I am constantly amazed at how animated and talkative people get when you mention food. The mere aroma of certain foods can evoke memories that transport us back to a special place and time. Food can bridge the gap between all ages, races and ethnicities.
Let's face it, the only thing that should ever come between people is a table and some serving bowls.

Monday, June 22, 2009

An Economic Stew

Our grandparents and parents all lived through tough economic times and yet I cannot remember any of them or any of us ever going hungry. Even during some of the poorest times in this countries history most families ate very delicious and substantial meals. They did this by using cheaper cuts of meats or what use to be considered the throw away bits such as innards, knuckles, joints, marrow bones. These cuts always seemed to shine their best when prepared in the form of a soup or stew because the longer the cooking time the more tender and flavorful these cuts of meat became and the amount of servings could be easily expanded just by adding water or stock, different types of vegetables and starches (potatoes, rice, pasta). My mother and grandmother both made this stew even during more prosperous times just for the mere fact that we all enjoyed eating it. I'll admit gizzards are not exactly the most attractive looking meat around but then again how many cuts of meat actually look attractive? Any food, even the nasty bits are beautiful especially when they are prepared by loving hands, shared with a generous heart and sustain us all nutritionally to live another day, love another day and by all means eat another day!

Chicken Gizzard Stew

1-1/2 pounds of chicken gizzards (also known as the giblets)
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 large can of diced tomatoes liquid and all
1 small can of tomato paste
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of dried basil
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
A little oil for sautéing

Cut up gizzards, some will be small enough to leave as is you are just looking for bite size pieces. Add gizzards, onions and garlic to a large pot set on medium that has just enough oil so mixture won't stick. Sauté for about 10 minutes then add your tomato paste, stir tomato paste into gizzard mixture and using the tomato paste can add three cans of water to the mix and stir. Now add your remaining ingredients, stir, cover and set temperature to low and let simmer for about an hour and a half to two hours. You want your gizzards to get tender since they can be extremely tough to chew.
This can be served up in a bowl with some nice crusty bread and a salad or is great served over rice or pasta.



Yang said...

Gizzards are prob the most flavorful meat on the chicken, right up there with the heart, the oysters, and those fatty pads on the feet/palms and between leg/thigh joints. You can never discount liver for flavor, although liver loses that critical silky texture when easily overcooked. Offal is so under-appreciated!

Julie said...

I couldn't agree more, Yang....I love all of the "Offal" parts!

Yang said...

LAWL! I've never actually had to say that word aloud so the pun's never occurred to me. XD

Julie said...

I know Yang, I did a post a long time ago about my love for "Tripe" trying to convince people how "Offally" good it was lol.

~~louise~~ said...

Indeed Julie, we never went hungry chowing on these kinds of meals with a warm loaf of bread in tow. Although, I was not always happy with the selections when I was younger, I do appreciate their heartiness now. Good thing I grew up in a time when I had to taste all that was served, I would never have known how delicious & nutritious they could be. (or be excused from the table:)

Thanks for sharing...I can't wait to "see" what you're bringing to the picnic!!! Send it along whenever you're ready

Julie said...

You are very welcome, Louise and once again a very happy birthday to you.

~~louise~~ said...

Thank you so much Julie, I'm having a wonderful day getting ready for the picnic. I even turned down a complimentary night free (birthday present from the hotel) at my favorite casino:)

Julie said...

ooh a complimentary night at the casino....I would have been hard pressed to turn that down lol. I love going to the casino!

~~louise~~ said...

It was a difficult choice however, there's always tomorrow or the next day or the next. I have a new one for each day till Friday. (No weekend pass:)

My favorite time is after midnight when everyone goes to sleep. Yea Me!!!

Rochelle R. said...

My Mom grew up on a farm during the depression and she always liked gizzards. Occasionally she would fix them for us but we never really appreciated them. I bet your recipe is good because of the small pieces. My Mom would just fry them,

Yang said...

A gizzard is an organ made up of almost all muscle, so it would take a lot of moist cooking (simmering, braising, stewing) to denature all that collagen and muscle fiber protein. I'll bet your youthful jaws got quite the workout from those fried gizzards.

Julie said...

We never found them that hard to chew, Yang. A little chewy but not too tough to enjoy.

Julie said...

We always cut them up for the stew to cut back on the cooking time Rochelle. If you leave them whole you would probably have to cook them an extra hour to get them tender.But we never minded them being a little chewy.

Anonymous said...

My dad used to call this Poor Man's Stew. In his variation, skip the basil and oregano. Boil the gizzards for an hour and a half. Drain, then saute the gizzards with onion, garlic and 1/2 c. dark red wine. Let cook for about 10 minutes, add 1 4oz. can tomato sauce and 1 can water. Add about 1/2 tsp black pepper and salt to taste. Let cook for at least another 1/2 hour. Long time to make, but oh so worth it. Serve with a nice chunk of Italian Bread.