Friday, April 01, 2005

New adventures in thriftiness

You'd never know I was a vegetarian for half my life.

Here's how the chain of events goes: I am thawing the $10 goose for the weekend. I plan to roast the breast, and then I will bake a delicious terrine with the neck and giblets. But I remember that due to the relative youth and smallness of American geese, I came up a little short on pieces-parts last time I made that terrine. So I think, all right, what can I do to pad this thing out a little, other than adding extra sausage and breadcrumbs?

I go to the grocery store. I wander past the meat counter and spot what may be my favorite food label ever:

mostly gizzards

(Which maybe works as a metaphor for life, if you ask some people. But I digress.)

Aha! I purchase a package.

At home, I separate out all the hearts (there are actually at least ten or fifteen of them, despite the small print) and put them in a baggie in the fridge to use later in the terrine. They'll be a welcome addition to the goose parts. Then I put the gizzards in a pot with onions, garlic, carrots, celery leaves, parsley, peppercorns, tarragon, etc., cover it all with water, and simmer. An hour or two later, I strain it and I have a lovely chicken stock, which I freeze for a future soup.

I have just tossed a boiled gizzard to each of the awaiting dogs when, out of curiosity, I google "chicken gizzard recipe" and find out that people really do eat these things. Huh. I thought they were dog treats. I shrug, then clean the mushy stock vegetables off the gizzards, chop them roughly, and stick them in the fridge.

Today at lunch I saute the gizzards in butter with some onion, mushrooms, black pepper, and a dash of sherry. I serve them for lunch alongside scrambled eggs. And you know what? The texture is oddly clamlike and chewy, but they're quite good.

When life hands you "mostly gizzards"...