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chicken livers, gizzards, and hearts. Help!

My bf just killed the last 30 of our chickens. Now, in addition to having glorious chicken for all of winter and feet for stock, we have the livers, gizzards, and hearts from each of them sitting in the freezer. I've never cooked with these parts and am in need of guidance, ideas and recipes. Please help!

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  1. chicken liver pate or fried livers with garlic on crostini
    harissa-marinated chicken heart kebabs
    ... dunno much about gizzards

    1. Gizzards make great confit.

      Chicken hearts make great satay.

      Chicken livers, you can make chopped liver, ravioli filling, pasta sauce, sauteed chicken livers.

      1. Clean those gizzards well and chop up for gumbo. In fact, you can use the heart and livers in chix gumbo as well.
        Make pate out of the livers, or flour & deep fry.
        Or, use those livers & gizzards to make dirty rice. Mmm, dirty rice...

        1 Reply
        1. re: Hungry Celeste

          Right now I am addicted to Paula Dean's dirty rice, it's my Sunday afternoon NFL fix, and I use more liver than she calls for, at least 1.25 lbs. Brown 1lb. pork sausage with the livers in a BIG pan, chopping the livers with the edge of a spatula, then add 1 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cups each chopped celery and bell pepper, cook until the vegetables soften, fold in 4 cups cooked rice and 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsely, salt and pepper, to taste. The leftovers actually freeze well in portion sized freezer ziplocks.

        2. A well known place in N. Oakland I once worked made a duck sauce for pasta, using standard tomato sauce ingredients plus duck gizzards as the only meat. You do need to trim off the silverskin, then chop them up, then just treat as regular meat for a pasta sauce recipe. If anyone is finicky about eating guts, they won't be able to tell, I swear. Come to think of it, you could probably throw the hearts in too, and they have no silverskin, just chop them. We served it over polenta.

          Livers, I wouldn't put in sauce as they are strong flavored, maybe just a few. However they are very tasty sauteed with chopped onions, black pepper, some brandy and sage. Over pasta, over polenta, over risotto...

          1. We regularly buy the odd bits (menudencias) from a person here at work who raises organic chickens. Clean and chop the gizzards, heart, necks, and livers in bite size bits. Marinate in soy sauce, grated fresh ginger, finely chopped garlic, touch of wine, touch of sugar (optional), and chili according to taste. Cook with your choice of sweet/picante peppers (e.g., Anaheim types), sliced onion, or chinese or other Asian cabbage or kales. Serve with rice. The resulting dish is a sort of okazu, Japanese peasant food that is good, cheap, and variable in terms of ingredients.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

              that sounds like something similar my mother does. you sautee all in sesame oil after marinating in some soy sauce. AFter its all crispy and done, you eat it with lots of rice

            2. My favorite way to prepare chicken livers is to wrap them in bacon, slip them on a skewer and grill them. Then, and this may sound like a strange combination, dip them in some homemade cocktail sauce! Fantastic!

              2 Replies
              1. re: showlett

                Liver with bacon, yum. Cocktail sauce, hmm, but I guess it does have that tart & picante taste to *cleanse the palate*.

                1. re: showlett

                  Oh yeah. Or add water chestnuts for rumaki.

                2. Gizzards and hearts are delicious, but they take a long time to cook - I usually use them two ways:

                  (1) They can be sauteed lightly and then braised for a long time with onions, peppers, tomato, sofrito,cilantro etc. in a cuban/puerto rican style. After a long slow cooking they get pretty delicious in a dark-meat kind of way. Can serve with rice or potatoes.

                  (2) Giuliano Bugialli has a GREAT gizzard ragu recipe in his first Italian cookbook. Pretty simple and very good. Quite like a game or duck ragu, excellent over egg noodles or other pasta that catches the bits.

                  As to the livers, the tuscans sautee livers in hot olive oil (you could use butter if preferred) with garlic and lots of sage leaves. They can also be sauteed, like the venetian calves, liver, with caramelized onions.
                  In either case, it needs to be fast and hot and only til they the livers are pink inside. In either case you can deglaze the pan with a little white wine for a little additional oomph and garnish with a bit of parsley if you like (not needed with the sage)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: jen kalb

                    We make this probably once a month. It's an old Frugal Gourmet recipe. Brown the gizzards and then add livers to brown. I smush up a lot of the livers so they get more incorporated into the sauce. Add a few cloves of sliced garlic. When everything is browned, add 1 cup of marsala and 1 cup chicken stock. Simmer for an hour and then add one cup of good spaghetti sauce. Simmer until tender and finally add a 1 by 1 " square of lemon rind and lots of black pepper. Put it over pasta and it's wonderful!!!

                    1. re: jen kalb

                      My favorite thing to do with hearts and gizzards is to 'red cook' them, that is, a long simmer in liquid that is heavy with soy sauce, flavored with ginger and star anise. The sauce can be reused with chicken thighs, or even beef, or beef tongue.


                    2. Well, being Jewish my preference is for chopped chicken liver. You gently fry livers in chicken fat and plenty of chopped onions. Carmelize/brown the onions but don't overcook the livers or they will get tough. You just want to gently fry them until they are just barely thoroughly cooked through. Allow it all to cool, and add hard boiled eggs - let's say 3 eggs to each pound of livers and one large onion, salt & fresh ground black pep. Then if you have an old fashioned hand meat grinder run it all through and then use a big wood bowl and an old fashioned metal hand chopper to chop it finely, or you could use a processor, you would do bursts of short pulses. It's done when you have a nice spreadable but grainy paste. The classic presentation would be on lettuce leaves with fresh seedy rye bread. Half sour pickles on the side.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: niki rothman

                        All great suggestions. My preference is also for good old chopped liver (2nd Avenue Deli cookbook has a great version) or liver knishes, but there's also our much less formal family-prefered use for them. While the chicken is cooking, toss all the parts into a saute pan with a little hot fat (rendered chicken fat or schmaltz is best). When done sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and enjoy. A great nosh while dinner is cooking. And the "pupik" is the best.

                        1. re: rockycat

                          If you think that 2nd. Ave. Deli recipe is better than mine I'd love it if you posted it. Do you think that is an important cookbook for me to own? I have Joan Nathan, Grossinger's, Mollie Goldberg (personal fave), and Michael Goodman (Jewish Daily Forward). And yeah, you'd have to pry the liver away from me when the chicken is in the oven MY liver is in a little frypan for a personal treat.

                      2. Boil the gizzards, slice into 1cm thick slices, toss w/ sesame &/or chili oil, also toss in some chinese pickles (cantonese: ja choi) and serve chilled... YUM

                        1. Chicken livers:

                          Keep it simple - livers, sauteed in a dab of oil, finished off with a little wine (reduce as a sauce after removing livers) - rosemary if you want, or oregano.

                          Serve over spaghetti, or just sit a few on a plate and enjoy with bread, vegetable and fruit (yummy dinner).

                          1. livers - When I was little, my grandmother and my mom made liver dumpling soup. it's a great way to use up the livers as well as to utilize some of the stock you make with the feet. puree the livers until they are throughly liquified and add to them flour , salt and pepper. mix in flour so that it forms a batter that is almost the consistancy of cookie dough.drop by teaspoon fulls into boiling water untl cooked through or boil them right in the stock. the dumplings should be the consistansy of a heavy pasta dumpling wuch as a cavatelli or gnocchi. add whatever else you normally would to your chicken soup and enjoy!

                            gizzards and hearts - A great way to prepare gizzards and hearts is in what is known by my family as spezzi. essentially all it is are the gizzards and hearts diced and cooked in a slow simmerd, spicy tomato sauce until the sauce is good and thick and the gizzards and hearts are still a touch chewy, but otherwise cooked all the way through. serve over your favorite pasta or rice.