I'm trying, I really am.
Trying to incorporate more organ meats, that is.
If you're anything like me, you've done a great job of neglecting the entire Organ Meats chapter of Nourishing Traditions, opting for much more comfortable meats like beef and chicken.
After all, who likes liver?
Well, truth be told, I've only had it one time… so maybe I do?
A few weeks ago, we received a quarter of a steer from a nearby ranch that we purchase our beef from. This includes liver. And heart. And tongue. And oxtail. And all those “what-the-heck-am-I-going-to-do-with-that” parts.
I often find it funny when organ meats are brought up in conversation. 99% percent of the people squish their faces and make the BLEK! sound, as if they'd rather lick a public toilet than attempt to eat liver. It seems pretty isolated to our American culture though, doesn't it? Eating organ meats is still an every day occurrence in most other countries, where they utilize the entire animal with no waste.
A few weeks ago, I was eating a delicious chorizo meatloaf at my office. A co-worked asked what it was, and I explained. She nearly gagged at the idea of eating salivary glands (the main ingredient in chorizo), all the while, eating a fast-food hamburger (which we've all learned, includes a good amount of this):
Do you see the irony?
Hot dogs, hamburgers, sausages, salami, pepperoni, etc. all incorporate the odd bits of the animal (organs and tongue included). So maybe you like these meats more than you thought? At the least, don't turn your nose up to cultures and people that eat them. Not letting things go to waste is a lesson many of us could stand to learn.
And while I'm not here to debate on whether all Americans should jump on the organ meat bandwagon, in an effort to live consistently with our ‘waste-not-want-not' mentality, I couldn't dare bring myself to throw away these parts of our steer. Especially while all the while dreaming of our future farm, where I hope nothing (especially the gift of meat!) will ever go to waste. Just like yesterday, when I posted on using the chicken feet to make the most beautiful chicken broth – this is such a wonderful example of the lost art of utilizing these parts for nourishment.
All that to say, my kitchen has seen tongue:
The tongue was slowly cooked until tender, spiced with coriander and cumin, and used to make delicious tongue tacos. I swear to you, if your guests didn't know it was tongue, they
would never, well, know. The taste and texture is exactly like a roast.
The beef heart was ground.
Which would have been much easier had I defrosted it all the way first. Sorry, guys.
It was then cooked up and frozen into smaller batches. Mix with ground beef at a 1:2 ratio and you'll never even know it's in there. Truthfully. It tastes just like ground beef, but very lean. How easy it will be to throw this into scalloped potatoes, beef stew, or hamburger patties!
And this beast?
Well, he was slowly simmered in a broth for 24 hours. Then the meat was removed from the bone and I made a killer oxtail barley soup. The result was one of the richest broths I've ever tasted. So delicious.
And next week I'll be sharing a recipe for this deliciousness:
Liver dumpling soup. I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised.
Organ meats. Your thoughts?