Raw Lamb Liver - Gastro Obscura

Meats & Animal Products

Raw Lamb Liver

This traditional Lebanese breakfast is served with sheep tail fat.

In Lebanon, people tend to favor poultry over red meat—yet lamb is a staple of its traditional cuisine. It’s served in a myriad of ways, including raw. Kibbeh nayyeh, for instance, consists of raw, minced lamb meat served with flatbread. But Lebanon’s greatest lamb delicacy might be kasbeh nayeh: the liver of a freshly slaughtered lamb, traditionally served at breakfast.

Servers lay out the cubes of raw liver with bulgar and assorted pools of seasonings (including salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin, and coriander) arranged on a plate like a painter’s palette. Diners dip the liver, served at room temperature, into the spices then wrap each piece in bread with mint leaves and a cube of raw fat from a sheep’s tail (liyyeh). Fat-tailed sheep, whose fat accumulates in baggy deposits that can reach 66 pounds, are common in the Middle East. The creamy sheep tail fat isn’t very greasy and adds a rich taste to the revered dish. 

Some say consuming the slippery raw liver is an acquired taste, but the dish remains a favorite among those in Lebanon.

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Written By
Michael Inscoe Michael Inscoe