Old World Lamb Liver Pâté

What a wonderful three-day weekend full of old friends, new friends, and exciting memories! 
The annual Ski to Sea celebration occurred this weekend, changing Bellingham, the city of subdued excitement, to one bustling and exciting community. Everyone is out to race as part of a 7-leg relay race starting on top of Mt Baker and ending in Bellingham Bay. Days, weeks, and even months of training are showcased and celebrated.

However, after a long day in the sun racing and cheering, I am thankful for a peaceful and quiet rainy Memorial Day Monday. The perfect time to clean the house, spruce up vases with beautiful fresh flowers, and get bustling in the kitchen with jazz playing in the background…and perhaps an afternoon nap might be in order. But first, since I have a little spare time on my hands, and a super amazing food co-op find in my fridge (organic pasture-raised lamb liver), I am going to make lamb liver pâté!

Now, for some of you, I know liver may not sound appealing since it is not commonly eaten in the American culture…..and it definitely has an acquired taste. However, in my family, since I am German, liver is a staple amongst many other organ meats. If you are new to liver, liver pâté is a good way to start, as it is seasoned well, and acts more like a spread or dip than like a cut of meat. I love to serve liver pâté as an appetizer with gluten-free crackers or sliced veggies like cucumbers. Or, simply spread it on toast or fresh crusty bread. Just use the liver pâté anyway you would use hummus.

Why liver?? 
Liver is simply amazing! Cultures have eaten liver and other organ meats for centuries, regarding them as the best part of the animal. And not surprisingly so! Since the liver plays multiple roles within the body it requires many vitamins and minerals to complete it’s functions. Therefore, the liver is a storage house of nutrition and consequently it is known as nature’s natural multivitamin. For example, it is extremely rich in B vitamins, biotin, choline, vitamin A, iron, copper, selenium, and zinc. The amounts found in 3.5 oz of liver far outreach what you can find in plant foods. Therefore, eating a little bit of liver as part of a whole foods plant-based diet can be a very easy way to quickly increase the nutrient density of your diet. Since liver is very high in vitamin A and cholesterol, limiting it to small amounts a couple times a week is advised. And just as a reminder, you must make sure to buy organic and pasture-raised liver to ensure the highest quality.

Who should eat liver?? 
I think everyone that enjoys liver should eat liver occasionally. However, those that benefit most are those that eat very little animal protein, those that have digestive issues of some sort (IBD, IBS, SIBO, etc), high-intensity athletes, or women of child-bearing age. Often times these populations either are not meeting their micronutrient needs through diet alone or they have decreased micronutrient absorption. Therefore, because liver is so rich in important vitamins and minerals it can be a wonderful restorative food item to incorporate into your diet. Below you can see how liver stacks up to other foods, including other animal protein (6).

APPLES (3.5oz)
CARROTS (3.5 oz)
RED MEAT (3.5 oz)
Lamb Liver (3.5 oz)
3.0 mg
3.3 mg
11.0 mg
7.0 mg
6.0 mg
31.0 mg
140.0 mg
360.0 mg
4.8 mg
6.2 mg
15.0 mg
19.0 mg
139.0 mg
222.0 mg
370.0 mg
310.0 mg
.1 mg
.6 mg
3.3 mg
7.3 mg
.05 mg
.3 mg
4.4 mg
4.6 mg
.04 mg
.08 mg
.18 mg
7.0 mg
Vitamin A
40 IU
24,332 IU
Vitamin D
16 IU
Vitamin E
.37 mg
.11 mg
1.7 mg
.63 mg
Vitamin C
7.0 mg
6.0 mg
4.0 mg
.03 mg
.05 mg
.05 mg
.35 mg
.02 mg
.05 mg
.20 mg
3.6 mg
.10 mg
.60 mg
4.0 mg
16.0 mg
Pantothenic Acid
.11 mg
.19 mg
.42 mg
6.0 mg
Vitamin B6
.03 mg
.10 mg
.07 mg
.9 mg
Folic Acid
8.0 mcg
24.0 mcg
4.0 mcg
228.0 mcg
.42 mcg
2.08 mcg
96.0 mcg
Vitamin B12
1.84 mcg
90 mcg

What are the health benefits of liver?
As you can see, liver stacks up pretty nicely, especially in regards to B vitamins. B vitamins are very important for proper energy production and metabolism, DNA synthesis, nervous system function, and the list goes on (1-3). If your diet is low in B vitamins, more likely than not, you may feel low energy and fatigue. Therefore, liver generally is a great addition to support overall energy and well-being. Don't be surprised if you eat a little liver pâté and get an energy boost after! Also, liver is a good source of zinc and selenium which are important co-factors in reducing oxidative stress in our bodies, and help support healthy immune and thyroid function (4-5).

So if you are feeling adventurous, or are already a liver connoisseur, I recommend trying this delicious, super easy liver pâté. Seriously, make a batch and freeze some for later.  You never know when you may crave some extra nutrition. Plus, it can even make a great hostess gift if invited for dinner on the fly.  Serve it with crackers, apples, olives, and some aged hard cheeses and you got yourself a gourmet antipasti plate! If you want another recipe idea for liver check out this post!

Old World Lamb Liver Pâté
Makes about 2 ½ cups

½ cup + 2 tablespoons organic grass-fed butter (I use organic valley, green label)
2 cups diced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely minced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely minced
1 pound organic grass-fed lamb liver, diced or thinly sliced
2 tablespoons half and half
1 teaspoon Real sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground allspice (I use a clean coffee grinder to grind up allspice berries)
½ teaspoon ground pepper


In a large skillet (not cast iron), heat the butter over medium heat until melted. Reduce heat to medium low and add the yellow onion and sauté 10 minutes. Then add the garlic and the freshly minced herbs. Sauté another 10 minutes until the onions are caramelized.

Meanwhile cut away any membranes on the liver. Sometimes this is already done depending what liver you buy, and if you can find it, it will surely save you a bit of time! See this post for pictures if you still need to cut away membranes.

When the onions are starting to caramelize reduce the heat to low and with a slotted spoon transfer the onion mixture into a food processor. Return the heat to medium and sauté the liver until no longer bloody, but still slightly pink inside, just a couple minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the lamb to cool a bit.

Meanwhile process the onion mixture until smooth. Then add the liver, half and half, sea salt, allspice, and ground pepper. Process until smooth.

Line a container with plastic wrap and pour the liver pâté into the container. Smooth with a spatula and cover. Refrigerate. Once cool and hard you can turn the container over onto a plate and peel away the plastic wrap, allowing you to slice the pâté  OR just pour into a container from which you can spoon the pâté out of.

Note: This recipe makes a lot of pate. You can easily freeze the pâté and thaw for use later if you need a quick and tasty appetizer or breakfast spread.


1. Vitamin B6. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-B6. Accessed March 27, 2015.
2. Folate. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/folate. Accessed March 27, 2015.
3. Vitamin B12. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-B12. Accessed March 28, 2015.
4. Zinc. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/zinc. Accessed March 27, 2015.
5. Selenium. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/selenium. Accessed March 27, 2015.
6. SELF NutritionData. Lamb Liver. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/lamb-veal-and-game-products/4668/2. Accessed March 27, 2015.

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