What to do with giblets
Giblets – the heart, neck, gizzards and liver. While many are still hesitant to use these fiddly parts of the animal, the level of aversion has declined; thanks in part to chefs championing head-to-tail eating and a growing awareness that they taste better than we think.
They are also better for our health and the environment
If you eat meat, using giblets means making the most of your food; it means feeding more mouths on fewer animals and preventing waste. And they are stuffed full of goodness. Liver, for instance, is packed with protein, has all of the B vitamins, many trace elements like selenium and zinc, which are essential for a healthy immune system, and it contains an easily absorbed form of iron. Liver and onions used to be a weekly meal in many households, cooked using a recipe passed down through the generations.
Today we cook less with giblets partly because we don’t see them on the shelves. Meat that makes it to the supermarket has been processed in a factory, the giblets separated and used for rendering. And we are losing our knowledge about how to cook with them. So what can we do to put these nutritious delicacies back on our plates? Better Food offers some ideas to inspire you to make the most of the giblets that will come with our pre-order birds.
Celebrating British food
Giblets can cook safely inside the cavity, just don’t forget to remove the plastic wrapping. The innards are most commonly used to make a giblet gravy. The parts (besides the liver, which becomes bitter when boiled) are simmered with herbs and vegetables to make a flavorful stock. Then the stock is combined with turkey pan drippings, flour and cream to form a thick gravy.
Chopped giblets are stirred back in at the end or can be added to terrine or stuffing. Liver adds a deep, savoury taste to stuffing so consider popping that in as well. Alternatively save it till the 27th and have a nostalgic meal of liver and onions . Fry onions, then remove and cook the liver in the same pan for a few minutes each side. Make a gravy, whisking together flour, water and boullion in a pan, on medium heat, until it thickens, and then add red wine and simmer for two more minutes. Serve with buttery mash.
Giblets are for life, not just for Christmas*
Our head chef in St. Werburghs says giblets are great all year round. To cook to perfection, sear on a high heat for 30 seconds each side. Drain the juices, then add a knob of butter and some woody herbs. Turkey neck pie is a classic, and the chef’s personal favourite for this time of year. Giblets can also be frozen for a few months and thawed in the refrigerator, but they are best when cooked from fresh.
If you order your turkey from us this year, why not give giblets a go. And if you have any suggestions on what to do with them then comment below.
Sophie Laggan is Better Food’s Content Assistant and – believe it or not – vegan. She writes and researches about sustainable and just food systems and you can find out more about her work here: http://sophielaggan.wixsite.com/thereisanalternative.
*unless your vegan or vegetarian, of course