Chicken Liver Meatballs
Packed with superfood ingredients, these Paleo chicken liver meatballs are finally a way to get the nutrition powerhouse on the table in a delicious, family-friendly dish.
I debated (too heavily) on the name for this recipe. A part of me wanted to sneak the chicken-liver in there with an implied “superfood” title. Sneaking-it-in is essentially the name of the chicken liver game, after all. Another part of me figured that I’d just go ahead and call a spade a spade with a name that screamed: “HERE YE, HERE YE, these meatballs right here have actual chicken liver in them!” Obviously, I settled for the latter.
I’m calling it out because I want chicken liver to come out from hiding and for us to address it directly: as the (dare I say) tasty superfood worth adding into our diet.
Let me start off by saying I am NOT one of those people who just loves chicken liver. I was not raised on it and, therefore, never developed the taste for the unique protein. Chicken liver was out of sight and out of mind. THEN, I started my life as a nutrition science-fascinated professional. Because of the IMPOSSIBLE to ignore abundance of fabulous nutrients found in chicken liver, I conceded their addition into my diet. It was not a decision I made lovingly. It was a decision, akin to deciding that it’s finally time to do my taxes, that I must incorporate these powerful little healing blobs into our regular rotation.
The list of chicken liver benefits is long and impossible to ignore, you see. Because the liver is meant to help our body filter toxins, it is armed (if you will) with a true arsenal of powerful nutrients. Especially healthy livers (think those that are from pastured chickens) are profoundly stocked with vitamins A, B12, and folate (new research even suggests the presence of methylated folate).
I started my chicken liver recipe development as simply as possible: marinated and then grilled. I don’t think I’ve ever not enjoyed a meal more in my life. Between the flavor and the texture, I was OUT. I think I barely stomached 3 ketchup-drowned bites before I threw in the towel.
After my attempts at a super simple recipe bombed, I got busy with more creative routes. After many trials and tribulations (emphasis on the taste bud tribulation), I finally NAILED IT.
This loud-and-proud chicken liver meatball recipe is just absolutely delicious. Made possible by a few surprising ingredients, I’m beyond thrilled to finally have a tasty way to incorporate chicken livers in our diet.
These chicken liver meatballs are made possible (and by possible, I mean they made chicken liver craveable) with two helpful ingredients: caramelized onions and (bear with me) sauerkraut. The use of caramelized onions is a favorite old kitchen trick of mine that always helps to bring delicious flavor to any dish. The sauerkraut, on the other hand, works unexpected magic. It helps to lighten the meatball texture while also adding a really nice briny brightness. There isn’t any sauerkraut flavor in the finished dish, as its ingredient assistance is much more subtle. Note that you CAN make these chicken liver meatballs by omitting either the onions or the sauerkraut. That being said, if you’re like me and you’re chicken liver resistant, I suggest using both.
I recommend serving these meatballs over zoodles, mashed potatoes, gluten-free pasta, or even solo next to some roasted vegetables. Note that meatballs are a GREAT food to prep-then-freeze in bulk. I recommend freezing first on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan and then transferring to a large freezer-safe bag. This way, you can easily pluck your desired serving of meatballs out for a quick defrost.
Note: I suggest defrosting directly in a pan on the stove with fresh butter/olive oil or by baking them at 350 until hot.
I hope you enjoy these meatballs and make them your own!
Chicken Liver Meatballs
Yield: 5-7 servings
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 pound pastured chicken livers, blended until smooth
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1/2 cup sauerkraut, drained
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Melt half of the butter in a large skillet. Add the onions, stir, and then let them simmer for 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat, or until reduced in size caramelized in color.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the caramelized onions (leaving the butter behind in the pan), the blended livers, the beef, the drained sauerkraut, the salt, and the pepper. I suggest using your hands to incorporate the ingredients into an even mixture.
- Add the rest of the butter to the original skillet and turn the heat to medium. Form the mixture into meatballs and place them in the pan. Cook the meatballs on each side for 3 to 4 minutes, or until slightly charred.
- Stove top variation: Continue to rotate each meatball 3 to 4 times so that you have a nice char on all sides. Add more butter/olive oil to the pan, if needed.
- Oven variation: After charring on one side, flip the meatballs over once and transfer to the oven. Cook at 350 for 20 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Garnish with additional salt (as you like) and serve warm!