Compared to the rest of the world the UK tends to be a lot more squeamish about nose to tail eating. I was brought up in Hong Kong where everything from the animal is eaten and chickens are sold with heads and feet still attached. I happen to love chicken feet but outside of a Chinese supermarket they are pretty hard to find here, so where do they all go? Likewise poultry gizzards are popular throughout the rest of the world and yet when was the last time you saw some for sale?
Here in Melton we have two fantastic Eastern European food shops. One has the most fantastic deli selling cooked meats and cheeses (their smoked garlic brawn is amazing) and the other focusses more on preserved goods and has a brilliant selection of vodkas of all descriptions (also amazing!). Today I popped in for some Pierogi and found they had some hot smoked chicken gizzards for sale, well, not to turn down a chance for some kitchen experimenting I immediately bought some and headed back to the cottage.
I bought about 40 gizzards which were pretty heavily smoked and faintly garlicky. My first thought was to flash fry them – they were like amazing chicken smoked bacon! Because they had been hot smoked they were already cooked so a really quick fry made them lovely and crispy on the outside and meaty on the inside, however if left slightly too long they toughen (like bacon) so if you miss the perfect moment you then have to carry on until they are thoroughly crispy like scratchings!
A quick forage in the garden and fridge provided some baby carrot tops, beetroot and chard leaves, some baby broad beans (frozen last year), a quick feta sauce and some nutty rapeseed oil to accompany. The feta sauce I whizzed up ended up being drizzled all over the dish as it was so good!
Feta sauce was simply feta cheese, lemon juice, a bit of freshly ground pepper and a splash of double cream (normally I would use yoghurt but I didn’t have any plain so used the cream instead) simply mixed until smooth. If you grow your own carrots then you will know how amazing the young tops are, they are one of those things like courgette flowers or nasturtiums that have to be eaten straight away to get the best out of them.
So that was today’s quick starter of hot smoked chicken gizzards, definitely something I will be buying again and more experiments to come!