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When roasting a chicken, what do you do with....

....the giblets? I usually saute the liver in butter and sage while the chicken is roasting and spread it on a cracker. Not sure what to do with the rest. '

Thanks in advance :)

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  1. Use the rest to make stock while your chicken roasts. Then you'll be able to add it to the defatted pan drippings to make gravy. Sorry if that sounds too unimaginative....just can't live without gravy on roast chicken.

    1 Reply
    1. re: clamscasino

      I do the same. I throw the giblets and a few raw chicken wings (keep them around, they really come in handy for gravies) into a saucepan with a chopped up stalk of celery, chopped up carrot, chopped up onion and a few whole cloves of garlic. Turn the heat up to medium-high and let everything brown a bit. Then, add six to eight cups of water, a sprig each of thyme and rosemary and let it barely simmer for an hour. Strain it out, bring to a boil and thicken with flour slurry. Season with salt and pepper.

      I agree clamscasino. I can't do roast chicken (or turkey) without some gravy!

    2. Everything gets roasted (I only cook the giblets for about 25-30 minutes). The dog gets the liver, and I eat everything else.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ricepad

        Exactly. Clearly a very intelligent individual that ricepad. I usually chop the gizzards (aside from the liver) and put them on lightly dressed greens.

        1. re: ricepad

          That's the chef's bonus!

          (except the dog part... I eat the liver too).

        2. A friend at work raises chickens on her farm. I buy the remains rather than the chicken--and use all but the head and feet (which come in her packages). Usually clean the stuff up of any remaining fat, cut into pieces and marinate in teriyaki sauce. Sautee some sliced onions and then add the parts plus sauce, cook til done and serve with rice.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            When we lived in Ecuador, the cook used to make a wonderful soup. I finally found out that my kids called it "chicken head soup" for a reason. The heads make great stock.
            I do use the feet here in the US and I know most chicken feet from processors are used for stock production or shipped overseas for that use. Waste not, want not.

            Gizzards and hearts are delicious for dirty rice or just smothered with onions. I've had hearts at Brazilian churrascarias too - just skewered and grilled.

            1. re: MakingSense

              Yeah, you'd think from my previous posts on food waste that I'd use the head and feet. I would use the feet for filipino style BBQ if I were to have enough of them at one time. Never thought about the heads, once dressed, they're so tiny--even from big birds.

              I remember going from La Paz to Cochabamba on one of those one- or two car rail "ferro-buses" in the 70s. An Aymara woman complained to the waiter that there was no chicken foot in her soup.

              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                Sam, When I was a theology student in Rome, the head a feet ended up being served in a pilaf that I think also contained the giblets. I've never seen anything like it in cookbooks and wondered if it might have been something one of our Spanish or Basque brothers introduced to our kitchen. But the Italians in the community took to the heads and feet with real relish. I can't say I enjoyed chewing on them, but the pilaf was good.

          2. I used them for stock, except for the liver. Then I feed the cooked heart and kidneys to my cats.

            24 Replies
            1. re: manraysky

              Lucky cats. Sometimes I keep 'em and freeze 'em for a recipe of dirty rice. Except the livers. Saute the livers with onion and sage - gently! - serve on toast or crackers. You don't eat 'em? Good! More for me!

              1. re: manraysky

                Uhhhh...I don't think chickens have kidneys. Most retail chickens I've seen these days come with neck, liver and "giblets", which I believe is the "crop". No, no..."crop".

                1. re: OldTimer

                  Not the crop. It's the gizzard. The crop is a pouch in a bird's digestive tract in which recently ingested/partially digested food is stored, either for feeding young (via regurgitation) or for further digestion.

                  1. re: OldTimer

                    Chickens sure do have kidneys.

                    Crop and gizzard are two separate things. The junk in the bag is heart, liver and gizzard.

                    1. re: QueenB

                      Those sort of rubbery little nerds on either side of the backbone down by the pelvis are I believe the kidneys. I usually leave them in and let'em cook with the chicken, then help myself to them later because nobody else eats them on purpose, not even my hyperomnivorous wife. If I'm going to make dirty rice, though, I pull them out and add them to the giblet mix.

                      1. re: Will Owen

                        When you and I sit down together, we're going to have to flip for em.

                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                          We'll just have to have two chickens. Or at least two chicken backs!

                          Speaking of which, I almost always cook those because Mrs. O loves them (except she leaves the kidneys! Go figure). When I eat chicken out, the thigh is often cut so that the important piece of pelvis is attached; I have noticed people looking my way with some disgust while I'm sitting in a KFC joint, digging kidneys out of my chicken bones...

                          1. re: Will Owen

                            You would be in heaven at the local poultry market. They still sell backs at 5 pounds for $1.25. All the yuppie just want the parts. The backs are the best bargain around for stock. A friend uses them for great chicken salad.
                            They also have tubs of gizzards, hearts and livers. Totally fresh at a great price.
                            Never could understand people pitching those innards.

                            1. re: MakingSense

                              Anyone else remember when chicken wings were on the bargain rack too?

                            2. re: Will Owen

                              Years ago back in high school I had a friend who used to work at KFC, and on the weekends she closed, we would have "KFC parties". Around 11PM she would bring home 100 pieces of "leftover chicken" (most of it thighs) for the dozen or so us assembled, waiting, with munchies fully blossomed.

                              I was the only member of the gang who liked the kidneys. I will leave it to you to complete the scene of absolute sybaritic bliss.

                              1. re: FoodFuser

                                QB, WO, MS, FFand others--I think we have the makings of a great party!

                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                  The idea of a party sounds good for some for some foods. But for chicken kidneys?.... a "party" implies that we would need to Share.

                                  1. re: FoodFuser

                                    Right. Just you and I. Arm wrassle, flip, draw cards,...whatever!

                                  2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                    I learned the fine art of "chicken pickin" from my dad. He's still much better than I am though. When he gets through with a breast, all that is left is this tiny pile of bones. He eats every speck of meat, even the intercostals (meat between the rib bones) I do the same, but usually with thighs. We may have an issue if we have to share!

                              2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                I was lucky enough to buy chicken whole hind quarters for a party that I was cooking for, and I took that part of the back out. Guess who got to keep them!

                              3. re: Will Owen

                                This is something I don't understand. Why don't people cook chicken backs any more? The back of the back (with the kidneys) was always my favorite part.

                                1. re: Will Owen

                                  Either I'm missing out on something, or at least some folks in this hijack are not talking about kidneys...it sounds like at least a couple of the posts are actually talking about the little nugget that some call the 'back oyster', which in anatomical terms, is the chicken's gluteus, and is on the dorsal side of the pelvis. The kidneys, however, are much smaller - about the size of a small pea in a typical fryer (3.5 lb), and tucked in a hollow of the pelvic girdle.

                                  I have never eaten the kidneys. I have to fight my kids over the 'back oysters', tho.

                                  1. re: ricepad

                                    rp: nuggets, back oysters, chicken gluteum, kidneys, backs--doesn't matter. If my read is right, my fellow hijackers (love the concept) and I would happily party with all of these bits. And you're invited.

                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                      Ricepad: yes, the 2 oysters are delicious. They are located exactly where you describe, on the exterior of the body wall, flanking the parson's nose (tail) and are lens-shaped, and sized about 1.5 - 2 inches diameter. The meat is succulent.

                                      The kidneys are on the Interior, running along either side of the backbone, near the tail. They are about 1 to 2 inches long, and roughly the diameter of a pencil. They are somewhat rough and bumpy rather than smooth. Bright red when raw, they cook to a brownish gray. They have to be "dug out" of their veterbral nest with the tip of the little finger or a chopstick. (This is why Will Owen's account, just above, is a bona fide account of a determined nephratic extraction).

                                      This drawing should clarify their position. Look for kidney as the red organ near the tail:

                                      FlyFish provided us with that drawing in a previous thread:

                                      As to the role of kidneys in this thread, they can be considered as part of the giblets; they simply didn't get put into the paper "giblet bag". If I'm going to make a super-dooper giblet gravy, I'll take the extra time to use the stewed and pulled neck meat, chopped heart, diced gizzard, and mashed kidneys and liver. And even a little of the shredded meat from the oyster.

                                      So, if you see someone walking into KFC with a single chopstick in their hand, the chances are good that they are a kidney-lover. Those "accountant types" with a single pencil tucked behind their ear might also be suspect.

                                      1. re: FoodFuser

                                        why do you need to dig them out? i just crunch through the bones to get to em

                                      2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                        I don't think even the Colonel goes through enough chickens to provide nearly enough backs to satisfy ALL of us!

                                        After having looked at the various drawings, it turns out that what I thought were the kidneys all these years (based on location and shape) are NOT. So what ARE those little things, about the size of a small pea and kidney-shaped, in the hollow of the pelvis? Not testes, but I don't think they're ovaries, either.

                                        1. re: ricepad

                                          >So what ARE those little things, about the size of a small pea and >kidney-shaped, in the hollow of the pelvis?

                                          Agreed! Up until this thread, I too always thought those little guys were the kidneys. Although in the chickens I usually buy, they are typically the size of a small lima bean.

                                        2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                          Aren't the oysters on the outside of the spine in the lower back the kidneys are inside higher up on the back bone?

                                        3. re: ricepad

                                          The "oysters" are analogous to the tenderloins on larger animals and just as tender. They never make it out the kitchen. I eat one and give the other to whoever is helping me. It's the cook's reward.

                                          Don't think we're really hijacking here. The OP asked about what to do with the "extras" besides the liver.
                                          Obviously, some people consider them pet food or trash, if not downright gross. There are a lot of CHs who never thought beyond gravy or stock.
                                          Maybe they'll give it a try and find out what they've been missing.

                                2. freeze for 20 mins, mince, and saute , and use in dirty rice.

                                  1. Add them to chicken noodle soup! I love them this way. Must be because that's how my mom makes soup.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: littlegreenpea

                                      I have the livers and freeze to amass for a rough country pate; the rest get browned up with a little s & p and garlic and fed to the dog, who has a very discriminating palate.

                                      1. re: lrostron

                                        I always save the livers. When there's enough I saute them with onions, mushrooms and marsala. Serve 'em over rice or noodles. I consider it my "cooks treat."

                                        Tried feeding cooked gizzards to the two cats the other day. One sort of sniggered and walked away... insulted, the other ate 'em up. Go figure.

                                    2. I just roasted a chicken today and I hate to say it but I tossed the giblets out... they're something I never know what to do with! One chicken liver doesn't seem like enough to make anything with... I never thought of tossing them in the freezer to save up.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Kajikit

                                        One chicken liver+butter+salt/pepper/dash of cayenne+5 minutes of your precious time=lovely bite for the cook. If I can't stop and do that at some point during the meal preparation I'm just not doing it right.

                                        If I *DARED* to discard anything edible, the outraged shades of at least five generations of Owens, Campbells, Kuntzes and Thomasons would rise up and haunt me for weeks. I'm sure of it...!

                                      2. The gizzard is the most favored part in eastern Uganda/western Kenya. When a chicken is cooked up, the gizzard is served to the most revered person present.

                                        (Don't ask for the gizzard; to do so means you think you're better than everyone else)

                                        1. Usually I throw the neck, wing tips, and giblets in a container I keep in the freezer; when the contents reach a critical mass, I make dirty rice.

                                          But sometimes I feel like gravy, and I'll make stock while the chicken roasts.

                                          Other times, I make stock for chicken soup, into which I'll put the pickin's off the bones of the roast chicken after dinner.

                                          1. I put them in a dish and stick them in the fridge, then my husband cooks them some night when i'm not home.

                                            1. Liver: pan fry slowly in butter and let butter brown, deglaze pan with dry vermouth and serve on white toast (lick the pan when it cools down). Neck, gizzard, heart: put in a bag and freeze until stock making time. Lovely little oysters on the back: property of the cook. Kidneys: Not interested; wouldn't know them if I saw them. Weird little pea-shaped browny-red thingies on the inside of the back: Don't like the taste.

                                              1. The innards get cooked and are served as a special treat to my "girls" with their kibble.

                                                1. My mom would chop the giblets coursely, season them well, then saute them in olive oil with onion. When they were done she would add uncooked rice (long grain) to the pot and saute that until the rice is translucent at the edge and then add water and put the lid on and cook the rice. Check the seasoning and then eat it.

                                                  1. Much as I love chicken liver sauteed in butter, it is, uh, not very good for me. So I usually cut up the giblets with scissors and give them to my very appreciative dog.

                                                    Well, sometimes I give her everything but the liver.

                                                    1. I fry them and eat them, my treat!

                                                      1. I roast them with the bird then have a nice little feast of my own since no one else in the family will touch them. When the bird is roasted whole, the tasty bits nestling near the backbone are excavated and enjoyed by moi.

                                                        1. I know this is super old but I just had to say that this post and discussion inspired me to experiment with the "baggie" that comes with my chicken and I have to say...it has been lovely. The liver is now my special treat that I sauteed and enjoy hot out of the pan. No time for crackers or accouterments. The neck I brown and add chopped onions, garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil and butter and a bit of stock or water and cook on low while the chicken roasts. I combine the pan drippings with this and make gravy. I also pick and eat the neck. So, thank you for opening my world to the wonders of chicken goodies. I just enjoyed another liver and it will not be my last.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Sarrastia

                                                            and dredge the gizzard in flour for a pan-fry, great chewy goodness. also as noted upstream, good with gravy on dirty rice.

                                                            1. re: Sarrastia

                                                              My favorite part of the chicken is the liver. Since most people don't eat them, you can buy a pound of liver for pretty cheap--I see them in what look like soup containers with a sealed lid for ~$1.70 a pound at the grocery store.

                                                              There's tons of things you can do with the liver. I like to saute them with some thyme, oregano, garlic, and shallots and then deglaze with some brandy/cognac. Puree 50/50 with ricotta for an awesome ravioli filling, and use beurre blanc as the sauce.

                                                              You can also do sort of like a chicken liver mousse, sweetened with reduced madeira and/or tawny port, that I serve like a creme brulee with a fig/cherry/port reduction on top and brown with a torch.

                                                            2. I spread them out on the bottom with the veggies. Makes delicious gravy.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                I sometimes cut out the spine, cut thru ribs on either side, to add to stock. Then flatten chicken. I think that's spatchcocked.

                                                                1. re: divadmas

                                                                  It is, and a great way to get parts for stock.

                                                                  Also quicker cooking, especially if you start off in a fry pan.