Icelandic Sheep Liver

Did you know that Seattle is just a 7-hour direct flight from Iceland? That means I was able to score some Icelandic sheep liver at my local Farmers Market. Thank you, little buddy!

I’ve had pastured beef liver many times and goat liver a few times. It tastes closer to goat liver, but I found the flavor superior. I cooked it just like I did my Beef Liver + Asparagus + Garlic recipe, only without the asparagus. My side dishes were steamed sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts with some butter.

As great as beef liver is, I figured that some of the vitamins were getting destroyed during the cooking process so I started a habit that may gross out some people. Prior to cooking the liver, I cut off an inch or two and eat it raw. Whereas beef liver has a harshness when eaten raw, the Icelandic sheep liver had none. Had I not already chopped up the garlic, I may have eaten the entire liver raw.

I also believe this to be safe since the liver was frozen for more than 2 weeks. Anyone else eating raw organ meat?


Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, Icelandic sheep liver


Add yours

  1. I eat liver or heart from pastured cows and bison once a week. On occasion I’ll take a couple of bites raw. Like you mention, I’d only do this knowing the source and having it frozen for a spell.

  2. This sounds great. I am originally from Iceland. I used to live in the US but I am back in Iceland now and I am intimately familiar with this dish.

    One thing you might want to know about the Icelandic lamb is that it is the closest you can get to wild game. The lambs are born in the spring and in early summer the farmers take their sheep up to the Icelandic highlands where they roam free in the mountains until they are collected in the fall. So the lambs run free and wild in the mountains with their mothers all summer long which makes their muscles stronger and the meat leaner, and they eat all kinds of vegetation and herbs which gives the meat some unique flavor. It is the very best lamb meat you will ever taste. Period.

    Not to mention that all dairy products and meat products in Iceland are hormone and antibiotic free. All beef is grass fed.

    There are several other interesting things to eat in Iceland. Ever tried dryed fish? It’s like fish jerky, very rich in Omega 3 and tastes awesome with a scoop of butter. Eggs are another thing. Forget free range. Wild eggs collected from blackbird nests (a type of seabird) are out of this world and very tasty. Available once a year. Not sure you can get these at your farmers market though. But like you say, you’re just 7 hours away 🙂

  3. @Aaton – Raw beef heart? I thought I was brave. I have trouble with beef heart even after a long cook. Too tough.

  4. @Kris – Thanks for the background information on Icelandic food. I haven’t tried dried fish, but would love to. I’m fascinated with any food that helped traditional cultures survive and thrive so far away from the Equator.

  5. You raw organ meat eaters are braver than I will ever be. I thought i was brave making extra disguised liver pate once a week!

  6. I’m a HUGE fan of live and I’m happy to read not only the post about the nutritional value of liver, but also this GREAT new liver to try: sheep! LOVE IT!

    Unfortunately, I was just in a California restaurant this week trying to order duck confit and they said it had been banned from the state for humanitarian reasons. Well, I see the point of activists too. Still wish there was a humane way to eat liver — especially since I run anemic and it’s the absolute best way for me to keep feeling healthy.

  7. charles grashow

    May 11, 2012 — 2:22 pm

    raw liver in my breakfast smoothie – a pound or so every month

  8. @Charles – OK, you win! Raw liver smoothies.

  9. charles grashow

    May 12, 2012 — 8:54 am

    1 can full fat coconut milk, banana, some 100% organic cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 – 1/2 lb sheep or beef liver cut up – blend and drink – yummy

    have it 2 – 4 times per month

  10. @Charles – Thanks for the recipe. Is the olive oil for texture?

  11. charles grashow

    May 12, 2012 — 10:41 am

    texture, taste and it’s also very anti-inflammatory

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