2/17/10

Giz. It's what's for dinner.

I was driving home the other day, and passed this truck:


I know it's a crappy picture and you can't tell what he's hauling, so I'll just tell you what it is.

Milk.

Jugs and jugs of milk. I'm not sure what he was planning to do with it, but if you see a really great sale on milk somewhere in upstate NY over the next couple of days, I'd probably pass.

And speaking of great sales at the grocery store, they were practically giving this away:


Chicken Gizzards & Hearts? Why?

There has to be a cook or three out there reading this right now, so riddle me this: What does one actually do with gizzards and hearts? I'm guessing that you don't deep fry them and eat them like juicy little tater tots, and I'm pretty sure you probably aren't supposed to boil them and then toss them lightly with angel hair pasta and olive oil.

As far as I can tell, the only possible use for these things would be to give them to your kid on Halloween so he can chuck them at girls and stuff them in mailboxes. Yes, I would be a bad parent, but that's beside the point.

So it's up to you, gourmet chefs of the world. Tell me what's up with these things. And while you're at it, please explain to me the allure of head cheese. Thank you.


58 comments:

  1. Although I fancy myself a fairly good chef (amateur), I choose to use these more for fishing...along with chicken livers. Livers/hearts/gizzards + midnight summer fishing = good times. Maybe that's just because of the copious quantities of beer we consume while fishing…

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  2. Anonymous7:49 PM

    The chicken heart is quite popular in Brazilian barbecue, and very tasty - a little chewy but very flavorful (it's just another muscle after all). Gizzards are basically great for chicken stocks and gravies. While they're very difficult to eat themselves, they have a ton of flavor in them, and that's what you need for a stock or gravy.

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  3. The ethnic grocery store by my house sells huge packages of these things, as well as other parts I consider inedible. My daddy, though, loves fried gizzards and greens. I think it's a Southern thing?

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  4. That truck load of milk is hilarious. Judging from the condition of that.. lets call it a truck.. I'm going to guess that that's one cheap pig farmer hauling a load of expired milk to fatten up his hogs. Although, I have heard that they make chocolate milk out of the expired stuff...

    As for the chicken innards - just say no.

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  5. A customer of mine has her dog on the BARF (biologically appropriate raw food) diet, and she buys this stuff to feed him.

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  6. The milk was probably destined for my local food lion. After the first rush for milk and eggs right before the last blizzard, food lion put EXPIRED milk on the shelf to meet the demand. One second, they had no milk. The next, like magic, milk showed up. Only just slightly past its date. Buyer beware! Thank god I'm lactose intolerant. I'm also Food Lion intolerant.

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  7. I don't think it's just a Southern thing kc. I grew up in Schenectady and my dad used to make chicken gizzards all the time. He would dredge them in flour and fry 'em up. Nobody else in the house would eat them...

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  8. Anonymous8:55 PM

    My mom uses them in her fantastic giblet stuffing - chop, saute in butter, and mix into the stuffing. We usually buy extra because one turkey/chicken's worth isn't enough.

    No clue why anyone would like head cheese.

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  9. Head cheese to me falls in the same category as "potted meat" - inedible.

    Offal is kind of a sub culinary culture.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Offal

    (I am only linking to wikipedia because you will know it is a legit link, lol.)

    It gets a very high price at fine dining restaurants, in fact there are some that serve only offal. Personally, liver is good, I am cool on the rest.

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  10. Fried chicken gizzards are one of my favorite parts of the chicken.

    They are a little tough, but they do have a TON of flavor like someone said above me.

    I'll pass on the hearts and the milk though.

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  11. Even after reading the entire post, I still read the title as "JIZZ." Where *is* my mind? :D

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  12. I thought the same thing as Jody...but knowing your blog, didn't even entertain the thought...well, not for more than a couple seconds anyhow...and then you brought head cheese into it and threw my poor little brain right back into the gutter...

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  13. Anonymous11:59 PM

    I, for one, love chicken hearts. The rest of my family (parents and siblings) much prefer gizzardswe cook them be dredging in seasoned flour and shallow frying.

    My dad likes headcheese. I find it absolutely disgusting.

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  14. For me hearts and gizzards (aside from bait to catch catfish) are just something to toss in the giblet gravy or use in soup stock. Eating them whole? Pass!

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  15. I use gizzards to help fill up the landfills. Pull them out of the turkey, toss them, and forget about them!

    As for head cheese, I'd shelved this memory away until you had to go and remind me. The network station TBS used to have "Dinner and a Movie" that they showed every Friday night. Right before commercial breaks they'd give the next step or two in cooking some meal. One night it was head cheese. Oh how I wish I had DVR back then and could have skipped those segments!

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  16. Ew and ew.

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  17. The chicken hearts and gizzards are quite popular sauteed or fried here in Egypt among my Egyptian acquaintances. I myself give them a pass.

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  18. Matt M9:53 AM

    At the local fried chicken house, I believe that not only can you get an order of fried chicken livers, you can get hearts, too.

    If you simmer the hearts and gizzards for a good long time, then take them out, the broth is much better than the chicken broth that comes in cans.

    I wonder if the milk is going to the dump. Can you imagine what that is going to smell like when the spring thaw comes?

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  19. I'd feed the chicken parts to my dogs, ala BARF diet. The cheaper the better!

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  20. Down here in Texas we occasionally use gizzards to make jiblet gravy. As for the hearts, well, not so much.

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  21. Frying seems to be the answer. Being from the South, I just assumed that's what you did with them. I think maybe you soak them in milk, first. Personally, I'll stick with the breasts and thighs.

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  22. I thought I was doing my cat a grand culinary favour when I fed her the chicken gizzards pulled from the bird proper I was making for dinner. She got down really low, circled her dish and snarled, and pawed at the meat a bit before leaving to hide in the closet till I'd cleared it away.

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  23. I'm with Jodey and Jae. I started reading with my mind already in the gutter.

    I love the chicken and turkey gizzard. It's my favorite part of the meal. My family normally cooks the gizzard and heart in with the dressing. My mom gets the heart, so I can't comment on it. I have tried buying the package and making it for a meal with gravy, but it's just not the same. I've never had it fried, but I bet it would be tasty.

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  24. Anonymous2:50 PM

    chicken heart is delicious. put it on a skewer and roast it over a fire, sprinkle some herbs and MSG on it and you're set.

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  25. I'm actually making head cheese this weekend! We have a fresh head and some trotters to use up. I'm not a fan but my bf loves the stuff. Chopped into cubes and doused in white vinegar.The hearts and gizzards we either just roast or use them for gravy. Yeah we're pretty gross: )

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  26. flo-dee-doe4:12 PM

    My mom loves fried gizzards, but frankly, the texture and chewiness reminded me of what the inside of a golfball would be like if fried.
    Gave one to the cat. She never could get it chewed - an everlasting gobstopper of an innard.

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  27. redraven5:30 PM

    My mom used to cut up the gizzards and liver from the turkey to put in the dressing (yuck) at Thanksgiving. If my dad had been duck hunting, she would give those parts and pieces to the cats, who eagerly awaited them.

    Now that I'm the adult, there are no gizzards, hearts, or livers cooked and served in any manner. No way, no how. My children may have grown up never knowing the delight ( ? ) of eating innards, but I figure they can make up for it when they're in their own households, if they so wish.

    Given that it can carry the prions associated with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, I'm not really inclined to eat organ meat of any kind.

    I'm afraid to even ask how head cheese is made.

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  28. get chicken gizzard soup

    you won't turn back


    also, that milk is maybe from supermarkets and past use-by date? they're just dumping it in storm water drain or something

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  29. Chicken hearts and gizzards are used as ammunition in meat cannons designed to confuse zombies and give you enough time to escape. it kind of looks like a blunderbuss oozing ichor.

    Well, that's what I use them for.

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  30. the heart is something in my family that is fought over (especially at thanksgiving with the turkey)...now that i say that, let me clarify: i, personally, do NOT even attempt to get it...because EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

    (we are from Ohio...so nothing exotic there)

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  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  32. As a fellow upstater, I'd say the truck was leaving a P&C going out of business sale. Now, if you get head cheese figured out, can you explain liverwurst

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  33. My dad used to love wrapping chicken livers in bacon and...baking them, I think. He called it rumaki, but I'm sure he didn't use chestnuts and I don't remember him marinating them, but I was young.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumaki

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  34. I gave my dog chicken hearts and livers. He loved them over brown rice.

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  35. I use the heart and gizzards (and the neck) to flavor the stock I use for my gravy. Once I've made the stock I toss the heart, gizzards and neck. I have no desire to eat them. I think they're really weird looking and by association weird tasting.

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  36. We Filipinos (or shall I say in our home alone) are using chicken gizzards as one of the ingredients of our pansit and chopsuey. It doesn't taste bad anyway :)

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  37. Fry up the gizzards, baby!!! You can find them on almost any menu here in TX! Dad loves them, the rest of us, not so much....a bit chewy.

    And as for head cheese, we call it Panhas in German and the way we make it is getting all the meat off the bones, don't usually use the head, after we make our German sausage and then mix with whole wheat flour and cornmeal....tastes like breakfast sausage and great with syrup!!

    mmm, after that blog it is actually the mention of milk that makes me want to spew a rank one, not the innards and head cheese...does that make me weird?

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  38. Ew. Johnny...ew!

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  39. Anonymous3:52 PM

    ok, so I have never had hearts or gizzards fried, this is how my family prepares them. It's a variation of a cuban dish called Ropas Vieajas...

    boil the hearts and gizzards (or use a pressure cooker if short on time) till they are nice and tender. Drain water, add stewed diced tomatoes, some tomatoe sauce or paste, chopped onion, green olives, garlic, cumin, green or red bell peppers and simmer till flavors start to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over steamed white rice. Delish....

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  40. Anonymous4:18 PM

    I should add that tender is a relative term, since the gizzard is a muscle that actually serves to "chew" the food a bird swallows. Lacking teeth to chew, a bird will eat gravel which sits in the gizzard and aids in grinding up grains or whatever else the bird eats. When purchased at the store, the gizzards have been cleaned and the thick inside membrane that is inside the gizzard has been removed.

    Now you know ~The Stiletto Mafia

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  41. My mom used to make chicken gizzards regularly when I was a teenager. I HATED them and no matter how much I begged her not to, she continued to make them and I had no choice but to eat them. Now that I'm an adult and no longer live with her, I will NEVER eat another one again!

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  42. Maggie's got the liver thing about right -- take your piece of chicken liver and a water chestnut, wrap in bacon, secure with toothpick, bake, and deeelish. Seriously.

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  43. its what we in post-Bush America eat, because they are pretty much cheap.

    Thanks Georgie!

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  44. IT guy - I never thought about fishing.

    Anon, brazilians are effed up, after all.

    deb, awesome hat. pig farming. Thats one I didn't think about.

    The rest of you guys are just sick. Although I will definitely be trying the a few of these recipes. But then again, I'm drunk so e ven gizzard seems like it might be good eatin. I'd eat a gizzard right now.

    Although pretty much anything is good if you fry it up.

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  45. Anonymous1:01 AM

    Today at work the cafeteria offered a Fried Chicken Liver and Apple wood smoked bacon salad. I shit you not. I decided to go out for lunch.

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  46. this truck makes me nervous about buying milk now, it does not look like they store it right, no freezer, no nothing...

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  47. Back when I was a kid in Brooklyn, the local Italian deli used to use expired milk for making ricotta cheese. The smell by the plant was ...PHEEEWW!

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  48. Terri5:23 PM

    My Mom makes gizzard soup fairly often for my Dad. Cover with water, bring to a boil, simmer for a couple of hours. Onion, celery, sage. Serve over noodles. It's really good.

    We also do the soup (minus the noodles) for stuffing every holiday, but it isn't the right time for that.

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  49. This is hilarious! You are a hoot.

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  50. Julie9:29 AM

    I can't stop giggling over the subject of this blog, "Giz. It's what's for dinner."

    I live in Florida and fried gizzards (and livers) are fairly popular, especially in the boonies where I live.

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  51. Anonymous2:57 PM

    How'd that crappy roof of yours hold up in the snow?

    Are you doing any ice skating in the garage?

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  52. Fried gizzards and hearts are delicious! Chewey morsels of crispy fat and cholesterol! Yum!

    Soak the gizzards and hearts in milk for about thirty minutes. Dredge in egg and flour. Fry. Put them on a paper-towel lined plate to soak up the oil when they're done. Pour off most of the cooking oil, leaving about two tablespoons. Add about two tablespoons of flour and cook until light brown (roux). Slowly pour in about a cup and a half of milk and cook until the gravy's thick.

    Eat with mashed potatoes and/or biscuits. Particularly nice paired with bacon-braised collard greens.

    Yes, I am from the south. What? We eat good!

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  53. Anon, we sued the guy in small claims for the roof and he settled..so right now I have those heater coils on it to keep the water on the outside and we'll have it done again in the spring. As for the garage, I had someone come in and grade the driveway and create a swale or whatever you call it -- all the water takes a hard left before it gets to the garage now. It's great. Had to take a dump truck full of driveway out, but it worked.

    Amy, dear god. I can feel my arteries narrowing just reading that...

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  54. Anonymous7:35 PM

    milk to old to sell , pig farmers but it
    mix with grain for pig feed.
    Not ask how I know , I will deny it .

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  55. Anonymous11:24 AM

    I know this old guy who used to drive straight thru from Portland to furnace creek California and eat fried gizzards all the way. Maybe all that chewing kept him awake. The only chicken innard I partake of is the liver. I understand it is an acquired taste but I ate them as a kid, pan-fried with gravy and rice. Now I generally make pate with sherry and shallots. Now only my dog and I will eat the livers browned in butter. Everyone else in the family pulls a grimace. But they quickly find the kitchen when that same stuff is formulated into pate served with toasted baguette slices.

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  56. Jasmine12:33 AM

    This is exactly what we bought once a week while living in Mexico...for our DOG. We would boil them for a little while and then make him some rice. Call us insane. But I personally would never eat this.

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  57. Anonymous9:10 AM

    If you eat the heart of a chicken, you will gain the courage of...oh never mind.

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  58. Way too many comments so I'll cut to the point:
    :)), where I come from, we cook (seldom fry) & eat them. Just like others eat snails or seafood. It's meat (of course you should wash the gizzards properly :p), fine one too. I would explain, but it's too complicated. Cultural differences : )

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