Giblets - Pro or Con?

In the past 2 weeks I have had the occasion to roast 7 whole chickens. Each came with a full set of giblets, sometimes in plastic, sometimes not.

Do any of you use the giblets you get in the chicken? What do you use them for?

Would you consider it a marketing plus to buy a giblet-free chicken, so you didn’t need to pry the sometimes-frozen goodies from the cavity?

I have used the giblets from a turkey to make gravy for Thanksgiving, but a mere chicken is not the kind of occasion I would make homemade gravy for.

So, giblets, pro or con? Please share your thoughts.

A wee bit of factual stuff, Harriet the Spry. Organ meats generally have much more cholesterol than even straight fat. The small quantity involved probably wouldn’t make any difference, though.

Personally, giblets rate a shudder from me. I’ll take a gimlet, though.

Yes, I use the giblets! How can you make giblet gravy without the giblets?

I haven’t had them in yonks, but I do likes me some deep fried chicken livers!

(I also like liverwurst, but the massive amount of cholesterol keeps me away from it. When the livers come with the chicken, I don’t have a big ol’ label staring me in the face!)

The neck, heart, and gizzards go into a large saucepan, along with the wingtips, backbone, fat and skin that result from me cutting up the rest of the chicken.

They are covered with cold water and brought to a boil, then reduced to a low simmer.

As I prepare the rest of the meal, the peels and trimmings from the vegetables go into the pot. Maybe I clean the old onion skins out of the onion bowl, rinse and throw those in, too, for color.

After dinner, the dishwasher takes a break from his/her scrubbing and shuts off the heat under the pot. And before bedtime, the resulting broth is strained into a Tupperware container and tossed into the fridge.

The next day, the congealed fat is lifted off the top, placed in a small container and remelted in the microwave, or just set near the hot stove (to make a uniform package). The chicken stock is poured into labelled, dated ziplock bags and placed in the freezer.

Easy. Thrifty. Why would anyone ever buy schamltz or chicken stock, when it’s there for the taking?

(Oh, yeah…the livers are frozen in their own little baggie, and when you get enough saved up, you make Cajun dirty rice.)

I fry the liver for me and the rest for our cats.

I use giblets to make my special Puerto Rican style pigeon peas and dirty rice. Zen, my wolf-mutt, gets the liver and I use the gizzard, heart, neck and other bits to make the best chicken stock. When cooked properly, giblets have a wonderful flavor and texture, much like tongue.

How do you know when to stop chewing tongue?

Do what Ike says. If you want to make gravy with the giblets, do the following (or maybe you already know this):

Remove the giblets from the broth before the chicken is done roasting. Allow to cool, then chop finely. I usually discard the gizzard because it’s tough.

Remove the chicken from the pan after roasting. Add an amount of flour equal to the fat in the pan (unless it’s a LOT, then remove some of the fat).

Brown the oil/fat mixture (you’re making a roux) until a medium brown (darker if you want darker gravy, less if you want whiter gravy). Do this over medium heat, being careful not to burn the flour.

Add the giblets and some herbs, salt and pepper. Add about a cup or two of liquid to deglaze the pan. Begin adding the giblet/vegetable broth a bit at a time, whisking to blend the flour and liquid. Continue to add liquid and whisk until you have the consistency you want.

Another use is to make a brown stock instead of a white stock as described above.

To do this, you must roast the chicked bones and the mirapois (onions, celery, carrots in a 2:1:1 mix) in the oven until nicely browned. You can also add tomato paste to this.

Once well roasted, deglaze with water and transfer to stovetop in a heavy pot. Allow this to cook on simmer for up to 12 hours, skimming the fat off periodically. Do not stir the mixture, as you don’t want the fat to emulsify into the liquid. You may have to add additional liquid during the cooking. When done cooking, strain the liquid into a separate container and discard the bones, etc. You can allow this stock to continue to cook longer to obtain a demi-glace, but it takes a lot of patience and time.

Just throw the heart, gizzard and liver into the roasting pan. Remove about 15 minutes before the chicken. Feed them to me.

How odd - this weekend I wrote a nasty nasty letter to the Smart Bird people for selling me a chicken with no giblets.

I need me my giblets, and so do the pets.

Stock (for gravy) or cat food. Sometimes I win, sometimes they do. Depends how pathetically they look at me.