not awful
August 14, 2014 10:47 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to have the opportunity to expand my eating soon, and I'm looking for offal (not awful) recipies.

What are your favorites, your standbys? And tips, techniques, or advice? Tongue, kidney, liver, trotters, ears, tails, all of it.
posted by the man of twists and turns to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I've eaten these things in several restaurants, and am familiar with them. I just want to make them at home.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:49 AM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've been meaning to make Serious Eats' tonkatsu ramen recipe for a while, which calls for trotters.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:49 AM on August 14, 2014

The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating is a classic of the genre.
posted by pullayup at 10:56 AM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

1. Fry bacon in a hot skillet. (I find crispier is better, for texture contrast, but YMMV.)
2. Saute onions in bacon fat until translucent
3. Fry liver in bacon fat, with onions, until it stops bleeding.
4. Eat immediately and with great relish.

I've also had liver mixed with ground beef, and it makes a flavorful burger. It doesn't disguise the liver taste, but it makes it a little less overwhelming if you find you don't love it by itself.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:58 AM on August 14, 2014

Also, beef hearts are delicious. They taste *very* beefy, and are quite rich. I've always just pan-fried them with onions (the onions balance the flavor somewhat) and the only caveat I'd put on them is don't overestimate your portion size. They fill me up super fast.
posted by restless_nomad at 11:01 AM on August 14, 2014

Poach tongue with aromatics (onions, carrots, celery, parsely, black pepper, garlic, herbs, or, you know, other vegetables/flavorings depending on how you want to ultimately use it) until you can slip a knife ine easily into the thickest part (several hours for cow tongues, less for smaller tongues—lambs' tongues in particular are damn small). For cow tongues you'll want to peel off the outermost layer with all the papillae (though you don't have to): do this by making a small cut towards the tip and just, well, peeling it off. If it's cooked it should come off pretty easily. You may want to toss it in some cold water first; it'll make it easier to handle and also somewhat easier to peel. The cooking liquid will have become a light broth; do with this what you will. Lots of options with the tongue: slice it thin and serve cold with some boiled potatoes, pickles, mustard, and the like; slice it not as thin and put it under a broiler to crisp it up (recommended!); serve it with some salsa verde (whether you understand this to be tomatillo-based or parsley, tarragon, etc–based) or with some red salsa. Tongue is great!

I believe heart is considered offal (even though unlike most of the things called offal, it's a muscle). Lamb hearts are really nice; you can slice them into strips, marinate them, and cook them quickly. If you have a grill you can make anticuchos from beef hearts, or just cut it into, like, heart steaks and treat it more or less like flank steak. (It's a little unusual texturally because heart is a smooth muscle unlike most of what we're accustomed to eat, muscle-wise, but it tastes good.)
posted by kenko at 11:02 AM on August 14, 2014

Fegato alla Veneziana for your calves' liver. NB Calf liver only, liver from adult cows is not nice.
posted by kenko at 11:03 AM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

You can render the fat that is likely to be clinging to the outside of your beef hearts and cook fries in them, highly recommended.

Tripe stewed with tomatoes and chili peppers is nice; I haven't made this myself (but have had it made for me) so I can't make specific recommendations, but the basic procedure is pretty straightforward, as I understand it, once you've got the whole "cleaning the tripe" bit down.

I consider chicken livers generally nasty, but if you cook one quickly when you're making a tomato sauce, and sort of mash it up, and add it back in at the end of the sauce-making, it does give a nice depth to the flavor. But don't overdo it if you don't like the metallic grodiness of chicken liver generally. (Of course, if you DO like that, go hog wild.)

In general, consult The Nasty Bits.
posted by kenko at 11:07 AM on August 14, 2014

One of my absolute favorite things is grilled chicken hearts. Put 5 or 6 on a skewer, brush with olive oil, add some salt and pepper. They cook very quickly - 5 or 6 minutes over high heat - and they're delicious, a kind of richer, darker chicken flavor.

It's a bit of a project, but menudo can be ridiculously good.
posted by ZaphodB at 11:11 AM on August 14, 2014

This looks like an awesome tongue recipe.

</tongue evangelist>
posted by kenko at 11:19 AM on August 14, 2014

There are many different recipes of hígado encebollado (beef liver with onions) around from Spain and most Latin American countries, see which version you'd like best.

My mom used to make lamb's brains battered and fried when my sisters and I were children. They look like chicken nuggets.
posted by sukeban at 11:20 AM on August 14, 2014

Duck hearts skewered and brushed with soy sauce or tare, seared on a screaming hot cast iron grill, or better yet, over mega-hot coals.

posted by furnace.heart at 11:24 AM on August 14, 2014

The Cattleman's Steakhouse in Oklahoma City serves calf brains and scrambled eggs at breakfast.
posted by brujita at 11:42 AM on August 14, 2014

I grind beef heart up 50/50 with eye of round to make some really beefy, flavorful ground beef.
posted by Floydd at 12:03 PM on August 14, 2014

I don't think oxtails are considered offal anymore given how expensive they are but this recipe turns out really well.

But if you're gonna go offal, you have to go chitterlings. This is a pretty good recipe but it needs 1/4 cup vinegar. Serve with cole slaw and hot pepper sauce (Lousiana hot sauce).
posted by shoesietart at 12:58 PM on August 14, 2014

I love me some chicken hearts.

posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 2:34 PM on August 14, 2014

Along with chicken hearts, chicken gizzards are delicious, and cheap! I've had them with a simple recipe, like many of the other recipes here, light on the seasoning.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:09 PM on August 14, 2014

SWEET BREADS. mmmmmmm. Slightly breaded, pan fried, pretty versatile. In a salad, over some pureed celery, with some roasted garlic... mmmmmm sweet breads.

If you like the flavor of bone marrow and the texture of custard, then brains are for you. They are very delicate. I remember when my dad and I had our very own offal party, having to remove a thin layer of something on the outside and then poaching them before pan frying them - it was a bit labor intensive.

Kidneys are actually pretty good in a mushroom sauce, but you really have to soak them to get the (sorry) urine flavor out.

If you can get your hands on real foie gras (the actual raw liver, and not the pate), that is perhaps the most divine. Pan fry quickly (too long and it overcooks/melts into nothing) and serve over some sort of acidic fruit something or other - fresh kiwi, skinned grapes, a raspberry coulis... with some crispy potatoes.

Happy eating!
posted by microcarpetus at 7:47 PM on August 14, 2014

Chicken livers fried in herbed oil or butter, on toast. Yum.

Fried kidneys are delicious for breakfast, but I'd go for sheep's rather than beef (I've never soaked them, maybe that's only needed if they're in a sauce?)
Steak and kidney pudding is truly wonderful but tiresome to make.

Tongue is really really great but beyond my cooking ability.

Sheep's liver cut into inch-square chunks, briefly fried with onions, tossed with a little flour, then a bit of stock added and simmered - my mouth is watering.
posted by anadem at 9:02 PM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'll report.

I made Pork Liver And Onions. It was .... ok. Very strongly flavored. I used the leftovers in a kind of stir-fry, which was good but also very strong. Perhaps calf or lamb instead of pork next time.

I also made pan-friend lambs kidneys on toast, which worked well with the toast I picked. All the recipes say to remove "gristle," but it's really the ureters. Gotta take them out to remove that piquant flavor.

The real standout was the heart kabobs - spicy, tender, delicious. I'm thinking stuffed heart for Valentine's day.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:13 AM on September 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

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