Serious Eats: Recipes

The Nasty Bits: Turkey Gizzards

[Photographs: Chichi Wang]

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Compared to chicken, turkey gizzards are gargantuan. One turkey gizzard fits snugly in the palm of my hand. Around Thanksgiving, most stray gizzards are marshaled into the gravy. Being an offal lover, I'd rather eat the components of giblet gravy than the gravy itself.

Without further ado, I present three options for the preparation of turkey gizzards.

Confit

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So what if I like sticking everything into a pot of fat? There's a reason why my cellar is crammed with jars of varying sizes, packed with all manner of poultry and pork parts. Some of the silkiest flesh on the planet comes from a confit preparation, in which the meat is stewed and preserved in fat. I've already written about confiting duck gizzards, and the preparation for turkey gizzards is exactly the same. If you really want to highlight the dense and tender attributes of a well-cooked gizzard, confit is the way to go.

In further defense of confit, I'll reemphasize that once you collect a critical mass of fat, you can freeze the fat in tubs that can be defrosted and used at a moment's notice. Without going through the trouble of rendering fat each time, stewing meat in lard or duck fat becomes no different than simmering it in stock and wine. If you can make soup, you can confit.

Stock, Rillettes, and Beyond

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Rillettes, that classic French preparation in which long-simmered meat is shredded and pounded into a spreadable paste, takes surprisingly well to turkey gizzards. Generally, pork, rabbit, or duck is used for this type of potted meat, but turkey gizzards work just as well.

The master recipe for rillettes is always the same: stew the meat in fat or water; pound the meat with stock and fat, and transfer the mixture to a ramekin or jar, sealing with a thin layer of fat. Rillettes are ideal to serve as an appetizer; paired with a baguette and a simple green salad, these pots also make for a rich yet simple meal.

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Chinese Red Braise

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Nothing smells more like home to me than a red-braised dish. The Shanghainese will simmer just about anything in a combination of water, soy sauce, star anise, cinnamon, and rock sugar. My mother's red-braised pork is a staple around her house; in mine, it's red-braised gizzards. Sliced thinly on a bias, a platter of red braised gizzards is a wonderful cold dish to serve as a starter in a Chinese meal. In the past I've always cooked this dish with chicken gizzards, but in recent months I've transitioned to turkey. Their larger size makes cutting paper-thin slices so much easier. I like to have a tub of them on hand for late-night snacking.


About the author: Chichi Wang took her degree in philosophy, but decided that writing about food would be much more fun than writing about Plato. If she were ever to get a tattoo, it would say "Fat is flavor."

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