti was on Wednesdays and fried chicken was on Sundays. But the liver, it's been a mainstay now for a fourth generation that I'm aware of. I brought beef liver to a church potluck some time back knowing full well it would be eaten by at least by myself, my son and a few other liver lovers.

New Traditions

My son and I have updated the liver tradition in our family with the addition of a couple of our own. We love homemade vegetarian BBQ baked beans poured completely over the liver with a huge green salad and lots of other raw vegetables in it on the side and some cornbread. Ranch dressing has evolved into a tasty dipping sauce for our other liver meals. It I believe is my son's most favorite. Enough so that he ran out to get a bottle of ranch dressing which I had forgotten before sitting down to that potluck table. He'd be proud to wear a t-shirt saying "Don't begin a liver meal without the ranch dressing."

How I Like My Liver

As my first choice, I start with calf's liver if I can find it, if not I just use the beef liver. Once in a while as a treat I'll be fortunate enough to be given some moose or caribou liver. it tastes even better. Probably because these wildlife are always exercising and haven't been subjected to hormones and other harmful chemicals. Test out the different markets for freshness in your area. After a few times you'll notice the difference and the taste that suits you. I like to pan fry my liver after coating it with oat flour or almond flour. Years ago I used to exclusively use a cornmeal and white flour mixture with added seasonings before I noticed I was having what I know now is a gluten sensitivity to the corn.

A Nourishing Family tradition of liver and onions: Eating liver is a nourishing global family tradition  worth exploring and including in one's  diet.

A Nourishing Family tradition of liver and onions: Eating liver is a nourishing global family tradition worth exploring and including in one's diet.

Liver, onions and potatoes is a popular Paleo meal with no complaints.

Liver, onions and potatoes is a popular Paleo meal with no complaints.

Liver And Onions

What you will need

Your favorite fry pan. My pan of choice is a large cast iron skillet ( big enough for 3- 4 slices )

brown paper lunch bag or plastic quart bag for shaking up flour and liver


1 pound & 1/2 of Beef or calves liver (rinsed with cool water and cut into manageable sized slices.

1/2 cup olive oil

Cayenne & Curry powders (1/4 cup) to put in flour

1 cup flour of choice ( I prefer non-gluten)

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1 large Red Onion, sliced (or your choice)

If you feel adventurous, try some of Bob Red Mill's various flours. They are quite nice. Stop by the business in Oregon if you live close enough. Friends tell me it's quite the place. Personally I know they are most courteous and helpful. They came to my rescue some years back with spelt flour and how to use it.

Heat your skillet to medium high, pour in the olive oil after five minutes. Set the timer. While you wait put your flour, cayenne and curry powders in a plastic or brown paper bag. Put the liver slices in the bag of flour too. Close the bag securely. Shake the bag to season and coat the liver slices.

Put liver in hot oil but do not crowd if your skillet isn't big enough. Turn heat down to low. Cover for 2 minutes. Uncover, turn slices over. Liver is done when the red disappears. Cover. Continue process until all the liver is done.

Put sliced onions over the last batch of liver after turning. It's never a good idea to walk away from the stove when you are cooking liver. It cooks too fast.

You can also cook the liver in the oven at 375 degrees , putting a ¼ cup of oil in your baking pan. After preheating your oven, bake your liver for 15 minutes on each side . Liver is done when redness is gone and liver is browned but still tender.

Chili With Liver

Vitamin B12 Pick Me Up

When I'm feeling low on energy and dragging, I cut up about a 1/4 cup of raw liver into small pieces (it's mushy), cook it in the microwave or on the stove for a couple of minutes. I then stir it into a bowl of chili that I've already cooked and reheat it all in the microwave or on the stove for 2 1/2 to 3 more minutes. I can absolutely feel the burst in energy afterward. You can do the same on a bigger scale if you discover you like this Chili-Liver combo. Just cook your favorite chili recipe and set it aside. Cook the liver in another pot or pan until done. Add the liver to the chili and mix together. Season to taste. Enjoy!

© Barb Johnson


Robert Morgan on August 12, 2015:

Thank you, Barb, for your kind words, Bless you and your family.

Barb Johnson (author) from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula on August 12, 2015:

Sorry to hear about your Mom, Bobby! My Mom passed away a few years ago and she too as you'll remember in the article was also a lover of liver & onions. I'm sure you'll find many ways to cherish your mother's memory, including the liver & onions, but without the smell lol. Bless you & yours too Brother! Barb

Robert Morgan on August 11, 2015:

Ok, I'm a vegan, but I remember how much I loved liver and onions. My mom, who just passed away this weekend, was the queen of liver& onions, and we had it at least twice a month. If I ever went back to eating meat, liver and onions would be my first dish. My wife is not vegan, but she hates liver and onions, so I don't have to be tortured by the smell, lol. Blessings to you and yours. Bobby

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