Sweetbreads, liver, tripe: Mere words that, when uttered allowed, are often followed by someone shivering in dismay. But if you cook these off-cuts right, they’re just as delicious as any other cut of meat. And organ meats have some unique advantages: deep flavor and tenderness that rivals any steak.
With more restaurants serving offal right alongside duck and pork, many of these off-cuts are easier to get than ever. Here are 11 ways to get the most of them.
At the bar
Proof on Main in Louisville, Kentucky, chicken livers are flambéed with bourbon and smeared on grilled bread with a smoky-sweet pecan garnish.
Seared calf’s liver, potatoes, and bacon are natural partners in this dish from Aux Lyonnais.
A pita sandwich of griddled spiced meats and onions is one of Jerusalem’s most beloved street foods. Organ meats such as chicken hearts and livers provide a burst of rich, gamey flavor.
Braised in a spicy tomato sauce, sweetbreads and tripe become tender and succulent, while ricotta adds rich creaminess and mint a refreshing, springlike accent to this Italian pasta.
Get the recipe for Pasta with Sweetbread and Tripe Ragù (Rigatoni Pajata alla Finta) »
The key to these sweetbreads is an aggressive char—you want the outside to get super crispy.
This dish is known in Slovenia as “Sunday soup,” a reference to the long simmering time it takes to extract flavor from beef bones for the broth.
Get the recipe for Beef Broth with Liver Dumplings and Saffron »
Creamy, earthy chicken livers are pureed with vin santo and sauteed vegetables for a classic and addictive spread.
Get the recipe for Fried Chicken Livers »
The cumin-spiced Sweetbread Pita from Yossi Elad of Jerusalem’s
Machneyuda has a bright topping of chopped preserved lemon and jalapeño.
Eszter Bodrogi fries goose liver in paprika-spiced goose fat. Our adaptation of the dish calls for duck foie gras.
This elegant preparation of poached and pan-seared sweetbreads served over wilted escarole with a port wine–cream sauce, comes from Boston chef Barbara Lynch.