You might have heard the benefits of eating nose-to-tail from a waste perspective, but turns out there’s more to it. For example, since offal can be much more nutrient dense compared to the rest of the animal, eating the occasional swipe of pâté means you don’t need to eat as much meat to get your iron levels up. Since offal tends to concentrate chemicals in an animal’s body, it’s best to pick organic meats – and fortunately offal is cheaper in Australia (score one for the conscious omnivore).
If it still gives you the creeps, that’s okay. We’re here to ease you into it, courtesy of a recent offal workshop at sustainable butchers, Feather & Bone (led by our very own conscientious cook Angie)!
Given how delicious offal can be, we’re pretty sure vitamins weren’t the initial reason offal used to be the most prized part of the animal (that hunters got to bagsie!). However, if you’ve had an offaly bad experience in the past, add finely chopped offal to your regular mince-based meals. At the workshop for example, Angie made a delicious “humble pie,” which included regular beef mince alongside heart and kidney. And as the saying goes, “everything tastes better with bacon.”
Try these easy cuts first
Despite heart being a well-worked muscle, heart doesn’t have to be slow cooked. Once you’ve cut off any arterial bits, all you do is marinate and chop into bite sized pieces, and let it brown in your frypan. Just remember to give each piece some space in the pan and keep things red-pink in the middle so it doesn’t toughen up. Let the meat rest and relax for a minute to tenderise. If you’re still coming around to gamey flavours then douse your heart with plenty of lemony or limey love and fresh herbs (see above).
If you’ve ever had liver, you probably either love or hate it. If you’re in the latter camp, pâté can be good way to go, because you can add plenty of other delicious things in it to balance out its intense flavour. At the workshop, Angie’s recipe included bacon, mushroom, whiskey and port to add sweetness and smokiness – and it was unlike anything you’ve ever picked up from the supermarket! Liver requires the least “navigating” when you’re cutting it up, so if you want to handle your offal as little as possible, pick liver to start with.
Once you’ve sliced out the filtery bits in the middle of the kidney, this is a very forgiving and tender offal option, but the flavour is strong with this one. The first time you make it you might want to add it to a stew with other meat (steak and kidney is a popular combo for a reason).
Related: Want to balance out all that meat with some plant-powered protein? Here’s our lazy guide to making the fastest ones tasty too.
Image credits: Zo Zhou for Youth Food Movement