Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hearts and Livers and Tongues, oh My!

Monday the 9th was butcher day at Grouse Creek.  Two large Holstein steers--the ones with horns that kind of scare me...were butchered.  I was available to help the butcher as needed, and answered "Yes" when he asked if I wanted to keep various organs and other meat that most people say "No" about.

I kept the liver, heart, sweetbread (Thymus gland), tongue and jowls from both steers.  Some of this meat went to the freezer after cooling. Some got cooked right away.  Honesty, I have to get up a bit more nerve before actually cooking some of these!

The hearts were cubed immediately.  One batch was marinated for 24 hours using a recipe from Nourishing Traditions. I thought I'd be brave...but I just dumped it all into a freezer bag and froze it.  One of these days...

The livers were cut into small chunks and frozen.  I've had liver and onions before.  I didn't like it.  I need a new recipe! Any ideas? I've successfully incorporated grated liver with ground beef before, so I may just continue to do that.

The sweetbread was prepared according to Nourishing Traditions. It's still in my fridge.  I'm planning on cooking it today.  It's small, and not so intimidating. It's supposed to be a mild organ.

I'd never done anything with tongue before.  I think I still have one in the freezer from last year...I found great directions for cooking on this site.  I boiled them up and the bumpy skin came right off.  Instead of processing it further into taco meat, I decided to go shredded BBQ style.  What I tasted right away was good.  But, I had too much meat out, and decided to freeze this for a future meal.

The jowls is what I was most excited about.  Apparently this is a delicacy in some parts of the world.  I used this website and slow cooked the whole thing in foil in the oven.  It was fall apart tender when I pulled it out! And tasty!

I shredded the beef cheeks, added a can of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and some taco seasoning.  Then I covered the baking pan up with foil again and stuck it in the fridge.  On Mexican night this week, I simply put the pan in the oven before milking in the evening.

When I came back in, the meat was warmed and delicious.  A quick shredding of some lettuce and grating of cheese, and dinner was ready.  We just scooped the meat into tortillas, added toppings and rolled.  All of the kids liked it.  Jayme and Owen ate two tacos.  Ellie ate her entire one.  Sydney and Jeff did pretty well too.

Bryan and I also liked it.  The large chunks of red meat were a nice change from the normal ground beef tacos we do.  We're definitely looking forward to the more traditional cuts of beef being ready! Roasts and steaks and ribs...yum!

What organs have you tried?  Any tips for an enjoyable liver recipe?

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