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Chicken gizzards

I have recently been oven-roasting whole chickens, which is a delicious preparation. What do I do with the organs and gizzard? For some reason chicken stock recipes never recommend using these, I'm not sure why. I know some people saute these pieces and eat them; that does not exactly appeal to me, although I'd be willing to give it a try.

Any ideas?

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  1. Guess there's just an Ewwww factor to this stuff now since so many people are used to buying boneless, skinless, antiseptic pieces of chicken.
    I often throw everything but the liver into the stockpot or save them up in the freezer until I'm ready to make stock or use them for something.
    The hearts and gizzards are really delicious. I smother them with a little onion and chicken stock.
    Chopped up with a bit of the liver they make a fabulous Cajun Dirty Rice to serve with your roasted chicken or as a side dish for any kind of casual meal.
    I also add them chopped to country pat├ęs for additional texture.
    The hearts cook quickly enough that you can grill them on skewers but the gizzards need a bit of simmering. Give them a try.

    5 Replies
    1. re: MakingSense

      To continue on this theme, Salade aux Gesiers is a French version of Gizzard Salad (mixed soft greens, sliced sauteed gizzards & mustard-y vinaigrette) and unexpectedly delicious.

      I used to curry the hearts & gizzards when I'd accumulated enough to make a meal.

      A family favorite combines two unappreciated foods - liver and spinach. Sauteed chicken livers, mushrooms & diced ham in Marsala served over creamed spinach. Looks awful and tastes like heaven.

      OP, I have no idea why the recipes you're searching for stock eliminate the innards except for what MakingSense termed the "Ewwwww factor". They're traditionally included but skip the liver to save for another preparation. It does make stock taste liver-ish.

      At Baltimore's Lexington Market, deep-fried gizzards and hearts are served "to go" and are a wonderful walk-around treat for munching.

      A freezer will be your best friend - each chicken will yield some treasure(s) to be saved for future "free" meals.

      1. re: Sherri

        I thinkt hat place in lexington market is run by koreans, right? I could've sworn that my mother was talking about that place a few months ago....

        I love chicken livers, hearts, and gizzards oh my!!!!!!!! never had them deep fried though - sounds divine

        1. re: bitsubeats

          Here in the South we fight over the gizzards and the heart. I sometimes buy up packs of them and fry them up for a truly trashy treat. Love it. Livers are good, too, but you gotta be careful and not over-cook them.

          1. re: uptown jimmy

            Chicken liver, yum, yum, yum! I'm not even from the South and I love them! Pork kidney has that rich organ-y taste too, I once did a stir fry and was very skeptical til the first bite. Delicious!

      2. re: MakingSense

        If you find you don't like them and have a dog........Sometimes when they're on sale I'll buy a few pkgs, sautee them and feed my yellow lab. She loves them.

      3. Put egg and flour on them and fry them then dip in Ranch.Or chop in tiny pieces and add them to gravy for more flavor.

        1. Dust gizzards with flour, sautee in chicken fat until browned, add cheap red wine and water and simmer until tender. Good over pasta or added into rice. Chopped up with some hot spicing added, it's the base for "dirty rice".

          I like the taste and mouth feel of chicken hearts better than gizzards. You can use the recipe above. Also, chicken hearts are great with mushrooms. Substitute for beef in most any Beef Bourguignon recipe.

          Chicken hearts are a great mix-in with most spaghetti sauces.

          Related to hearts and gizzards, gently cooked chicken livers added into spaghetti sauce is the basis of pasta "a la Caruso".

          Here in Queens, in NYC, the Trade Fair supermarket, a small local chain, sells pre-packed gizzards and hearts, in additon to chicken livers.

          1. When I was growing up the gizzards (and heart) from Mom's fried chicken never made it to the table. We kids snatched them up as soon as they were cooked. We always thought they were the best part.

            Brown's Fried Chicken used to offer fried gizzards as a option to order. Don't know if they still do.

            And those innerds are perfect for the stock for gravy -- along with the neck and back, some onion, celery and carrot.

            Too bad processors don't usually include them. They're a special treat.

            1. We freeze each organ in a separate bag until we have enough to do something interesting, usually within two months. It usually ends up in something creole-like; at the very least they go into the stock pot.

              1. I'm close to plenty of markets that sell gizzards by the pound, and I love to use them when I make gumbo. Simmering very gently for a long time renders them totally tender, and the collagen from that formerly-gristly mantle helps to give good body to the broth. I've loved gizzards all my life, and I'm so glad to be able to get as many as I like instead of just one per chicken! They're really cheap, too.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Will Owen

                  I once made a simple saute of the livers and heart and gizzards, a very tiny touch of salt, and deglazed the pan with water. Poured it onto a plate, let if cool off a bit, then served it to my cat. Big mistake. I was never allowed to serve myself those things again as the cat would come running if she heard and smelled livers and gizzards hitting the hot pan. Now that she is gone, I'm gonna try that idea of yours to add gizzards to gumbo. It sounds like a wonderful idea.

                2. Dirty rice. I don't have a recipe handy, but here is a link to Emeril's version:

                  1. I usually buy only several sets of the funny bits, including organs and the necks, head, and feet (although I don't use these latter two items) from a woman at work who produces organic, barnyard chickens. Delicious with all finely sliced and the neck cut in bite-size lengths and marinaded in either a teriyaki or adobo sauce for a day or two. Just have to dump the bits in a pan with just a bit of oil, saute, remove, reduce the marinade, put it all together on heat for a last minute, and serve with hot steamed rice. Can do either with sauteed feather cut onions as well to get almost a whole meal in one.

                    1. Instead of regular AP flour, use Wondra flour - it is designed for dredging things that will be sauteed, and produces a more consistent result. But whatever you do, don't waste the giblets (consisting of the heart, gizzard and liver). The neck begs to be added to stock unless you are like me and grew up eating the roasted neck.

                      For graduate study, get whole chickens at Asian markets - with the feet and whole neck and head. While you might omit the head itself (unless you don't mind seeing the head bobbing in stock - I don't), the full neck and the feet make for much better stock. And you are wasting less of a bird that died to feed you.

                      1. I make pasta sauce with those bits. Cheaper than the whole bird. Cleaning the gizzards is a pain but once you're done if you chop it and the heart up pretty well no one can really tell, just in case you are feeding squeamish eaters. The liver should be used in moderation though as it's strongly flavored. I do this with duck gizzard and it's great over polenta.

                        Just follow a regular pasta sauce recipe: sweat your aromatics, add the meat, brown, then wine & tomatoes and settle back for a long simmer. Yum, yum.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Louise

                          THe simplest solution for guests who find chicken livers too strongly flavored is for the poor cook to eat them her/himself.... What we have to do for our dear guests.

                        2. Something that I have only once a year is a delicious and savory Italian dish of chicken livers in wine and marinara sauce with baby peas and bacon over papperdelle or cavatelli~yummmm!

                          1. Sometimes I wash the giblets and neck off, and place in the roasting pan, at the base of the bird, so they will be cooked in the rendered fat. Salt, pepper and season the same as your roasted chicken. They get crunchy/chewy, and are a nice treat. Other times, I put them in the stock, except for the liver, which I fry up and eat, to give myself energy to cook!

                            Giblets also make a great addition to stuffing. I make a cornbread stuffing, and flavor it with onion, bacon, chicken stock, and the giblets. For stuffing, I do use the liver, cutting it up and mixing it in. I think giblets are awesome, not offal!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Seldomsated

                              Actually, that's often what I do as well (the roasting pan thing). I consider these - along with the tail and some other tasty morsels - to be the Cook's Choice. Then again, I love to eat the crispy-tender bones like the spine and drumstick knee joints and wing pinions....

                              1. re: Karl S

                                I thought I was the only one. (I'll no longer do it with guilt!) I can reduce a chicken down to a little bit of nothing if you give me a little time, LOL.

                            2. A classic Jewish dish that I love is a chicken "fricassee" made with chicken wings, gizzards, hearts, and tiny meatballs simmered for a long time in a paprika/garlic flavored sauce and served with noodles, rice or mashed potatoes.

                              1. WE buy them by the pound too.
                                1. Put them in the oven with some chopped garlic and parsley, S&P and roast with the chicken roasting.
                                2. Cook on the stove top slowly, almost stewed and let liquid reduce. Add a little white wine (same seasoning as above).
                                3. For livers - chicken liver crostini (holidays only - very rich)
                                4. Chop them up, use to make a pasta sauce.

                                1. The reason you don't use gizzard and liver in stock is it clouds it terrible... It will look like poop soup when you are done with a 8 hour stock simmer.

                                  I would however recommend getting yourself a pound or 2 of gizzards together over time in the freezer then when you have enough for a good appetizer, bring them to a boil in a stock and lower it to a simmer for 1 hour. Drain and let cool. Take some unsalted butter into your searing pan and dip the cooled gizzards into some flour (maybe pre-dredge them in paprika and garlic powder or curry and then dip them in the flour to coat). Knock off any extra flour and set them in the butter on a medium high (just before burn or smoke). Roll them around to the other side to brown then turn your heat down to a medium and cover for 10 minutes.

                                  Use a nice dipping sauce and you will surely fall in love with this dish and your family will too. Nothing on a chicken can ever taste any better than properly prepared gizzards.

                                  1. I like to chop up the organ meats and make a curry organmeatsauce. It's delicious!

                                    Or just fry them up in a pan with butter. :)

                                    1. Cajun Dirty Rice http://www.cooks.com/rec/search/0,1-0... I ain't from the South But we ate rice and gizzards GOOOOOD stuff !

                                      1. I buy the hearts & gizzards by the pound as well, and braise them in a soy-based master sauce the Cantonese way (the "lo suy" method). My family calls them "chicken snacks" and I can never make too big a batch - they get gobbled up quickly. Cheap and tasty!

                                        1. gizzards in the chicken soup were always fought over when I was growing up.

                                          1. Not to resurrect an old threat, but... the best thing, most immediate, thing to do with gizzards is to make giblet gravy from it. They make a rich, dark ( for poultry ) gravy. All you need to do is take out the gizzards when you go to prep the chicken, chop them, and brown them in a pan with some sort of fat ( butter ends up in the gravy anyway, so, that can be a good choice ). Then simmer them in water equal to how much gravy you want while the chicken cooks. If you want, you can just add flour straight to the pan you browned the gizzards in ( to make a roux ) and add that mixture right to the simmering, chopped, gizzards. Whisk until it reaches the right consistency, and voila. Add salt and pepper to taste, and you've got a rich chicken giblet gravy that goes great on potatoes, as well as the lighter, less flavorful, parts of the chicken.

                                            1. Make giouvetsi with them.