After a nonstop journey from Dorset to Malaga in Spain, my best friend and I arrived at our destination exhausted. I was 18 years old and everything was new. Our hosts welcomed us into their home with a table of food on a tablecloth touching the floor. I sat up and stretched my feet, which landed in a trough of embers. The main course was giblet stew, and I hadn’t built a stomach for the offal yet, so I cautiously started my plate, which to my surprise was incredibly tasty. This traditional peasant stew is made by simmering giblets (and wings) with a handful of soaked rice or chickpeas and vegetable broth (onions, carrots, celery, etc.) until tender. Remove meat (discard bones and hard chunks), then coarsely chop, return to skillet, and season very generously.
If your Christmas bird (or, for that matter, any bird at any time of year) comes with giblets, don’t throw them away – they’re the home cook’s secret weapon and will transform your festive gravity and filling. Other ways to cook giblets include Southern fried sweetbreads, Turkish Pilaf and Jerusalem Mixed Grill, which is a spectacular pre-dinner snack.
Jerusalem mixed grill
Transform waste giblets to maximum flavor with this tasty snack. I highly recommend going the extra mile and making your own pitta too – they’re surprisingly simple, and there is nothing better than fresh bread, after all.
Next week’s recipe will be for turkey pilaf, made with the leftover meat pulled from the carcass, so store it in the fridge as soon as you’ve finished your meal. If you don’t like space, remove the meat and cut the bones into smaller pieces to make stock. Both will keep in the refrigerator for up to five days; both also freeze well.
It serves 4 (using chicken wings) or 8 (using turkey wings), as a snack
1 bird giblets (gizzard, neck, liver, heart), hard pieces cut and discarded
2 turkey or chicken wings
1 onion, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1 pinch of ground turmeric
1 pinch of ground cumin
1 pinch of ground coriander
1 pinch ground nutmeg
Sea salt and black pepper
2-3 pittas, to serve
Tahini or yogurt dressing, to serve
Lemon slices, to serve
Pickled peppers, to serve
Simmer cleaned turkey (or chicken) gizzard, neck, and wings in a pot of boiling water for 20 minutes. Remove from skillet (keep liquid for sauce), remove meat from neck and wings, and remove and discard bones and hard pieces.
Clean the liver, the heart and the gizzard, and brown in a very hot dry pan until golden brown. Remove the meat and coarsely chop. Lower the heat to medium and sauté the onion in a drizzle of olive oil until golden brown, then add the garlic and sauté briefly. Return all cooked meats to the skillet, then season with a pinch of ground turmeric, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Adjust spices to taste and serve hot in warm pitta with tahini (or yogurt) dressing, lemon and pickles.
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