Real Food Littles

High Iron Chicken Liver Pâté Recipe (allergen free)

Christiana Scott, Founder

I am often asked…what is the BEST food for a baby?

It’s important not to demonize or idolize specific foods, since all of them have benefits and drawbacks. But one that really does deserve a spotlight for babies is organ meat, liver in particular. Cultures around the world and past generations knew of the nutritional benefits of offal (aka organ meat). Unfortunately, cooking liver has falling out of favor in recent generations. I never grew up eating it – very few of us did. For many people the flavor and smell is off putting, which is why liver pâté is a great way for babies and adults to consume it in a more palatable way.

If you are new to organ meat and embarking on it for your baby, I recommend starting with chicken liver. It is milder in flavor and higher in iron than beef liver. Liver is one of the MOST nutrient dense foods you can feed your baby – meaning it has a significant amount of nutrients per bite of the food. Since babies eat so little in terms of volume, we want to make sure all the bites they take are getting them nutrients they need to grow. Nutrient density is so important that I devoted an entire lesson to it in The Real Food Baby course.

The great thing about liver pâté is that it is the perfect texture for a baby to self-feed off a preloaded spoon, or later to eat off of sprouted toast etc. For adults who find eating straight liver a hard no (frankly, I’m in this category myself) cubes of liver pâté can be incorporated into meals. Any meal that uses ground meat, red meat especially, will easily hide the flavor while giving the whole meal a big nutritional boost. You can add it to meatballs, chili, shepard’s pie, bolognese, meatloaf, burgers etc. Credit to RD Lily Nichols for the “hidden liver” idea of freezing it in cubes for cooking! One small cube of pâté per 1 lb of ground meat is undetectable, and you may be able to work up to 2-3 cubes with your family depending on how sensitive they are to the flavor.

A question that often comes up with liver is the high amount of Vitamin A in it. Excessive amounts of synthetic vitamin A have been linked to adverse outcomes, but the naturally occurring vitamin A in the tiny amount of liver a baby would eat is not a concern in moderation. It’s safe to feed 1-2x per week.

I created this recipe for babies because most of the recipes available use dairy (butter and cream) and while I totally recommend doing this later on as it helps the flavor, this isn’t a great option for babies as a first food before they have been introduced to allergens. It’s also great for babies who do end up having a dairy allergy.

Chicken Liver Pâté Recipe (allergen free)

  • 1 lb chicken livers
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 peeled apple
  • 1 garlic clove
  • thyme (fresh or dried)
  • ~3 TBS coconut oil
  • ~½ cup bone broth if making for the family, formula or breast milk if making just for baby

Method: Heat a cast iron pan on medium heat and add coconut oil. Sauté the chicken livers so they are cooked through (they are a similar texture to boneless skinless chicken thighs). Remove from the pan and set aside. Add chopped onion, chopped peeled apple, chopped garlic and thyme to the pan and sauté until onion is translucent and cooked. Add all ingredients to a food processor and add broth, formula or breast milk. Blend until it is a smooth, spreadable paste. If too thick, add more liquid. Freeze in small ice cube trays, and transfer to a freezable container after they are frozen.

After your baby has been introduced to dairy and you know they are ok with it, you can make the following changes to improve the taste.

  • Switch coconut oil to butter if you prefer
  • Use heavy cream instead of bone broth, formula or breast milk
  • Add salt (can omit or use sparingly up to 1 year, but definitely add some after 1 year)

If you are interested in giving your baby nutrient dense foods through baby-led weaning, The Real Food Baby has everything you need. Designed for 6-18 months, it gives you not only everything you need to know to transition your baby from breast milk/formula to family meals, but also a roadmap for avoiding picky eating and raising an adventurous eater who enjoys the same meals you do. With 6 modules of video content, downloadable PDF’s, 150+ foods to introduce list and the Global Bites meal plan, you’ll feel confident that you know exactly what to safely cook and feed your baby to raise a healthy, happy eater.

 

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