If you're like many home cooks, you may toss the bag of giblets stuffed into the cavity of your chicken into the trash simply because you don't know what else to do with it. But the chicken liver and gizzards, also known as the second stomach, are full of flavor and can be fried, stewed or used as a flavor-enhancer for gravies and sauces.
Battered and Fried
Frying is a quick and tasty preparation for chicken livers and gizzards. It also might help win over your picky eaters.
Place the chicken livers and gizzards in a colander and rinse under running water. Pat dry with paper towels.
In three separate shallow bowls, create an assembly line for your coating: one bowl with a beaten egg, one with flour seasoned with salt and pepper and one with breadcrumbs. To vary your dish, season your flour with other herbs and spices such as cayenne, onion powder or thyme.
In small batches, dredge your chicken livers and gizzards first in the egg mixture, then the flour and finally the breadcrumbs. Place on a clean plate.
Heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil in a skillet over moderately high heat until simmering. Add the liver and gizzards and cook until crispy and browned, about 5 minutes. Place the cooked giblets on a paper towel to drain the excess oil, and serve with lemon.
If you prefer a classical preparation for your the giblets, consider simmering with your favorite seasonings. While water works fine for simmering chicken livers and gizzards, wine or broth works well too.
Season your chicken liver and gizzards with salt and pepper. Let stand for at least 10 minutes to allow the giblets to absorb the flavor.
Saute onions and garlic in a large pot over medium heat in oil until soft, about 10 minutes.
Add liver and gizzards and cook until brown, about 5 minutes.
Cover onion and giblet mixture with 2 cups of water. Cover your pot with a lid and let simmer for 30 minutes. Adjust seasonings as needed. Serve over rice.
Added to Sauce
Cooked chicken liver and gizzards add a lot of flavor to both gravies and pasta sauces. To prepare, season the giblets with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat in oil for about 5 minutes. Once cooked, chop the giblets and add to your simmering gravy or pasta sauce to allow the flavors to blend. If you're not ready to use your cooked chicken liver and gizzards, place in a covered container and keep in the refrigerator for up to three days or the freezer for up to one month.
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- Use any acid, such as vermouth, vodka, Cognac, bourbon or cider, in your braising liquid.
- To intensify the caramelized crust during searing, lightly dredge livers and gizzards in flour beforehand.
- Opt for a small heavy-bottomed pot to concentrate your braising liquid and flavor.
- Save the braising liquid for soups and casseroles.
- Stay at the stove when you sear the livers and gizzards. You want them to take on a sweet-smelling aroma and nutty color, but nothing more intense.
- Don't drown your items in braising liquid. The idea is to create something akin to a steam bath whose steady evaporation will cook the meat and condense flavor.
Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and sharing her love of food, nutrition and health with anyone who'll listen for almost 20 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and Working Mother.