The Offal Truth
Organ meats - so foreign to most of us Americans that we call it “offal” (pronounced awful) but when given the right preparation can rival any meat we are accustomed to. Full of iron, vitamins and nutrients; these meats are what our ancestors ate because it was affordable and sustainable. Eating nose to tail honors the animal, stretches the dollar and nourishes bodies. Choosing pastured offal not only supports your local farmer but it promotes humane treatment of these animals and favors responsible stewardship of the environment. It’s high time we see the value of eating these cuts and go back to the roots of our great grandparents.
Livers (Beef & Chicken):
This is a great first step into eating offal. Give it a soak in some milk or lemon for a few hours to decrease the metallic taste. Nutrient-rich, this is by far one of the best meats you can feed your bodies with.
- Quality protein
- Concentrated sources of vitamin A
- Copper, folic acid and iron
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)- important for heart function
- Chock full of B vitamins, specifically B12 which can aid with those with dementia and Alzheimers
Chicken Liver Mousse recipe by The Healthy Foodie
Hearts (Beef and Chicken):
Similar to a chicken thigh or lean steak, this is perfect for anyone wary of trying offal but know the value of the nutrients. Eat this and you truly won’t tell the difference.
- Rich in thiamine, folate, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, CoQ10 and several B vitamins
- Heavy in Amino acids that can improve metabolism
- Aids the body in production of collagen and elastin for youthful and bright skin
Beef Heart recipe by Macheesmo
Soak this meat with some water and salt or vinegar to give it a more mild taste and sauté with some grass-fed butter and toasted baguette for an elegant presentation.
- Lean protein
- Copious amounts of B12, riboflavin and iron
- Abundant in B6, folate and niacin.
Deviled Pork Kidney recipe by River Cottage
A strong muscle used for grinding up grains and anything else the chickens find on pasture, these meats can be a bit on the tougher side. Add them to your bolognese or other stew and braise them low and slow to turn these underdog meats into something to rave about. These guys are pumped with nutrition, but take heed - they are high in cholesterol so you don’t want to overdo it.
- Very low in saturated Fat
- Good source of protein, vitamin B12, iron, phosphorus and zinc,
- Fantastic source of selenium.
Giblet Bolognese recipe by Honest Food
Interested in more offal recipes but don’t know where to start? These books are great resources for eating nose to tail:
A Long Way on Little by Shannon Hayes
Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal by Jennifer McLagan