In tribal hunting, the heart and brain of the kill were always eaten first. They were considered to provide strength & intelligence for the consumer! Liver, kidneys, sweetbreads etc were considered a reward for the hunter or saved for honorary elders.
In Roman and Greek times, offal was revered and treated with great care & respect. It was considered the noble man’s food!
Nowadays, offal is consumed for many reasons. Animal conscious individuals wanting better quality meat, less waste and better animal welfare are sourcing their meat from small-scale farmers, local butchers and organic businesses who can provide all parts of the animal as a viable and healthy dietary addition.
And offal can be a powerful addition to your diet. Did you know that organ meat:
- Is more densely packed with just about every nutrient than any other food
- Contains heavy doses of B vitamins – B1, B2, B6, B12, folic acid
- Is loaded with minerals; phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium, iodine, calcium, potassium, sodium, selenium, zinc and manganese
- Provides fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K
- Contains the highest concentrations of naturally occurring vitamin D
- Contains high amounts of EFAs, omega-3 fats, EPA, DHA
So offal can be a really nutrient dense addition to your diet.
If you’ve decided you’re going to give organ meat a try, here are some points to remember.
When sourcing your offal, always opt for organic, fresh produce. Sourcing direct from a reputable butcher is the key to tracking down the more unusual items you will not find in your local supermarket!
And always cook long and slow or quick and high for the best flavour and the most nutrition.
Ancestral Stew Recipe
I am a sucker for a good stew and have been known to get the slow cooker going 3-4 times a week using delicious stews for dinner as well as lunch and yes even breakfast with some fresh fruit on the side!
Ingredients (serve 6-8):
- Mixture of organic kidney, liver and heart cut into chunks
- Approx. 400g stewing steak chunks
- Organic chestnut flour, to dust
- 1 organic white onion, chunky chopped
- 2 organic parsnips, peeled and chunky chopped
- 4 organic carrots, peeled and chunky chopped
- ½ organic butternut squash, deseeded and chunky chopped
- 4 large organic sweet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons organic tomato purée
- 4 cups / 1 litre Healing Broth
- Zest of 1 organic lemon, finely grated
- Handful of fresh rosemary leaves
- 3 sage leaves (fresh or dried)
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- Organic sea salt to taste
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
- In a shallow dish toss your meat chunks in your chestnut flour.
- Preheat your slow cooker to high.
- Place all of your veggies along with the sage, tomato puree, salt and pepper in the bottom of your slow cooker, mixing to combine.
- Then add the meat.
- Pour the broth on top, and then pop the lid on, drop the heat to low and leave for 6-8 hours.
- When you are ready to eat, sprinkle the garlic, rosemary and lemon zest on top and serve.
(Photo courtesy of Charles Haynes under Creative Commons. License.)
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