Day 24 – Disgusting, I mean organ meats

3 Aug

I think I was so disgusted I forgot to take any pictures of our finished dishes today. So, above is the only picture I have: Chef Peter and Heather are taking the outside connective tissue off a calf’s liver.

We started off by cleaning kidneys and lamb tongue.  The kidneys had a bit of a foul smell to them so I had to step away for a few minutes.  Obviously, offal isn’t my thing; to me, it’s truly awful – ha!   I just wonder if eating parts of the body’s filtration system is really that good for you?  Yeah, yeah, liver is high in iron, etc. But, c’mon, so is spinach.

I did taste all of our sauces. Ian and I made a mean mustard-brandy sauce for the kidneys, so that helped tremendously. But, the taste of those kidneys lingered on my tongue way too long.  In general, the sauces were all pretty good, so it made it bearable.   I know people love sweetbreads, and admittedly, they did have a certain custardy inside to them. However, given the choices of “delicacies” in this world, puh-lease. I’m going for something way tastier than that. In fact, I’m looking forward to some sashimi Thursday night with Carnet before he heads to India.

Given the fact that I am biased against organ meats, I am going to post a recipe from Day 19 that I promised to post: Lamb stew. Yield: 4 servings.

Ingredients for the Lamb: 1) Shoulder or leg of lamb, 2) vegetable oil (1 T), 3) about 4 oz. of carrots, cut into even size chunks, 4) 4 oz. of onion, cut into same even size chunks as carrots, 5) 2 minced garlic cloves, 6) about an ounce of tomato paste (this is key – you can’t really do the lamb stew without tomato paste).

Ingredients for the Vegetables: 1) about 4 oz each of carrots, pearl onions and turnips.  You want to cook these all until they are about al dente in a small pan with some salted water no more than half-way up the sides of the vegies, about 1 tsp. of butter and about a tsp. of sugar.  When the water evaporates, you should see a light sugar/butter mixture bubbling that will leave a glaze on the vegetables, 2) about 2 oz each of string beans and shelled or frozen peas. You’ll want to blanch these in salted, hot water right before the end of the finished product so you can add them to the stew at that time. If you do them ahead of time, be sure to shock them in cold water to stop the cooking and then reheat before you add them to the stew, 3) about 8-9 oz. of new potatoes, cooked in salted water and timed to be put in the stew at the end, 4) salt and pepper to taste.

Assembly and cooking: 1) Trim lamb and cut into cubes, then season cubes with salt and pepper, 2) Heat oil in a large pan and brown cubes. Remove and reserve, 3) Add fresh oil to the pan and saute the onions, then the carrots, and then the garlic, in that order.  You usually want to add in onions first to extract the great flavors out of them and then build upon each prior flavor with the addition of a new ingredient. You want to add in the garlic last, as it tends to burn. 4) Add the meat, then the tomato paste and stir around to make sure the tomato paste completely coats the meat and the vegies, 5) Season with salt and pepper), 6) If you have some red wine open, I would throw some in there and scrape up any brown bits in the pan (deglaze) before covering everything with water or stock. 7) Bring to a boil, cover, and place in 350 degree F oven for approximately 1 or so hours, until cubes are fork tender. Stir every 15 minutes or so and do not let boil in oven. 8) While the meat is in the oven, prepare all the vegies, 9) When meat is tender, strain out the meat and vegies from the sauce, and reserve the cooking liquid. 10) Degrease the liquid (you can simply use a spoon to take off the top layer of grease and discard it in a small bowl you have handy) and then reduce over medium heat to concentrate the flavor.  Add a roux – equal parts butter and flour – if needed to thicken. If you do add the roux, you’ll need to bring the sauce to a boil so it doesn’t taste like flour.  Check the seasoning of the sauce at this point. If it’s too salty/concentrated, add some water.  If it needs more salt and pepper, throw it in there.  If you didn’t use the roux, but want a nice shine on your sauce, swirl a teaspoon of butter in it right before the next step, 11) Place meat back into the sauce, along with the carrots, pearl onions, turnips and potatoes (not the vegetables that you cooked in with the meat).  Place string beans and peas on top and serve!  The picture of the stew is below:


2 Responses to “Day 24 – Disgusting, I mean organ meats”

  1. Nick Phongmekin August 3, 2011 at 1:01 am #

    I just want to say that your blogs are very insightful. I’m starting my culinary arts program at the NY campus, and your blogs have mentally prepared me well.

  2. Bee Leng Chua August 3, 2011 at 2:20 am #

    Thanks for the lamb stew recipe, Rachel!
    Organ meats – are they also not called “sweetmeats”? Certain countries – use every part of the animal for food, no waste. Steak and kidney pie. Liver and onions. Some beliefs are strange – like if you want to strengthen your liver – eat liver! Kidneys? Eat kidney. Brain? Eat brain. Oops. Hope that doesn’t gag you. Coming from a half-baked vegetarian, I sympathise with you. Certainly no organ meats for me too. It does bring on the “yuk” factor.
    Thanks for sharing, be it a short one.

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