Offal is the word used to describe the organs of a butchered animal, which are usually less expensive, and include liver, tail, sweetbreads, feet, heart and kidneys. Although it doesn’t always seem the most appealing, eating offal, or using the ‘nose-to-tail’ ideology, is becoming an increasingly popular way of eating. These cuts are foreign to lots of people, but is actually what our ancestors would have been eating as it was the most sustainable and affordable to make use of the whole animal, eliminating food waste.
All of these organs are full of nutritional benefits and add a depth of flavour to dishes that simply can’t be replicated elsewhere.
The most nutritional piece of offal is undoubtedly liver, due to its’ high protein, amino acids and vitamin profile. The best way to cook livers is to make sure you soak them for a few hours before cooking, in a liquid such as milk, which will eliminate some of the metallic taste. Livers are a traditionally fried with bacon in an onion and wine gravy. Livers taste very similar to a thigh or lean steak.
Kidneys should also be soaked before cooking. Kidneys are another great source of protein and vitamins, especially B12 and iron. Kidneys are also best fried in butter, and flavoured with tomato and sharp Worcestershire sauce, scattered with herbs (known as Devilled kidneys – delicious on toasted white bread!). Frying kidneys is simple and delicious, and can be enjoyed for breakfast or for dinner!
Heart is also rich in nutrients, and is very flavoursome. A popular way to enjoy chicken hearts is to marinate them, skewer and pop on a BBQ. We can supply you with larger hearts, such as the lamb, or smaller duck hearts, which are often cooked with grapes in French cuisine. The larger size of lamb hearts mean that they can be stuffed with different fillings.
Tongue is not something that everyone has tried to eat before, but it is surprisingly easy to cook and is some of the most succulent offal available. Similarly to livers, they can be sautéed with butter and garlic and served with bread or creamy potatoes. Calves tongues are widely used in Mexican street food, to make a hearty taco filling.
Chicken skin is also a widely loved offal as it can be crisped up to make a tasty garnish of crispy chicken skin. It can also be rendered down to collect the fat and make schmaltz, a Jewish delicacy, in which they add onion for flavour . Schmaltz is then used to cook livers and other traditional dishes. Another chicken offal product we sell is chicken feet, which is found in Chinese cuisine, and can also be used to make a flavourful homemade chicken stock.
There is a wide range of offal products available at Fine Food Specialist, so be sure to browse through our selection and try a new offal product. Also make sure to check out Drogo’s Kitchen to get inspiration on how to best use for offal with our recipes.