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Beef and Bean Chili with Chicken Liver

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Beef and Bean Chili with a Surprise Ingredient - www.ohlardy.com

Liver…Yikes!  Just the thought of eating it makes me squeamish.  Yet, organ meats like liver are some of the most nutrient dense animal foods around.  They have been used in traditional diets for thousands of years, yet we have dismissed them in our society.

I have had a package of frozen chicken livers (from pastured chickens, of course) in my freezer for awhile now.  They were beckoning me to do something with them but I was too nervous!  Kelly tried a chili recipe and used beef liver and was not pleased with the results.

Thinking about her experience, I researched some chili/liver recipes.  I found this recipe and it looked promising and gets rave reviews.  I decided to use it as a guide to create my own version of chili with chicken livers!

You might be wondering why in the world would I even want to make a chili with liver?

According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, liver provides:

  • “An excellent source of high-quality protein
  • Nature’s most concentrated source of vitamin A
  • All the B vitamins in abundance, particularly vitamin B12
  • One of our best sources of folic acid
  • A highly usable form of iron
  • Trace elements such as copper, zinc and chromium; liver is our best source of copper
  • An unidentified anti-fatigue factor
  • CoQ10, a nutrient that is especially important for cardio-vascular function
  • A good source of purines, nitrogen-containing compounds that serve as precursors for DNA and RNA.”

Liver is one of nature's most nutrient dense foods!

Now many people are afraid of liver because concerns about toxins.  The liver does act as a filter for the body for toxins but does not store toxins.  Of course there may be residual toxins left behind, however the Weston A Price Foundation says the benefits of liver outweigh the risks of a small amount of toxins.  This is also why it is important to eat liver from organic, pastured animals.

Now that I had my information and my recipe idea, I was set to make my chili.  I am not normally a believer in ‘hiding' food for kids and other family members.  However, this is liver…I am going to hide it!  (For more ideas on how to hide liver in foods, check out this article.)

Here's the recipe!  I swear it is amazing!  You would never know liver was part of the ingredient list.  Next time I may up the amount to a full pound!

Beef and Bean Chili with Chicken Livers


  • 2/3 lb chicken liver pastured chicken, if possible
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tbsp ghee coconut oil or fat of your choice
  • 2 lbs grass fed ground beef
  • 2 large onions peeled and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper seeded and chopped
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic peeled and minced
  • 2 cans of organic kidney beans drained (1/2 to 3/4 cup dried beans, cooked)
  • 10 tomatoes peeled and chopped or a large can of diced tomatoes (I used a quart of home canned whole tomatoes, which I lightly pureed.)
  • 1-2 cup bone broth or water
  • 5 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch cayenne optional
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1 square of dark chocolate
  • 1-2 tbsp of sea salt may need to salt more when it is finished
  • Optional: 1/4 cup nutritional yeast 1 tbsp kelp flakes and/or a piece of kombu (for added nutritional benefits)


  • Soak your chicken livers in water with the juice of 2 lemons overnight. (you could also soak in milk)
  • The next day, when you are ready to make your chili, rinse the livers well and drain.
  • Optional step: Puree the livers in your food processor. This will really 'hide' the liver in the chili. I recommend if you are squeamish about the liver.
  • In a heavy soup pot (I usea 5 1/2 quart dutch oven), heat the oil/ghee.
  • Add ground beef and cook until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Add onions, bell pepper and liver to pan, adding oil/ghee if needed. Saute for 5-7minutes. (If you did not puree the liver, simply break it up well with your wooden spoon).
  • Add garlic. Saute for about 2 more minutes.
  • Add beans and stir.
  • Add tomatoes and stir.
  • Add bone broth and stir. (if you are using a piece of kombu, add it now)
  • Add all of the spices and the chocolate.
  • Add ground beef back to pot.
  • Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Stir in nutritional yeast and kelp flakes (if using). Remove kombu (if using).
  • Serve with a side salad and some corn bread!
Are you wondering why I would add nutritional yeast, kelp and kombu to my chili for additional nutrition. There are numerous benefits to sea vegetables, and I have been striving to get them into at least one meal per day.  I have also been adding nutritional yeast to more foods as well.  It is an easy way to add B vitamins to your food!

If you are wondering where to find pastured chicken livers, ask your farmer!  Don't have a farmer, yet?  This website offers pastured meats delivered to your home!

What do you think?  Ready to try chili with chicken liver???  My daughter cleaned her bowl and my husband said it was one of the best chilis he had ever had!!!

Are you scared of liver? How about purchase dried liver pills? You can get all the benefits without worrying about how to cook it!!!

More Great Chili Recipes:

Grain Free White Bean Chili from Honest Body

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Beef and Bean Chili with a Surprise Ingredient - www.ohlardy.com

This post is featured at:  Tasty Traditions, Thank Your Body Thursday, Fight Back Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, Link Love, Sunday School Blog Carnival





  1. I’m anxious to try this recipe! We have a bag of chicken livers sitting in my freezer and have been too intimidated to try cooking them. This recipe sounds promising!

  2. OKOK. I will try this. I really need to start eating liver. I have even considered freezing it and cutting it into pill size pieces to swallow!

  3. This looks like an awesome way to get liver into all of us, not just kids. I really want to try it! *mouth watering*
    My only complaints (small ones) are about the amounts. Like with “1 square dark chocolate”. Not all chocolate bars have the same size squares. And…I don’t know how many cups of dried beans (or even cooked, dried beans) are in a “can”. There’s a few of us out here that rarely use canned beans. I’m thinking that with this recipe the amount isn’t critical but still, I like to make it the way you did at least the first time and then adjust it later if I want to.
    Another question: Do you really mean 1 to 2 tablespoons salt? That seems like a lot.
    Can’t wait to try this.

    1. Good comments! I will adjust the recipe. I don’t really measure the chocolate. I am making this tonight and used about a tbsp of dark chocolate chips because I had them on hand. So, for that I would suggest eyeballing it a bit. Yes, I do mean that much salt. But I wait until toward the end to salt…to taste. And for the beans, according to google: one 15oz can of cooked beans is roughly 1.75 cups drained, making it equivalent to 1/4 to 1/3 lbs ( or 1/2 to 3/4 cup) dried. Good luck! My chili is smelling delicious right now on the stovetop!

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