It’s easy to add rich flavor to homemade stocks and broths simply by incorporating organ meats. Though eating nose to tail has become more popular, most people don’t know how to utilize organ meats in their home cooking. Stocks are versatile and can find their way into almost any savory dish.
As much as I’d like to enjoy liver, I can’t get past the texture. The rich earthy flavor of a liver is hard to match, and texture’s not a problem in stock.
Try adding organ meat-based stocks to any dish that could benefit from added complexity, depth, richness and umami. Simple dishes, like a homemade butternut squash soup, go from ordinary to extraordinary with a little organ meat love.
While bone broths are getting all the attention these days, they’re thin in comparison to a traditional stock made with organ meats. There’s a reason the giblet bag still comes with your holiday turkey. Gravy’s not quite the same without the giblets, and the stock is thin and sometimes lackluster without organ meats.
Which Organ Meats Should You Add To Stock?
Liver – If you had to choose just one, the liver is a great place to start. Loaded with nutrients and a powerhouse of flavor. Adding liver to a simmering pot of stock is a great way to add body.
Heart – Heart meat is similar to the darkest of dark meat. It is a muscle and adds depth of flavor similar to adding meat into a broth. If you’ve done a great job picking the bones completely clean, adding back in the heart can help round out a stock and give it a more meaty flavor.
Gizzard – A gizzard is not something you’ll casually come across. Unless you’re processing your own birds, odds are you’ve never seen one. It’s a muscular sack, often filled with small stones that a bird uses in place of teeth to chop up its food.
It can be a bit tricky to clean a gizzard, but it’s worth the bother if you have the chance. They’re particularly good breaded and fried, but they also make a great addition to stock.
Testicles – If you’ve ever processed a rooster or duck drake, you may have come across some rather large white bean-shaped organs. Those are the testicles.
They’re often breaded and fried, and served as “inland shrimp cocktail” because they have a vaguely shrimp-like taste and texture. Testicles from other animals like deer or pigs would also make good additions to a stock.
Kidneys – Often hard to find unless you’re processing your own meat, kidneys are great for stock. In poultry, they’re hidden up tight in pockets inside the cavity against the back and might be missed if you’re cleaning a bird quickly. Pig and lamb kidneys are now sometimes available in grocery stores.
How to Make Stock with Organ Meats
The nice thing about organ meat stock is that it’s no different to make or can than any other stock. If you want your stock to run completely clear at the end, start by roasting the organ meats until just cooked through.
Add the organ meats into the stockpot with your other stock ingredients, including roasted bones, cooked meat scraps and aromatic vegetables such as onions, garlic, carrots, and leeks.
Cover with water, and simmer for at least 4 hours, but preferably 24 hours to maximize flavor extraction.
Filter your stock through a colander and then a fine mesh strainer.
Organ meat stock can be used immediately, frozen, or canned. I prefer to can it because the flavors hold up better in my experience.
To can organ meat stock, follow the same protocol as canning bone broth. Pressure can at 10 pounds of pressure for 25 minutes for quarts.