Liver and Caramelized Onions

Liver and onions. You really can’t say the former without saying the latter, at least here in the United States. Surprisingly, I had a hard time finding anyone that’d even try and tackle beef liver in many of my cookbooks. Instead, I had to scour the internet for something palatable. Your typical online liver and onions recipe calls for sautéing the liver for a few minutes on each side, and then throwing some onions on top to simmer until they’re cooked through. While that does effectively mix the onion flavor with the liver, it also can easily result in a gray, overcooked and dry liver.

US Wellness Meats recently sent me a package of their beef liver to make a recipe for their site; the liver comes from grass-fed, antibiotic-free, non-added hormone cows. As far as organs go, it was beautiful! I thought this was the perfect time to try a liver recipe I’ve been cooking up in my head for a while now. The process uses a combination of sautéed liver, caramelized onions, and crispy bacon to create a textured and slightly complicated taste from a dead simple ingredients list. I think it turned out pretty well.

You’ll Need:
1 package US Wellness Meats beef liver (1 lb)
1 large onion, sliced
4 strips of uncured, nitrate-free bacon
2 tbsp clarified butter (ghee)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp each salt and black pepper

Liver thaws relatively quickly, so it should only take a day in the fridge to get ready.

In a cast iron skillet, fry the bacon on medium heat and set it aside. Leave the bacon grease in the skillet, and reduce the heat to med/low. Let the bacon drain on some paper towels, then chop it into pretty big chunks.

Add 1 tbsp of clarified butter to the bacon grease, and allow it to heat up. Add the sliced onion, stirring every few minutes.

Allow the onions to brown, stirring often, until they are reduced and caramelized. This process takes a while, around 30-45 minutes. Turn the heat to low if the onions start to burn.

When you’re done you should have a beautiful mound of caramelized onions. Set them aside, and let’s cook up some liver.

My package of beef liver came with two long slices of liver. Take them out and gently rinse them in cold water, then pat dry with paper towels. Cut the liver pieces in half at the mid-point. Season each side with the salt and pepper.

Add the coconut oil and the rest of the clarified butter to the skillet, and bring the heat up to med/high. Let it heat for a few minutes, but don’t let the butter burn. Sauté the liver for two to three minutes, then flip the pieces and sauté for another two minutes. If the liver tries to curl, pin it down with some tongs. The liver is ready when it is slightly springy to the touch, and should be slightly pink in the middle.

Smother the liver with the onions, then the bacon. Serve immediately.

17 thoughts on “Liver and Caramelized Onions

  1. Yum…this looks amazing! Plus, that US Wellness liver looks especially gorgeous.
    Looks like I will be putting liver on the menu again this week.


  2. I never thought I could eat liver. But I wanted to try. I made this tonight and couldn’t believe how delicious liver can be. I think the caramelized onions and bacon gave it an additional tastiness, but I could definitely taste the liver and it tasted pretty good. I did use a cast iron skillet and cooked three minutes one side and two minutes second side. Perfect. We will be eating this once or twice a month from now on…thank you!!


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  4. I wonder if this could be tossed into a Vitamix to turn it into a pate. I prepare a pound of liver at a time, eat 4 ounces in a meal, then Vitamix the rest and freeze in small containers to eat with apple slices for the rest of the month.


  5. I’m preparing a dish of liver and onions for a couple whose husband loves liver and whose wife claims to hate liver. Today I’m slicing 5lb onions and cooking them in my slow cooker on low for about 10 hours with a little bacon fat and olive oil. Tomorrow I will open the lid and cook them another 4 hours or so to reduce the liquid and give them more flavor. Then I will set them aside. On the day I deliver the dish I will reheat the onions, saute some of them with mushrooms to put over a bed of spinach with bacon for his wife, cook the liver in bacon fat until it’s about med (3 min on 1 side/ 2 min on the other, as you suggest), and put the onions (and no bacon because he is on a very low sodium diet) on his liver. Then I will deliver this meal with some roasted carrots on the side for both of them. She has promised to try “just a little bit” of the liver. I’m betting she will realize she doesn’t hate liver; she just hated overcooked liver.


  6. I just googled “Paleo liver and onions” got a half dozen results. Your’s is the simplest and by far the most elegant. #K.I.S.S. your food!


  7. I used to hunt deer, but stopped killing animals for meat. made the best liver and onions ever. So needless to say i love it. your recipe is nothing short of fantastic.!!!. All in the same cast with crums if you will, still in the pan. That’s part of the secret of deeeeeelishesness. Best i have ever had no holds barred.


  8. This is pretty much the same way I have always made my liver. The only difference is that I soak the liver in milk for at least 30 min to overnight. My wife hated liver until she tried it this way.


  9. This was delicious. 4 ounce is enough for an adult serving. I did shake the liver pieces in a plastic bag with a flour/cornstarch and Montreal Steak Seasoning. My wife likes the little “crispy bits” that come with this coating. My wife says “Please make again”.
    On an economic note, cleaned beef liver was $1.59 per pound. That equals $0.40 per serving – well, plus the cost of a Spanish Onion and a couple pieces of Bacon Ends at $1.99 per pound. Very inexpensive.
    Thanks so much for your research and the posting of this recipe. Its on the” Make Again” list for us.


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