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Crispy-Tender Chicken Gizzards with Almond “Breadcrumbs” (Gluten-Free, Egg-Free)

Crispy Chicken Gizzards with Almond Breadcrumbs - annumography.wordpress.com

Organ meats are healing. (Don’t just take my word for it, read what Paleo Mom has to say about them.) So I eat organ meats as often as I can. I say “as often as I can”, because:

    1. sometimes I need to work up my courage and/or find a recipe that appeals to me (I’m looking at you beef tongue), and
    2. the hubby isn’t down with organ meats, unless it’s in the form of braunschweiger.

Finding a chance to cook a meal for just myself when I have both the time and energy is no easy thing in my busy life. Sound familiar? Well, when you have the time, make these! They will give you the energy, I promise.

I ordered my chicken gizzards from Slanker Grass-Fed Meats. They were HUGE! The gizzards that I have seen in the past, whether from the little tub at the grocery store or the giblets from a roasting chicken, were tiny in comparison. Maybe they were normal size, but I’m chalking their massiveness up to being pasture-raised and generally awesome. After removing the fat from the gizzards, which was quick work with kitchen scissors and some peeling, I cut each one into three pieces. I just followed the natural curve of the organ as my guide, because the gizzards each had three lobes. Is this the correct term? I don’t know, but it works for me. You don’t need to cut the gizzards like I did, they will shrink after being boiled, but I wanted to make mine bite-sized.

Some recipes call for adding vegetables – like celery and onions – and seasonings to your water when boiling the chicken gizzards. If I have them on hand, I do the same. It enhances the “broth” that is the leftover cooking liquid. Either way, I keep the reserved broth for using later in braises, crockpot recipes, etc. Waste not, want not.

How long you boil the gizzards is a matter of personal preference. I’ve seen folks boil them for over 2 hours, but I like mine to retain some of their chewiness. So boil them for at least 45 minutes and then test them to see if they are tender enough for you. If not, check them every 15-30 minutes for up to 2 1/2 hours total boiling time – adding additional water as needed – until they have reached your desired level of tenderness.

I use olive oil for frying my chicken gizzards. My recipe deviates from others, because I do not deep fry the gizzards. The bite-sized pieces brown easily on each side in a smaller amount of oil. In fact, I start out with only half the oil to brown the first side, then I add the oil after flipping to brown the other side. Not a fan of olive oil? You can substitute with the oil or cooking fat of your choice; I think either coconut oil or lard would be great.

Did you see the recent Food52 post this week on breadcrumbs as a condiment? I’ve been doing this forevs. But mostly because my “breadcrumbs” are almond meal, and I’m too cheap to just throw them out. (See “waste not” above.) Toasting the leftover seasoned almond meal gives it a nice crunch (and cooks out any of the leftover chicken yuck that can cause you to get sick.) Just make sure that you stir frequently to avoid burning and to make sure they are completely toasted. I then sprinkle the “breadcrumbs” over the top of the gizzards to add crunch and to overcome any missing breading that didn’t stick while cooking. If you aren’t avoiding eggs like I am, you can dip the chicken gizzards in an egg wash before tossing in the almond meal. Me, I just throw in a little extra almond meal, because I know that I will want the leftover “breadcrumbs” to toast. I also do not dry my gizzards after boiling and rinsing them, because the wet meat bonds a little better to the almond meal coating.

I love pairing the earthy taste of organ meats with a garnish of brightly-flavored fresh lemon juice and parsley. I didn’t have any fresh parsley when I took this photo, so I skipped it. You can, however, add a 1/2 teaspoon of dried parsley to your seasoned almond meal before cooking the chicken gizzards, if this is all you have on hand. I ate my gizzards next to a big green salad lightly-dressed with olive oil and apple cider vinegar, but I may go the comfort food route next time with mashed cauliflower and pan-dripping gravy.

Crispy Chicken Gizzards with Almond Breadcrumbs - annumography.wordpress.com

Crispy Chicken Gizzards with Almond “Breadcrumbs”

1 lb. chicken gizzards
1/4 – 1/2 c. almond meal
1/2 – 1 t. Cajun seasoning (I use gluten-free, MSG-free Konriko Creole Seasoning)
1/4 c. oil of your choice, plus more as needed (I use olive oil)
Lemon wedges, if desired
Chopped fresh parsley, if desired

Rinse the chicken gizzards and pat dry. Remove the fat and gristle from the gizzards and cut into thirds, if desired. Place the gizzards in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover them by about an inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium and continue boiling until tender, at least 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the almond meal with the Cajun seasoning in a shallow bowl or plastic bag. Set aside.

Drain the chicken gizzards, reserving the cooking liquid for another use, and rinse with cool water. When the gizzards are completely cool, toss them in the seasoned almond meal until completely covered.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken gizzards and fry on both sides until brown – about 1-2 minutes for each side. Add more oil when turning the gizzards, if needed. Once both sides are brown, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook for another 10 minutes. Remove gizzards from the skillet with a slotted spoon, leaving the pan on medium-low heat, and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Add the remaining almond meal mixture to the skillet and toast it in the remaining oil, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes.

To serve, place chicken gizzards on the plate and sprinkle with toasted almond “breadcrumbs”. Squeeze lemon wedge over the gizzards and sprinkle with fresh parsley.

Makes 4 servings.