MY KITCHEN student, Maddie, asks:
What is the little package of parts that are sometimes inside a whole chicken or turkey…and what am I supposed to do with them?
Great question, Maddie!
Those little goodies (sometimes in a little paper or plastic bag, sometimes not) and the “Giblets.”
What are they?
Giblets is a culinary term for the edible offal of a fowl, typically including the heart, gizzard, liver, and other visceral organs. The origin of the word comes from gibier, which is the Old French word for “game.”
What can I do with them?
A whole bird from a butcher is often packaged with the giblets, and are often used to make gravy, stuffing, soup, and other dishes, like Cajun jambalaya.
Two of my favorite dishes using the giblets, are my Vietnamese grilled chicken hearts (pictured below), and good o’l southern-style fried chicken gizzards (which, if cooked properly, should be “melt in your mouth” tender!)
Another popular giblet recipe is the traditional giblet gravy served on Thanksgiving and Christmas all around the country. This was one of my father’s specialties, and this is his recipe:
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Grandpa Frank’s Giblet Gravy
1-2 cups giblets/reserved meat from turkey, cooked
1-2 cups shredded dark meat turkey (from the bottom of the bird*)
4 cups turkey stock
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
2 heaping tablespoons reserved uncooked stuffing mixture
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup cold water
Freshly ground pepper
*If you want to make this gravy before the turkey is done cooking (like I do) buy a half-dozen extra turkey thighs, and brine them with the turkey. Rinse and place in a stock pot with the giblets and neck from the turkeys. Cover with cold water (about 6 cups) and bring to a simmer, covered. Simmer 2-3 hours, adding water as necessary to maintain 8 cups of liquid.
Using a sauce-pot, bring the stock to a boil. Add the shredded meat and giblets, poultry seasoning, and raw stuffing to the mixture.
In a separate bowl, mix the cornstarch and water, and add to the boiling stock, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add salt and pepper, to taste.
This recipe is part of our traditional Christmas menu (but it works just as good for Thanksgiving) of:
Salt-brined Roast Turkey
Garlic Mushroom Stuffing
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry BBQ Sauce
Simple Grilled Asparagus
Pumpkin Praline Pie
All of these recipes are available in our Christmas menu post.
Have a great Thanksgiving (and use those giblets!)