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  #1   ^
Old Mon, Jan-01-18, 00:06
Verbena Verbena is offline
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Posts: 820
 
Plan: My own
Stats: 186/155/150 Female 5'4"
BF:
Progress: 86%
Location: SW PNW
Default How Offal Can It Be?

We low carbers know that eating offal/variety meats/innards is a good thing, but some of us find it hard to do. Personally, I like the “interesting” bits, but know that not everybody does. Once upon a time, in a past life, I spent 3 years at an Irish boarding school; lots of good memories, but the food was not optimal. To this day I can’t face any sort of milk pudding - rice, tapioca, etc. I just can’t eat it, even though I have read the recipe, and know that it sounds appetizing. But even 3 years of Irish boarding school didn’t ruin my taste for liver. Go figure. (My mother was a good cook; she made a lovely steak & kidney pie, and liver & onions. She never made tapioca pudding)
I try to fit liver or kidneys in to the menu rotation fairly regularly. DH is European, so doesn’t have a problem with that, for the most part. I have a friend who’s brother in law raises lambs for his table, and those of his relatives. I asked her once whether he would be willing to sell me the kidneys. She said she thought he might; usually he just threw them into the woods “for the bear”. As it turned out he started “throwing” them at me, no charge. After a year or so my package of kidneys started containing liver & heart as well. Lucky me.
I thought it might not be a bad thing to start a conversation about the less well thought of bits of the animals we eat. Do you eat offal? If so, what are your favorite recipes? If not, why not? And would you be willing to change your mind?
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  #2   ^
Old Mon, Jan-01-18, 03:53
cotonpal's Avatar
cotonpal cotonpal is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 4,107
 
Plan: very low carb real food
Stats: 245/128/135 Female 62
BF:
Progress: 106%
Location: Vermont
Default

I eat liver, heart and just got up the nerve to try kidney. I haven't quite figured out what to do with kidney yet but heart I now grind and use in stir fry and for liver I mostly do a layered slow cooker thing with liver, onion, bacon and mushrooms. I wish someone would throw me some offal for free . I eat offal mostly because after keeping carbs low I prioritize nutrient density plus I like it.

Jean
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  #3   ^
Old Mon, Jan-01-18, 05:17
Ambulo's Avatar
Ambulo Ambulo is offline
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Posts: 1,137
 
Plan: No GPS/OMAD (23:1)
Stats: 150/125/120 Female 64 inches
BF:
Progress: 83%
Location: the North, England
Default

I eat liver, kidney and heart. I wish I could get the traditional stuff like brains, tripe and sweetbreads too. How weird would my organic farmers think me if I dared to ask?
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  #4   ^
Old Mon, Jan-01-18, 09:19
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bevangel bevangel is offline
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Posts: 1,809
 
Plan: modified adkins (sort of)
Stats: 265/176/167 Female 68.5 inches
BF:
Progress: 91%
Location: Austin, TX
Default

I really like beef and chicken liver. Hubby likes chicken liver so we have that about 2 or 3 times per month. He won't touch beef liver tho so I only cook it for myself when he is out of town. But there is a restaurant that we go to fairly regularly that has beef liver on the menu and that's my standard order there.

Other than liver tho, I haven't ever tried too many forms of offal. Somehow the word "offal" is really off-putting which may be the reason we Americans tend to be loath to try such meats.

Our local grocery stores carry sweetbreads, heart, and tripe. I've never tried any of them tho because I haven't got a clue how to cook them.
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  #5   ^
Old Mon, Jan-01-18, 11:34
Verbena Verbena is offline
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Posts: 820
 
Plan: My own
Stats: 186/155/150 Female 5'4"
BF:
Progress: 86%
Location: SW PNW
Default

You're absolutely right Bevangel, a new name is needed! The Germans say "Innereien" (innards), which I'm not sure is better. "Variety meats" used to be the term in the US, but I don't think such a euphemism is any better.
Yesterday I made meatballs, for which I defrosted a pound of ground beef. I like to mix about a quarter pound of liver into the grind, but somehow my frozen liver is all in 1# or larger packages, so I defrosted 1 pound, and another pound of pork. Made the meatballs, and then made German Liver Dumplings with the pork and most of the rest of the liver (DH was out, so I had the little bit that was left for my dinner). Liver dumplings are simmered in broth, and either eaten as part of the soup, or served with Sauerkraut. Also cut in half, and fried in butter, and served with sauteed onions. Looking forward to dinner tonight.
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  #6   ^
Old Mon, Jan-01-18, 12:02
Verbena Verbena is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 820
 
Plan: My own
Stats: 186/155/150 Female 5'4"
BF:
Progress: 86%
Location: SW PNW
Default

Cotonpal, if you can get them lambs' kidneys are very mild, with very little of that distinctive kidney flavor. I have a couple of recipes where I think, if one didn't know it was kidney one wouldn't guess.
I'm not sure about brains since Mad Cow Disease showed up, but I wouldn't mind trying sweetbreads. Oddly (to my mind) oxtail also seems to find it's way onto the "offal" list. I'Ve never understood why.
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  #7   ^
Old Mon, Jan-01-18, 20:01
Bonnie OFS Bonnie OFS is offline
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Posts: 2,201
 
Plan: Dr. Bernstein
Stats: 188/160/135 Female 5 ft 4 inches
BF:
Progress: 53%
Location: NE WA
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I've been talking myself into trying more organ meat, besides liver, which I love. I had to butcher 3 spare roosters before Christmas, so instead of feeding the inards back to the chickens, I saved the livers & hearts for me. The hearts I sliced up & cooked in butter, then added my morning eggs. Delicious!

We raise rabbits, so I've tried rabbit kidneys but didn't care for them. A friend suggested slow cooking them with butter & onions, so next time we butcher I'll do that. I'm going to try to harvest the brains, too, but that is difficult. I'm still a bit squeamish. Even my mother had a hard time convincing herself to eat brains - & she had an adventurous appetite!
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  #8   ^
Old Mon, Jan-01-18, 20:54
Verbena Verbena is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 820
 
Plan: My own
Stats: 186/155/150 Female 5'4"
BF:
Progress: 86%
Location: SW PNW
Default

Bonnie, I need to come up to Washington so you can show me the ins and outs of butchering chickens. I have "put down" two of my hens who were in a bad way, but that was simply a matter of a cleaver. They were sick enough that I wasn't tempted to think of them as food. One of these days (or maybe not, at my age) I will grow up enough to think of my chickens as more than just egg producers
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  #9   ^
Old Mon, Jan-01-18, 20:57
Verbena Verbena is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 820
 
Plan: My own
Stats: 186/155/150 Female 5'4"
BF:
Progress: 86%
Location: SW PNW
Default

I made a soup this evening with the broth used to simmer the liver dumplings yesterday, as welll as some veg from the fridge - cauliflower, carrot, and kohlrabi. Several of the dumplings found their way in, plus, for DH, some noodles, and, for me, a large spoonful of homemade Sauerkraut. All very lovely.
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  #10   ^
Old Mon, Jan-01-18, 21:11
Bonnie OFS Bonnie OFS is offline
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Posts: 2,201
 
Plan: Dr. Bernstein
Stats: 188/160/135 Female 5 ft 4 inches
BF:
Progress: 53%
Location: NE WA
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Verbena
Bonnie, I need to come up to Washington so you can show me the ins and outs of butchering chickens. I have "put down" two of my hens who were in a bad way, but that was simply a matter of a cleaver. They were sick enough that I wasn't tempted to think of them as food. One of these days (or maybe not, at my age) I will grow up enough to think of my chickens as more than just egg producers


I dislike butchering chickens, so I have a bunch of elderly hens. It's interesting to watch them "coaching" the egg layers - kind of like midwives.

But excess roosters need to be gotten rid of & I hate to waste food, so the 3 spares got butchered when it was about 18 degrees (F). But at least it wasn't snowing.

You might want to ask around - you never know who has the skills. My butchering is efficient, but not pretty. But I was talking with a friend the other day & found out her fil had been a butcher & taught his son the trade - tho he didn't take it up. But he does all the butchering on their small farm. So guess who I'm going to talk into give me a class on how to properly separate the pieces? He doesn't know it yet, but he will.
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  #11   ^
Old Sat, Mar-17-18, 15:43
ImOnMyWay's Avatar
ImOnMyWay ImOnMyWay is offline
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Posts: 3,786
 
Plan: OWL
Stats: 177/148.6/135 Female 5'2"
BF:50.5/39/25
Progress: 68%
Location: Oregon, Los Angeles
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Verbena
You're absolutely right Bevangel, a new name is needed! The Germans say "Innereien" (innards), which I'm not sure is better. "Variety meats" used to be the term in the US, but I don't think such a euphemism is any better.
Yesterday I made meatballs, for which I defrosted a pound of ground beef. I like to mix about a quarter pound of liver into the grind, but somehow my frozen liver is all in 1# or larger packages, so I defrosted 1 pound, and another pound of pork. Made the meatballs, and then made German Liver Dumplings with the pork and most of the rest of the liver (DH was out, so I had the little bit that was left for my dinner). Liver dumplings are simmered in broth, and either eaten as part of the soup, or served with Sauerkraut. Also cut in half, and fried in butter, and served with sauteed onions. Looking forward to dinner tonight.


Do you use breadcrumbs when making your liver dumplings? Most of the recipes I've looked at call for them. I wonder if dumplings simmered in soup would hold together without them.
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  #12   ^
Old Sat, Mar-17-18, 17:53
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barb712 barb712 is offline
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Posts: 517
 
Plan: Atkins
Stats: 240/210/200 Female 5 feet 11 inches
BF:27%
Progress: 75%
Location: USA
Default

I like chicken livers and gizzards. The gizzards come in the package with hearts mixed in, and I try my best to pick them out; I think it's just mental that I don't like them. I usually just rinse and strain the livers and stir fry them in a wok, with onions if I feel ambitious. The gizzards I cook in the Instant Pot with tomato-based sauce or broth for 45 minutes or till they're no longer rubbery.

The livers also come out fine in the oven if you're cooking a chicken. Just keep them there in the pan with the bird and take them out when they're done.
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  #13   ^
Old Sat, Mar-17-18, 18:34
Bonnie OFS Bonnie OFS is offline
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Posts: 2,201
 
Plan: Dr. Bernstein
Stats: 188/160/135 Female 5 ft 4 inches
BF:
Progress: 53%
Location: NE WA
Default

Chicken livers I cook the same as I do rabbit livers - in butter. Hearts I slice & cook the same way, but with eggs (mental thing here, too). Gizzards I never see - they don't come with store bought chickens & when I butcher, it gets tossed with the guts.

My bunnies are pregnant (I hope) & I'll let you all know if I get brave enough to do brains when butchering time comes. If I can't bring myself to eat them, it will be more protein for the chickens.

Even my mother - who had nerves of steel - couldn't bring herself to eat brains. She would cook them up for the carnivorous animals, tho.

And I'll also be able to see what damage a .22 does & if it goes all the way thru. I'm curious about things like that.
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  #14   ^
Old Sat, Mar-17-18, 20:38
Verbena Verbena is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 820
 
Plan: My own
Stats: 186/155/150 Female 5'4"
BF:
Progress: 86%
Location: SW PNW
Default

Miss Pi - I couldn't think how it would work, and was sad because I am quite fond of liver dumplings as I have eaten them in Germany. But then I ran across a recipe on a German site, and it works quite well. I make the dumplings smaller than they do in Bavaria, so they cook quicker, and have less chance of falling apart. If interested I will make a translation effort, and post the recipe.
Barb - My mother always treated the chicken livers as the "treat" for the cook, and I follow her example. That was back in the day when the "interesting bits" came in a bag in the cavity. Do they still do that? Not in organic birds, anyway. My mother, and I, would fry a bit of onion and garlic in butter, then add the liver, pepper, & a bit of salt, and fry till browned outside but still a bit pink inside. From one or two birds it's just a nice snack for the cook.
Bonnie - I've never tried brains. By the time I felt I was willing the Mad Cow thing had reached the news. I understand though, from perusing old & foreign cookbooks, that they are often cooked with scrambled eggs, having apparently a similar texture. I would think with rabbits one wouldn't need to worry over much about Mad Cow :-)
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  #15   ^
Old Sat, Mar-17-18, 20:50
Verbena Verbena is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 820
 
Plan: My own
Stats: 186/155/150 Female 5'4"
BF:
Progress: 86%
Location: SW PNW
Default

I am now considering blood sausage, of which I am quite fond. When we last returned from a trip to Europe I was motivated enough to look up recipes. And then I asked my nice butcher, who assured me that I could certainly buy pig's blood -- in 50# lots! I quickly gave up that idea :-). But I was recently reminded that Asian markets sometimes sell it, so I plan to look the next time I am in our "big city", an hour away from home. The only kind I can find ready made are good, but too salty for my taste. We had an excellent type in Spain for which I found a recipe, and would really like to give it a shot. Not sure how to do it without rice or oatmeal, but feel it might be worth a try.
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