It’s making a comeback.
I’ve thought about this one for some time. I’ve been slightly hesitant to share this recipe. Mostly for fear it may conjure up some childhood memories.
One of the hottest trends in the gourmet food scene right now is offal. The term offal is a British name for the non- muscle parts of a butchered animal, such as the entrails and internal organs s becoming more popular, thanks to growing interest in Food Network TV shows, increased culinary travel, and the proliferation of innovative edgy neighborhood restaurants.
I have a story I’d like to share about sweetbreads. I’m not talking about dessert. I’m talking about offal, organ meat and specifically, the pancreas and thymus of an animal. When properly prepared, it is absolutely delicious.
Don’t judge until you’ve tried. They are a delicacy. Rare to find nowadays.
But once upon a time, you could even get sweetbreads for free at your local butcher shop. My husbands uncle Mario would often ask his butcher for them. He’d tell him they were for his dog. His butcher was happy to oblige as he took them for scraps. But Mario knew exactly what he was doing. Clever man. He made the best sweetbreads. Not sure whether his Butcher ever caught on.
As for myself, I’ve had the opportunity to try quite a few different organ meats. Some not by choice and some out of curiosity. And I have been pleasantly surprised.
Here is a list of offal that you may have tried:
Blood is used to make blood sausages and blood puddings. It’s a great source of iron, although it can be high in fat and cholesterol. A 3-ounce serving of blood sausage contains about 380 calories and 15 grams of protein, and is about 80 percent fat.
Hocks are the joints between an animal’s leg bone and foot. They have much skin, tendons, and ligaments, and so must be stewed or braised for long periods. Hocks, used in Southern U.S. and Caribbean cuisines to flavor soups and greens, are high in protein and fat. A 3-ounce serving of ham hocks contains about 230 calories, 12 grams of protein, and 18 grams of fat.
Intestines, popularized lately by the “caveman diet” (or the paleo/Paleolithic diet), are called chitterlings by Southern cooks. These meats must be thoroughly cleaned and cooked because of food safety issues.
Tripe is the lining of an animal’s stomach. It’s a good source of protein but high in total fat and saturated fat.
Heart, commonly used in Peruvian barbecue and Scottish haggis, is a good source of protein but is extremely high in cholesterol.
Brain is used in Latin and European cultures but consumption is restricted in the U.S. due to concerns about Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or “mad cow disease.” A 3-ounce serving of beef brain is about 130 calories and 9 grams of protein, and is only 14 percent fat.
Liver, when from younger animals, tends to be less tough and has a milder flavor. It is high in protein, iron, and vitamin A.
Sweetbreads consist of the pancreas and thymus of an animal, and are most tender and flavorful when from veal and young lamb. Sweetbreads are a good source of iron and protein but are also high in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Tongue is best prepared using slow, moist cooking methods. A good source of iron and protein, but high in saturated fat.
The only thing on this list I haven’t tried is brain and I’m good with that 🙂
In my opinion, most of us shy away from eating say, liver because we don’t know how to prepare it. Yet we’ll eat fois gras.
If you are a Crossfit athlete, you really should start incorporating some organ meats into your diet once a week.
Here are the goods on beef liver for example.
It is rich in Vitamin A, folate, vitamin B6&B12. And it’s a great source of Iron and Zinc.
My recipe is a simple one.
3 Beef liver(baby)
2-3 rashers bacon chopped
1 1/2 large onions sliced
Coconut flour for dredging
1 cup red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
Start by rinsing the livers. Pat dry then dredge in some coconut flour. Heat a few tbsp olive oil in a large skillet. Add the livers and cook 2-3 minutes per side. Careful not to overcooked as the livers will become tough. Set aside on a warm plate.
Then add the chopped bacon and sliced onions to the skillet and sauté until the onions are tender. Add red wine, and cook down until it has reduced one half. Add back the livers add salt and pepper and cook another few minutes. Plate them and sprinkle some chopped parsley on top.
They should be slightly pink inside.