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Livers (and other organ meat) in chicken stock

Anyone know what the deal is with putting organ meat in chicken stock?

Another chicken question!

I make stock from two small carcasses from roasted chickens, and this time one of the chickens came with the packet of organs so I threw those in the pot. I'm pretty sure it tasted fine when it was done, but I already froze it so I can't double check. Everything online says livers will make the stock bitter. Is that true? And how many would you have to add before the liver flavor comes through?

I just want to be sure so when I defrost the stock I'm not left with a bitter unusable batch.

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  1. And, that being said, is there anything I can do to remedy it if it turns out to be bitter once I defrost it?

    1 Reply
    1. re: EggyEggoo

      it won't really be bitter -- it will taste liver-y --- if you like the taste of liver, this is no big deal.

      If it's pronounced when it's thawed and heated, I'd use it for vegetable soup or something where you add tomatoes or something else that will mask the flavor.

    2. I accidentally wade a turkey stock not realizing that the organs packet had remained in the neck cavity. The liver flavor was pronounced, but I wouldn't call it bitter. I ended up tossing the stock, after several attempts at doing things with it, because I didn't like the liver flavor there.

      1. To make gravy for turkey I use the gizzards and neck to create the broth I use after deglazing the fond in the pan. Makes good gravy.

        1 Reply
        1. re: melpy

          Liver and gizzards are completely different.

        2. Bad idea to add liver or other organ meats when making stock.

          I love liver. But liver soup? Not so much.

          1. <Everything online says livers will make the stock bitter. Is that true?>

            I won't use the word bitter, but it does have a very unique taste to it. I have had routine make chicken liver dishes, but not as part of stock.

            1. I always use the gizzards, hearts and necks in my stocks, but the livers I save for other uses because, as others have aptly pointed out, they make the stock taste not bitter but livery. And it doesn't take much.

              If after defrosting you find your stock does have that organic flavor, as melpy says it will make fine gravy but won't be great for soup. Consider it a lesson learned. You can also use it as the liquid for a stuffing or dressing or sauce. Just don't throw it out after all that work.

              3 Replies
              1. re: acgold7

                I'm thinking I may have saved out the liver and only used the other meats in my "turkey water". Drawing a blank now though.

                1. re: acgold7

                  Well that's good to hear considering I mostly use my stocks for gravies and sauces. I'd hate for it to all go to waste. I don't make soup very often, so when I do, I'll be sure to use the better stuff.

                  1. re: acgold7

                    Like you I use everything except the liver. Hearts and gizzards, no problem. I often eat the hearts and gizzards when straining the soup. The flavors are muted but they are soft and tender. It takes some time to cook gizzards anyway

                  2. Everything but the livers. The livers are to either be added to a sauce or enjoyed on their own...

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Karl S

                      I usually cook the livers and eat them on the spot while making the stock

                        1. re: scubadoo97

                          I cook them and give them to the cat. Although I have made a good pate, I'm the only one who likes it.

                          1. re: wyogal

                            will the cat not eat them raw? kitties can't cook. ;)

                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                              I don't want to give them to her raw. Grosses me out. :)
                              I'm sure she would eat them raw, as she eats baby bunnies in the spring, she leaves their tiny heads at the door.

                          2. re: scubadoo97

                            Mom always diced the liver and sauteed it along with the onion and celery when making stuffing for chicken/turkey. So that's what I do too. One time the innards bag had two hearts but no liver and I thought the stuffing suffered without it. IMO it doesn't add an identifiable liver flavor to the stuffing - more like a more general rich umami boost.

                        2. Thank you everyone for their your and insight! I wanted to report back, as I defrosted some of this batch last night.

                          I roasted a chicken in a skillet in the oven, and made a little sauce by deglazing the pan juices with about a cup of this batch of stock.

                          The verdict is that it was just fine. I think maybe there were slight "livery undertones" but I honestly think if I hadn't been looking for it, I wouldn't have noticed (and my boyfriend was equally happy with the results.)

                          So, my fear that this batch would be totally unusable was wrong. True, I don't think I'll use it in something like chicken soup, but for a more complex sauce or gravy (mine had the addition of shallots and parsley) it was totally fine.

                          It might also be important to note that I made a double-batch of stock using two chicken carcasses, but only one pouch of organs, so maybe that helped the flavor stay in the background. I think any more than that would have given it a much more pronounced live flavor.

                          Just wanted to pass along the good news! Thanks again everyone.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: EggyEggoo

                            Good! You can also use it to make bolognese, which has minced liver in it anyway. This recipe is excellent:

                            1. re: Niblet

                              Holy $#!+ that looks amazing, thank you for sharing!

                              1. re: EggyEggoo

                                It's a hassle to make, but I did love the flavors. If you go for it, my suggestion is to mince up the meat, especially the livers, very fine. I made a note on the recipe for next time to pulse finely in a processor. Although I doubt I'll do it again, I'd rather just go to No 9 and spare myself the work!

                                1. re: Niblet

                                  Sorry to keep this thread going on an unrelated subject but I'm really excited to make this sauce!

                                  The recipe says to reserve the liquid from the tomatoes but the recipe never mentions if/when to put it back in... do you just reserve to thin out the sauce if necessary?

                                  Not a bad suggestion about the livers in the food processor, and if I'm dragging it out anyway I'll crush the tomatoes in there while I'm at it.

                                  1. re: EggyEggoo

                                    Funny, I don't remember; I probably tossed it all in with the tomatoes and let it reduce down.