Awfully Good Offal

Plus a recipe for mushroom and pork ragu

Img_4736I’m grilling a chicken. I take the giblets and sautee them in olive oil with a crushed clove of garlic, a sprig of thyme, a sprig of rosemary. My plan is: chop ‘em up fine and stir them into a pork and mushroom ragu I cooked up for later (I’ll serve it up on fat, eggy paparedelle on sunday). The thinking is, it’s a stealthy, earthy injection of the organic organ flavor that people are generally weird about embracing. I’m not going to tell anyone about it. If anyone asks what makes the sauce so darned good, I’ll say: it’s liver and a heart and maybe a kidney. Not quite sure. Whatever was in that wax paper bag inside that chicken I bought yesterday.

So while I’m dreaming this up, chopping up the organs, all herby and delish smelling, my two year old son busts me. Before I can make my offal move, he asks, as he does twenty times a day, in the full throes of language aquisition stage: “What’s that?” I say: Liver and heart.

He grabs his step stool and steps up and grabs a little of it in his hands. I haven’t even tasted it yet, knowing it’ll be just a little too funky for a mid-day snack on its own. He loves it. Does his little “i love it” dance. And goes for more. Goes to show you never know what they’re going to like.

He hates tomatoes. Go figure. He loves livers and hearts.

Pork and Mushroom Ragu
I’ve incorporated the livers and hearts in here, but you can do without them if you’re squeamish about such stuff. Either way it’s awesome and was a perfect Sunday supper I served to an unsuspecting gathering of family. Did anyone know what was really in it? Only my boy and me.

2 cups button mushrooms, finely chopped
3/4 pound ground pork
1 can
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
fresh sage, chopped
fresh thyme, chopped
fresh rosemary, chopped
red pepper flakes
olive oil
salt and pepper

2 chicken livers
1 chicken heart
whatever else is in that wax paper bag inside the chicken (except for the neck)
(best way of getting these is to buy a whole chicken and roast it at 425 until it’s done. Salt and pepper it of course. Why not stuff it with a cut lemon, a bunch of thyme, sage, and rosemary while you’re at it? Eat that for dinner tonight. Eat the past for dinner tomorrow when it’s sat in the fridge for a day, getting all melded and mellow)

In a large saucepan, saute the mushrooms in olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and set aside. Add a little olive oil to the pan and sautee the onions and garlic and red pepper flakes and sautee until translucent. Add the ground pork, breaking up with a spoon. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms, and chopped herbs. Add the canned tomatoes and juice, breaking up into small pieces with hands. Cook over low heat for two hours until everything is melded and lovely.

Sautee liver and heart in a pan with a clove of garlic a sprig of thyme and a sprig of rosemary. When cooked through, remove and chop extremely finely. Stir into ragu.

Serve on pasta with grated parmesan.

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