Category:Offal recipes

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Pigs heads at Saquisili market in Ecuador

In this category you will find all recipes that contain organ meat (offal) as a main ingredient. Some of the recipes might be strange or unusual but hopefully they will give you some ideas and inspiration. Brain, liver, tongue, stomach sweetbread (pancreas), neck sweetbread (thymus), tripe (stomach), trotters (pig feet), kidney, lights (lung), heart, chitterlings (small intestine), sweetmeat (testicles), placenta, gizzard (crop), heart and caul are all categorised as offal though unfortunately kidney, liver and and tongue are the only common ingredients seen in most supermarkets nowadays. If you have any good recipes for any of the above, please feel free to add them.

From the wonderful Cookbook: Food In England;

Heard in Wigan Market:

Collier, admiring pendant heart, windpipe and lungs outside a butcher's shop:

I say guv'nor, how much for your watch and chain?

Health concerns

Aside from potentially being very high in cholesterol like in the case of the brain and liver, the offal of certain animals is unsafe to consume:

  • The internal organs of the fugu pufferfish are highly toxic — in Japan, fugu can only be prepared by trained master chefs, working under extremely strict regulations, sanitary conditions, and licensing. Even a residual portion of fugu toxin can be fatal.
  • The liver of the polar bear is unsafe to eat because it is very high in vitamin A and can cause hypervitaminosis A, a dangerous disorder. This has been recognised since at least 1597 when Gerrit de Veer wrote in his diary that, while taking refuge in the winter in Nova Zemlya, he and his men became gravely ill after eating polar-bear liver.
  • Some animal intestines are very high in coliform bacteria and need to be washed and cooked thoroughly to be safe for eating.
  • Nervous system tissue can be contaminated with TSE prions, which cause bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, "mad cow disease"); in some jurisdictions these offal are classified as specified risk materials and are subject to special regulations.
  • Offal very high in purines can precipitate an acute attack of gout in someone with the condition.
  • Offal can be very high in cholesterol and saturated fats, including kidneys, stomach, intestines, heart, tongue and liver.