hearts and gizzards

heart and gizzard in a pan

Last weekend my father-in-law showed me how to butcher chickens, so I have some organic, n0t-quite-free-range but good old scratch-in-the-dirt chicken in my freezer. They were the happy birds living in my backyard for the summer. I kept them fed and watered and they mostly sat around and ate. White Rocks do that. Bred for eating and gaining, you hope to goodness they don’t have a heart attack before it’s harvest time. These four made it, and it was time.

So I had a lesson in how to do things the quickest and easiest way possible. First the head comes off (father-in-law did this part), then you hold the legs while the wings flap for a bit. The bird then gets dunked in 160 degree water to loosen the feathers. It’s hung upside down while you pluck the feathers out. Repeat with the other birds.

The next stage after that is the part where you “take the motors out”: the innards, also called offal. It was during this stage that I learned how to properly prepare a gizzard. Well — first I learned that the gizzard is the stomach. Then I learned how to slice around the edge a bit, open it up and take out the lining along with the contents.

My first attempt at preparing this for eating is pictured above. In the pan is one heart and one gizzard, cut up and cooked. I had read about a marinade for offal, and wanted to try it. Lime juice, jalapeno, cilantro, ginger, garlic. It was really gross. I think I must have done something wrong.

So the next thing I will try, on a friend’s recommendation, is boiling then frying in butter. I’ll let you know how it goes. After that, I have two more sets of heart and gizzard, and I’m up for trying new things. If you have a recipe you’d like to share I’d be happy to hear it.

Oh – and the cat ate the liver. He loved it.

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