Offal (But Not Awful) Stew

April 9, 2012 in Categories: , , by

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You know that eating organ meat is good for you.  But it can be a challenge to make some organ meat palatable.  This stew is manages to incorporate meat from three different organs (heart, liver and kidney) into a delicious and very rich stew.  The combination of the rich heart meat (which has a very steak-like flavor), the large amount of red wine, and the long cooking time ends up yielding a very familiar stew flavor.  So if you aren’t a big fan of liver or kidneys but want to incorporate them into your diet because you know just how good for you they are, this is the recipe to try!  Feel free to mix up what organ meats you use, but I do suggest using at least a third heart meat because it’s flavor is so important in the final product.  Because this stew is also packed with healthy veggies, I am pretty sure that it is the healthiest meal I make!  One more note:  this recipe filled my largest stock pot to within one inch of the top.  It was great because I had enough for leftovers and a few meals in the freezer (it freezes and reheats wonderfully, by the way).  You might want to half the recipe if you don’t have a really big pot or freezer space.  Serves 12.

Ingredients:

  • 8 lbs organ meat (I used 4 lbs grass-fed beef heart, 2 lbs grass-fed beef kidney, and 2 lbs pastured pork liver).
  • 4 medium yellow onions
  • 1 head garlic
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • 1 large sprig rosemary (or about 1-1½ Tbsp Dried Whole Leaf Rosemary)
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme (or about 1-2 tsp Dried Whole Leaf Thyme)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 6 carrots (about 1 pound)
  • 6 stalks celery
  • 1 small head cauliflower
  • 6 cups chopped kale (about 1 small bunch)
  • 1 ½ lbs mushrooms (I used Baby Bella)
  • 6 cups bone broth (I used chicken, but beef broth would be even better)
  • 1 bottle dry red wine (I used Trader Joe’s Two-Buck Chuck)
  • 5-6 Tbsp cooking fat (I used tallow, but coconut oil would be fine)

1.    Cut organ meat into small 1” cubes.  Set aside.  When cutting heart meat, leave fat attached, but remove and discard any large vessels and silverskin (Silverskin is connective tissue, quite thin, slightly translucent and slightly silver in color.  You can usually get it started with a knife and then peel it off with your fingers.).
2.    Chop vegetables:  Peel and roughly chop garlic.  Cut onions in half, then slice ¼” thick (or slightly thicker) semicircles.  Slice ½” thick rounds of carrots.  Chop celery into ½” thick slices. Cut cauliflower into quite small flowerets.  Cut the mushrooms into quarters. Remove tough stems from kale and tear or roughly chop.
3.    Make a bouquet garnis of the rosemary and thyme by simple holding the sprigs together in a bunch and tying some butcher twine around them (this helps remove the tough stems easily at the end, but it’s not a big deal if you skip this step). 
4.    Preheat oven to 300F.  Make sure the oven rack is in the lowest position so you have room for your big pot!
5.    Now for browning the meat (this makes a big different to the flavor, so even though it’s tempting, don’t skip this step):  Heat 2 Tbsp cooking fat over medium-high heat in your stock pot.  Add about one quarter of the meat at a time.  Stirring fairy frequently until meat has browned on all sides.  Remove meat from pot (place in a large bowl so you don’t lose any juices), add a little more fat if needed, and brown the next batch. 
6.    Once all the meat has browned and been removed from the pot, add the onions, celery, carrots and garlic (add a little more cooking fat if needed).  Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are fairly soft and slightly translucent.
7.    Add the meat and any juices back to the pot.  Add the mushrooms, cauliflower, kale, and herbs.  Stir to evenly distribute. 
8.    Add the broth and wine to the pot.  Bring to a boil on the stove top over medium-high heat.  Cover and place pot in the oven.
9.    Bake in the oven for 4-5 hours.  Enjoy!

Comments

The heart is what makes this stew so amazing. If you wanted you could use just heart meat and skip the liver and kidney (I have made it this way and it’s probably my favorite meal).

Thank you–this is the first organ meat recipe I’ve seen on a Paleo blog so I screwed up my courage and cooked up the lamb part that have been in my freezer–heart, kidneys, testicles. The stew is quite palatable and gives me courage to try more organ meats. Next up, 2 lamb livers and a beef liver. Wish me luck.

This recipe looks really good, however I see that there is wine in it. Would this be a problem while on the autoimmune protocol, or does is not matter since it’s cooked so long? If is a problem could I replace it with something else or would it lose the flavour?

I use wine and hard liquor in cooking and am just fine. It’s really the alcohol that is the problem with autoimmune disease, so cooked wine should be fine for most people (exception would be people with sulfite sensitivities).

Thanks. I made it yesterday, and it was a hit with me. The hubby thought the kidney was weird. The 5-yr old said yucky before even tasting it, but then ate it pretty well. The 3-yr old had to be convinced to eat most of it. I don’t know how you survive without a crock pot! I have 2 (6-qt and 5-qt), which is a good thing because it filled both! I now have 3 big bowls to go in the freezer for 3 meals down the road.

Thank you for this recipe! I had trouble finding a good heart recipe on the web, and this did the trick. I used ginger and curry powder and it is stupendous.

HI, I am wondering what your thoughts are on venison and venison organ meat? My dad hunts a lot and I get a lot of free meat from him. I noticed that I haven’t seen where you use it in any recipes (although I could have missed it) Is it just personal preference or is there something about the organ meat that doesn’t cook well or should be avoided?

Hi, this looks great for cooking in advance and saving on labor when you’ve not got much time. However being new to offal i want to get the food safety aspect totally right. Once you come to re-heat your frozen meals, should you defrost first? If so how long for? Or is it ok just to heat them up from frozen? Also can you tell me how long you can safely store these frozen offal stews for? I would dearly love to get some offal in my diet.

I freeze this stew every time I make it. I’ve reheated from frozen and I’ve thawed in the fridge first. I think it reheats better from thawed, but it’s not a necessity. How long you can store it depends on your freezer. I’ve kept mine for about 6 months.

Im always up for trying new ideas and upon discovering a cheap source of pig kidney cooked it with bacon onion and mushroom but what I found worked for me was the addition of chilies ,not enuf to blow yr mind but i like spicy food and that worked.I am yet to try the stew above but am now eager

I think the Easiest way to get newcomers to try offal is to simply not tell that what the meat is. If someone asks (I have 5 children so someone always asks) I just tell them beef, or chicken instead of beef heart or chicken liver.

If you are interested in trying out new offal recipes please visit my site at http://www.offaltasty.com. The site is dedicated to cooking all parts of the animal.

Have you ever tried making this in the crockpot instead of the oven? Just curious if at step 8, you could throw it in the crockpot instead of the oven?

Hi PaleoMom,

I have a question about Vitamin A and Retinol on AIP. I eat bright orange sweet potatoes nearly everyday which are super high in beta-carotene and contain something like 300% of the RDA apparently.

I’ve read that we only convert 3% of beta-carotene into retinol but I was wondering if there is any issue with vitamin A toxcicity from consuming too may beta-carotene containing foods and offal (liver) togehter? As I want to start eating liver twice a month, which contains a shed load of retinol.

Thanks so much!

Definitely, what your body wants is retinol and not beta-carotene (although beta-carotene is still a great antioxidant). As long as you are not extremely vitamin D deficient, there should be no conflict.

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