Eating Nose to Tail


 
Thanksgiving may have past, but if you're like me you may still have some extra goodies lying around. To me the  giblets are the best part of Thanksgiving, whether you make a giblet gravy, or use them in stock they are vital to a proper Thanksgiving meal - at least in my mind.
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Turkey liver.
Having recently learned how to 'pot' things I decided to pot my turkey liver in order to give it some extra fat, and hide it from my offal loving family. Potted foods are similar to confit foods, in that they are both set in fat.  Confit is generally a animal fat, whereas potted food are set in clarified butter.

I began by gently cooking my liver with onions and thyme, then adding some port and reducing.
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Turkey liver, onion, thyme, butter, and port.
Then the whole batch was chopped, then run through a robot coup, and pushed through a fine mesh strainer, seasoned, and finally set in a little dish and topped with clarified butter.
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Turkey liver, begging to be tasted.
After all that it was a simple matter of letting the clarified butter set and making some toast.
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Potted Turkey Liver
My favorite part of potted foods is that if you get the timing right, and the clarified butter has softened just a little bit, and the toast is piping hot the butter will melt as you spread your potted loveliness over the toast adding a richness that can brighten you out of even the most sour mood.

This preparation works very well with chicken livers as well, but there's something about the more intense flavor of turkey liver that just sets me in 
 
 
Some of you may know I'm also over at SeriousEats currently doing their Sunday Brunch and Supper columns (some changes happening soon!).  Occasionally there is some crossover between my columns and this blog, and although this post hasn't gone live yet (so I'm not naming this dish) there is something awesome about putting a piece of fois gras on anything.  And as it turns out, it went especially well with this recipe.
So there's a sneak peek at what will be over at SeriousEats next weekend, with some liver on it.
 
 
If I could have this everyday for breakfast I'd be happy.
Chicken livers cooked in butter and finished with port, tucked into a soft egg blanket.  Total cooking time, 17 minutes.  Fantastic.
 
 
My lovely, lonely, little duck liver soaked in mirin and soy for a night.  I saved a piece of duck fat and and put it in a low pan to render out a good tablespoon of fat to use to sear the liver.
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The flavour is a little sweet, a little salty and very rich.  With a little leftover baguette and a pinch of cracked black pepper I've got a very nice nibble to have with a glass of wine before supper.
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We managed to get two full dinners and one lovely snack from a single eight dollar duck.  That is one delicious and cost effective bird.
 
 
Ducks are a truly wonderful creature, right up there with pigs in my book.  I've been meaning to roast a duck forever, and last night I finally got around to it.

This duck came from my local Asian grocery.  It seemed a little small (very different from the plump European style duck that I'm more accustomed to) but in my mind it seemed perfect for two people. 
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The cavity of my duck was stuffed with all sorts of lovely giblets; a nice big neck, a couple gizzards, heart and liver.  Some of those bits are destined for duck soup, but the liver is getting marinated then sauteed in duck fat as a special treat.
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Simple is the way to go when roasting a duck.  Poke holes in the skin to allow the fat to drip out, and use more salt than it looks like you probably need.
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Into a waiting 325 degree oven, which I checked every 15-20 minutes.  Once it started to brown I made a quick glaze (honey, sriracha, soy) and brushed it all over.  The duck went back into a now 425 degree oven to finish crisping.
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I served just the breast, which to be honest was not enough.  The breast was thin, and not quite juicy enough, and the skin was not the desired level of crisp.
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Alongside some sticky rice, steamed bok ckoy and some daikon sprouts it was a pretty good dinner.  Definitely room for improvement, which is never a bad thing because that means there is more duck in my future.
 
 
Nose to tail eating can sometimes involve cooking and eating some things that can sometimes seem unappetizing - even to those of us who are offal inclined.  And then there's fois gras.

Fois is the liver of a duck that has been force fed.  What the birds are fed is up to the producer, sometimes it's a combination of different grain, sometimes it's brandy soaked bread.  There is a lot of controversy surrounding how fois gras is made, some peope feel the ducks are being tortured by going through the gravage (forcefeeding) process - I've seen these ducks happily following the farmers to get their suppers. 

Opinions on feeding ducks aside, fois gras is delicious, luscious and a treat.  I purchased my tiny piece at one of my local gourmet shops, it's Grade B Fois Gras, which means that there are some veins present but the flavour and texture are still fois.  Just a little more high maintenance.  They are fairly easily removed with a sharp knife.  For those on a budget I highly suggest it.
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A lovely treat.
Before I left my last job I bought a jar of cider jelly, which is very simply a gallon of cider reduced to a small jar of jelly - the flavour is sweet and tart and appley.  I've also got a little bit of homemade blueberry lime jam.  Very simply I'm going to toast some baguette, sear my fois gras in a very hot pan and serve them with my two preserves.

Don't salt the liver until it's seared, then give it a generous sprinkle.  The one thing to remember is to not over cook your precious liver, you want it quivering on the inside and crisp on the outside.
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Our lovely lump of liver.
The liver is flavourful, fatty and salty, the cider jelly is sweet and tart and the toast is crisp (the jam is alright - not bad for a first batch).  A nice glass of wine and Ross and I are  feeling very fat and happy.
 
 
Here it is! 

Looking forward to seeing how my next video (grilled pig tail) turns out.

 
 
After having a beautiful roast chicken for dinner I was left with one lonely liver.  That one liver cooked in a bit of nice olive oil, then finished with a splash of last nights red wine, some salt and cracked black pepper made a perfect mid-morning snack.
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Snacktime.
I seem to be averaging about a post a month, which really disappoints me.  There have been a lot of changes around here.  Been spending more time with the lovely people at How2Heroes doing some videos.  I'm changing jobs, trying to get the new house a little more together.

Trying to ramp up for some more posts, but it may be slow for a bit longer.

Thanks for sticking around everyone!
 
 
The How2Heroes crew just left, and I had so much fun!

Not sure when the video will be up on the site, but I'm so excited to see it.

Here's a sneak peak from facebook.
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Sadly, I got no pictures.

The non-vegetarian main was galantines of Cornish hen.  The hens all came with their little packets of giblets most of which went into the stock pot.  I did however save the livers and soak them in port overnight.  A quick sear in butter and onto a crostini -the sauce got finished with cream and drizzled over my port soaked liver crostini.

Only three of us ate them, but I have to admit they were really tasty.

One of my New Years Eve companions did get a picture of a gallantine.  I stole this off facebook
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Galantine of Cornish hen stuffed with cornbread, sausage and leek.
I'm very happy with how I managed to sneak in a little nose to tail into my New Years Eve - I'm really looking forward to another year of these tasty treats!