[Smashy the Hammer] [An Aspiring Luddite]
I carry no phone
An aspiring Luddite
In a wired world.
[Jeff Berry]
Jeff Berry is an early adopter of the Internet and the Web, a late adopter of Twitter, and declines to adopt Facebook. With the death of Google+, he's experimenting with federated platforms. He admins a medievalist Mastodon instance, and can found on the PlusPora diaspora pod. He hates cell-phones.

Giblet Pasta
1 September 2011

If one cooks whole chickens, and I do, one accumulates giblets. There are many things one can do with them, naturally. I usually save them for stock, but I remember fondly an occasion when I was teaching a class on medieval cookery as an adjunct to a celebration of medieval music, with the results of my classes feeding the attendees. On that day, we had many chickens since part of the instruction was on how to break down a bird. So we filled a bowl with the giblets. One of the celebrants, a friend of mine, stuck his head in the kitchen and said, "You're not going to throw those out are you?" I replied that I certainly was not! Would he like them? He practically slavered. So we heated some oil, salted the lives, gizzards and whatever else we had pulled out of the bird, fried them up and sent them out with the cry of, "A bowl of fried chicken guts!" They evaporated. Who would have guessed they'd be so popular?

However, I'm always looking for something else to do with the bits and bobs, and a fortified pasta sauce seemed like a good idea. I had two chicken's-worth of giblets and a few slightly elderly tomatoes from the previous week's farm share, et voila!

The idea was to enrich the sauce, not have pieces of stuff floating around in it, so with that in mind ...


Chicken Giblet Pasta Sauce

Trim the gizzards of any remaining hard bits, if any. Put the chicken fat and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until the fat starts to render. Turn up the heat to medium high. Light salt the neck, liver and gizzards. Add to the hot oil and sear. Remove the liver and gizzard. Add the peppers and turn the heat back down to medium.

Run the tomatoes through the food processor and add them to pan. Stir. Run the livers and gizzards through the food processor and then add them to the pan. Stir. Bring to a simmer, cover and leave for an hour or so.

[Vegetables] After an hour, sprinkle the basil on top and stir again. Let simmer, uncovered for another half an hour or more. At this point you have an option. If the people who will be eating like gnawing on neck bones, just leave them in the sauce and place them on the side of the plate when you serve, being gentle with them since they will be almost falling apart. If, on the other hand, your diners don't like gnawing on necks, remove them now. Let them cool for a few minutes, then pick off the easily accessible meat and add it back to the sauce. Then enjoy the rest of the neck yourself as a cook's perq.

Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning as you like. The offal should have nearly melted into the sauce, giving it a nice rich taste and a slightly fatty mouth feel. My sauce was still fairly loose at this point, due to all the tomatoes.

Make your pasta, but only cook it half way. Drain quickly and return to the pot. Add sauce to the pot to the level that you prefer and finish cooking the pasta in the sauce. This serves to tighten the sauce up a bit with the remaining starch from the pasta. Top with grated cheese, if such is your custom.

Nota Bene: where the vegetables were concerned, I was working exclusively with what I had from the farm share. Which means that this week I had neither onions nor garlic. If I had them, I would have put them in. It was plenty good without them, though.

© 2011 Jeff Berry
The Aspiring Luddite