Gizzards are a part of the chicken’s digestive tract used to grind up food. In truth a chicken has a rather inefficient digestive tract. The smooth muscle grinding of the gizzard is what allows the intestinal tract to extract the maximum amount of nutrients. As a result the gizzard can have a fair amount of silver skin and other connective tissues that will require trimming.
Trimming is a little bit easier if you put the gizzards in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. The goal is just to firm them up to make them easier to handle and cut, you don’t want to actually freeze them.
Nutritionally chicken gizzards are a good source of lean protein and Vitamin B-12. They are also a good source of iron and zinc. You can usually find them in packs at the grocery store. If you want to maximize the quality of your gizzards you can sometimes find them via special order with a CSA or full service butcher. Otherwise if you want to get a large amount of gizzards from a free range source then you will probably have to raise a small flock of birds yourself.
Chicken gizzards are used in many different ethnic cultures around the world. In the American South East they are often lightly breaded and deep fried in peanut oil. However, many world cultures prefer to sauté them a pan.
This recipe taps into some Asian flavors by mixing a little bit of Thai flavors with Korean ones. It is a great appetizer course split four ways.
2 pounds of chicken gizzards
1 shallot, diced
1 small red onion
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of fresh ground ginger
2 jalapeno peppers, halved, seeded and sliced thin
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
2 tablespoons of Paleo soy sauce
1 teaspoon of sesame seeds, toasted
Here is how to make Sauteed Chicken Gizzards
Step 1: Place the gizzards in a medium work bowl and put them in the freezer. After 7 minutes toss the bowl to make sure the gizzards on top aren’t freezing. Continue to chill them for another 5 to 7 minutes. Remember your goal is to firm them up a little, not freeze them.
Step 2: Bring a half gallon of water to a soft boil in a large sauce pot.
Step 3: Trim the silver skin from the gizzards. Cut any large gizzards in half. Ideally you want all the gizzard pieces to be around 1 inch chunks.
Step 4: Blanch the gizzards for 5 minutes, then remove them from the water and pat them dry with paper towels.
Step 5: Melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large sauce pan over low heat. When the oil shimmers add the garlic and ground ginger. Toss the pan occasionally for 2 to 3 minutes or until it starts to become fragrant.
Step 6: Add the onions to the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Toss the pan occasionally for 5 minutes or until the onions start to become translucent.
Step 7: Put the sesame seeds in a small dry frying pan over medium-low heat and toss occasionally. You goal is to toast the sesame seeds to bring out their flavor and express their natural oils with only a minimum amount of burning.
Step 8: Add the gizzards to the pan along with the sesame oil, shallots and sliced jalapenos. Toss occasionally for 5 to 7 minutes or until the gizzards are seared in several places. Then add the Paleo soy sauce and toss to combine.
Step 9: Plate immediately and garnish with the toasted sesame seeds.
I like to serve these over a bed of sautéed kale or grilled scallions. For a beverage home brewed, unsweetened ice tea is nice but I like authentic Korean soju when I can find it.