Shiver me Gizzards! Salade de Gésiers

Salade de confits gésiers (Salad with Confit Gizzards)

Do you ever wish you had a secret power? I don’t mean like some stupid superhero who can fly, make it rain, or look great in a unitard. I mean like a gerbil’s ability to store tasty bits in its cheeks for later, or a tiger’s ability to eat 30lbs of wild boar at a single sitting, that kind of thing. No? Hmm, well, I do, and sometimes, in my more reflective moments, I find myself wishing I was blessed with a gizzard. After all, would not my diet be expanded and my ‘intestinal transit’ made smoother if I possessed a specialized second stomach that enabled me to grind up and enjoy commonly indigestible foods?

Having recently questioned a sample group of poultry, reptiles and fish (the only three genera of animals that possess gizzards) about this, I can tell you that 9 out of the 10 chickens surveyed credited their gizzards with giving free reign to their more fibrous dietary proclivities. In the course of my survey, I also learned that while addiction and dependency issues brought on by knowingly being bred for slaughter are a big problem for young roosters, the greater worry among concerned hens is the utter disregard for their gizzards demonstrated by the carnivorous public.

Salade de confits gésiers (Salad with Confit Gizzards)

“That’s my son’s (second) stomach they’re throwing them away!”, cock-a-doodle-doed one plump mother of 700 chicks, while another squawked that, “they (humans) should be so lucky to have a gizzard of their own. Ingrates!”

Chastened by these plaintive cries, and encouraged to make a salad we ate at a fabulous gastropub in Lille, France, over New Year’s, we recently explored the potential of confit-ing chicken gizzards. We found that nothing could be easier and more delicious, nor could this preparation be more suited to making the best out of what is a potentially tough part of the giblets.

We served our gizzards and some similarly confit’d chicken livers over a green salad with some boiled eggs, just as we had eaten it in Lille, but an alternative preparation typical to the Dordogne region of France, especially the town of Perigeux/Perigord, serves the gizzards over a lettuce salad with walnuts and croutons, which would be just as good, no doubt.

Salade de confits gésiers (Salad with Confit Gizzards)

Confit de Gésiers et Foie de Volaille (Confit of Chicken Gizzards & Livers)

Ingredients
For the marinade

  • 1/2lb cleaned chicken gizzards (optional: trimmed of all tough membranes)
  • 1/2lb chicken livers
  • 30 cloves or 2 heads garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, stripped of leaves
  • 10 sage leaves, thinly sliced
  • For the confit

    Recipe

    1. Take two large bowls, or even better, two large zip-lock bags, and place (trimmed and cleaned) gizzards in one and livers in the other. Split marinade ingredients between the two and make sure everything is well mixed together.
    2. Allow to marinade in fridge for at least 12 hours, preferably 24.
    3. Remove from marinade and brush errant garlic and herbs off gizzards and livers.
    4. Take two large cazuelas (low clay pots) or baking dishes, place gizzards in one and livers in the other.
    5. Preheat your oven to 225F / 110C.
    6. Warm the duck fat up first in the baking dish so it melts (you can just place it in the oven for a minute). Nestle gizzards and livers as much as possible in the duck or goose fat (hopefully they’ll be submerged), and place in the oven.
    7. You want your livers to be still pink in the middle, so pull them out after 50 minutes and take a look. Give them an extra 10 minutes if you think they need it.
    8. Gizzards should cook for two hours.
    9. Ball (tall, glass) jars are good for keeping confit’d giblets in, so make sure you have some to hand.
    10. Remove gizzards and livers from the baking dishes and put into separate glass containers. Strain the leftover fat to remove some of the impurities and pour over gizzards and livers and seal.
    11. These can be stored at room temperature, but it’s safest to keep them in the fridge (they will keep for a few weeks).
    12. To make salad: Brown gizzards and/or livers very quickly in a hot pan immediately before serving.
    13. Serve over salad leaves, that, if you are so moved, could be dressed with a goose or duck fat and white wine vinegar dressing. You could also add chopped tomatoes, 7-minute boiled egg and onion (or whatever else you like).
    14. Enjoy with a large glass of robust red wine. It goes nicely flavor-wise, but, very usefully, doubles as insurance against heart-disease.

27 thoughts on “Shiver me Gizzards! Salade de Gésiers

  1. Thanks so much for visiting my blog, because as a result I have found yours. I have bookmarked it for future reference as this because the recipes and photographs are great. Thanks for taking the time to post. I shall return.

  2. I love gizzards, and I agree confit is really the best way to prepare them.

    I’ve cleaned a few gizzards in my day, and it’s interesting to see the little teeth inside them that are used to help digest the food.

  3. It’s amazing how easily you take on the persona of chickens. I guess hanging around hen houses and interviewing the residents will do that to you. You never fail to amuse and intrigue with these less than mainstream posts.

  4. This has to be the most brilliant treatment of gizzard reporting I’ve ever read! And funny to boot. Thanks for interviewing all those critters for us;)

  5. I GOT gizzards and chicken livers from the butcher shop all the time. They are such a good deal and he is happy to sell them. Your salad is awesome. I am so jealous now that I have to watch my cholesterol. I’ll still buy them for guests. They’re delicious. Great post.
    LL

  6. ha ha i just adore your style of writing- totally racy and draws the reader in. i love gizzards and would make these anytime! bon appetit. best wishes, shayma

  7. I am so excited to read this! I’ve made a spaghetti sauce with chicken hearts and livers before and the hearts had such a chewy texture that we’ve been reluctant to try other interesting parts of the chicken. The fact that you are having them in a salad would suggest that they can stand up on their own. I’m very intrigued. Beautiful photos and as usual, awesome writing.

  8. I had some deep friend gizzards at Northern Spy the other day and I’m infatuated with them. Love the fancy name for this dish and that you used a pound of duck fat for the confit (I just confited some wagyu beef cheeks in an equally egregious amount of beef fat).

  9. Oh, gosh. That gave my smiling muscles a workout. And got me thinking about gizzards again after a very long hiatus. My mom always called them “giblets”… and she curried them. It’s the only way I’ve ever known a gizzard. But, bathing them in duck fat has GOT to beat out mom’s recipe a hundred times over. I’m practically drowning in drool.

    1. Lo – interesting you should mention giblets. Before we confit’d our gizzards we were researching them in our 1963 edition of Larousse Gastronomique and found that the terminology is something of a Venn-diagram with gizzards being giblets but not all giblets being gizzards. The culinary term giblets, apparently, refers to the heart, liver, kidneys, gizzards, neck, and feet of an animal, almost always poultry that are cut off during butchering. If you want to be really specific, neck and feet shouldn’t be classed as giblets since giblets are, strictly, viscera, or soft internal organs, that are captured during “evisceration” or gutting. I’ve never tried curried giblets, but I definitely like the idea, and it reminds me of the “Bombay liver” that we often order at our favorite Indian restaurant.

  10. Lovely post! I cook with duck livers and gizzards all the time, and I too confit them more often than not. I use a slightly different method: After marinating them overnight, I rinse and dry the gizzards and put them into a vacuum bag. I smear them all over with duck fat and seal the bag, then cook at about 160-180 degrees — steaming but not a simmer — for 4-6 hours. Slice thin and add to a saute of chanterelles, shallots and fresh thyme!

    This method requires less fat and results in a luscious gizzard that can still be sliced thin.

    At any rate, those are my $0.02.

    h.

  11. Everything was going along just kinda “well, yumm , yeah, that looks pretty good” and then Wham, the duck fat hits the frying pan and this stuff turns into gold. OMG. Us country boys aint even heard of anything like this. Mostly because we dislike the French for so many reasons. And then they cook something like THHIIISSSSS.

    I am a changed man, thanks

  12. I have recently eaten the most devine Gesiers confit salad in Fontaine de Vaucluse at Restaurant Petrarque, that I simply HAVE to try making this at home. Thank you, thank you for posting this recipe!!!

  13. I love confit de gesiers and have some in the cupboard. Then I saw raw gizzards in the butcher in England and bought some – is there anything else I can do with them. Every recipe is for confit and I have no duck fat.

    1. hi and thanks for your comment! funny you should ask what else to do w/ raw gizzards. do what we’re actually about to do for dinner tonight – batter and fry them as you would anything battered and fried. Wish I had a batter recipe to give you but we are about 6 hours away from cooking them. we’ll prob. do a seasoned flour batter – not sure if we’ll use a wet or a dry batter yet. make a delicious spicy dipping sauce to go with it – maybe a mayo-based dipping sauce? or a roulade? have fun! this is a southern usa delicacy. good luck!

      amy and jonny

    1. @Rosie: let us know how it goes. The trick is to confit them to the point that they’re still a tiny bit pink in the middle, otherwise they can get really tough. Good luck!

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