It’s rare for cooks to forget the first time they ever peered into a bag of poultry giblets. Gazing upon those internal organs may make you feel more like a cop investigating a crime scene than a cook. However, in time, your culinary instincts will reveal giblets to be the backbone of any rich, tasty poultry stock. Boiling whole giblets for stock is one of the easiest parts of preparing the meal.
What are Giblets?
Giblets are the vital organs in poultry. Inside a typical giblet bag, you’ll find the heart, gizzard, liver and neck. Although the neck is not technically a giblet, it is a flavorful part of any chicken or turkey stock.
If you merely want a quick, basic stock, boiling the giblets is the easiest method. Put the heart, gizzard and neck into a saucepan. You can also include the tail, if desired. Set the liver aside -- most cooks do not use the liver as it can give the stock a bitter flavor. Cover the giblets with water and add salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pan and simmer the giblets for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the gizzard is tender. For a richer stock, add bouillon or a can of chicken broth. However, remember that processed broth -- whether dried or canned -- contains a large amount of salt. If you’re adding prepared broth, it’s best not salt the giblets initially. Instead, taste the stock after it has simmered for about 20 minutes and add more salt at that time, if necessary. The last thing you want is a stock that’s so salty it’s offensive to the palate.
Giblets can be sautéed, then boiled with a variety of root vegetables to give the stock a heartier flavor. Cut the neck and gizzard in half. Sauté them, along with the heart, in 2 tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil. Add a chopped onion. Cover the pan and allow the giblets and onion to cook at a low temperature for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the giblets are tender, add 3 to 5 cups of water. You also can add one chopped carrot, a chopped celery stalk and your favorite fresh herbs, if desired. Bring the contents to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow the stock to simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Strain with a fine-mesh sieve. Use the giblet stock for any recipe that calls for prepared chicken or turkey broth.
Fish the giblets out of the stock, chop them and set them aside. Prepare the gravy by combining the stock with the pan drippings of a roasted turkey or chicken. After the gravy is thickened with flour or corn starch, add the giblet pieces and serve.
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