Suppression

Offal

Category: Food

Type

Voluntary

Introduction and description

Offal is the collective name given to the internal organs of a butchered animal. In effect it covers all the internal organs – kidney, heart, brain, liver, intestines, lungs, stomach, and the various endocrine and reproductive glands. Even when the organs are not used directly, they may be used indirectly. Intestines, for example, are traditionally used as the casing for sausages. Meat is really defined as muscle [and fat] either on the bone or not.

This all sounds very unappetising, but offal can be made into some delicious dishes and is the staple ingredient of a whole host of gourmet products - foie gras, pâté, breaded sweetbreads, and the culinary pinnacle of all gourmet food the Scottish haggis and tripe and onions. People formed queues miles long here in the north of England to buy tripe and onions and faggots [for those in the USA, a faggot here in the UK is also a dish made from offal].

Nutritionally the resulting meals were occasionally a little lop-sided – faggots, baked beans and chips [frites] would not exactly be called healthy – but it is tasty. As my sister-in-law would comment 'yum yum pig's bum'.

Enough of the frivolity.

It appears to be a commonly held belief that meat has loads of vitamins iron and other minerals, whereas the reality is that it is the offal that contains the most iron and minerals.

Offal is also the most susceptible to bad farming practise.

If the farmer who has reared your animal has used antibiotics, steroids, fed them with pesticide sprayed grain, grazed them on land polluted with toxins, and subjected them to stress and poor treatment, the animals – like you if you had undergone this treatment - will have damaged organs, with toxins, bacteria, viruses, and other nasties all suffused in them.

If you want to use offal, this is one time when going organic is essential – whatever was in the poor animals will simply transfer to you.

Method

My Mum used to soak liver and kidneys in milk before we had them. This had the effect of both moistening the meat but it also appeared to remove the sharpness and bitterness caused by any remaining impurities. The milk, needless to say, was thrown away. Heart also benefits from the same treatment tenderising it.

Heart - Fanny Craddock [one of our early TV chefettes] used to soak heart in milk, stuff it and call it mock duck.  Why I don't know.  I was a child at the time it was all beyond me.  But it did taste good, especially with my Mum's tomato sauce [meat stock and tomato puree or if you prefer ketchup].

Liver is delicious with onions, bacon, sliced oranges, balsamic vinegar [added at the very end of cooking], or with madeira or marsala poured over at the end of cooking. It can of course also be made into liver pate and there must be a million recipes for liver pate including some very unusual ones using anchovies and dried fruit. In Denmark a version of liver pâté, known as "leverpostej" is considered a national dish. The 5.5 million Danes consume roughly 14,000 tons of leverpostej per year.

Kidneys are just nice cored and eaten with a mixed grill. Steak and kidney pie or pudding (typically featuring veal or beef kidneys) is the food of the gods for us northern folk.

Haggis - Haggis is made all over northern Europe and Scandinavia although it is not called haggis even though the ingredients tend to be similar.  The traditional Scottish haggis consists of sheep stomach stuffed with a boiled mix of liver, heart, lungs, rolled oats and other ingredients. Quite a lot of pepper seems to be used. It is good with boiled mashed swede and carrot mixed [so called neeps]

Faggots are made from ground or minced pig offal (mainly liver and cheek), bread, herbs and onion wrapped in pig's caul fat.  They go well with a lightly tossed rocket and baby leaf salad [I'm joking - or maybe I'm not].

Brawn is made from a collection of meat and tissue found on an animal's skull (typically a pig) that is cooked, chilled and set in gelatin made from the boiled bones. Herbs are added for taste. Recipes exist all over Europe and Scandinavia. Versions of brawn are often served on rye bread as an open sandwich with garnish of cucumber slices or dijon mustard and pickled beetroot or gherkin.

Black pudding is made from pig's blood occasionally with oatmeal made into sausage-like links with pig intestine as a casing, then boiled. It is wonderful with apple puree. The French, British, Germans, Dutch, Scandinavians and Belgians compete in competitions for the best black puddings.  It is part of the traditional English breakfast.

Brain - one of my more memorable experiences was to eat in a French working lads hostel where I was served boiled brain - just boiled brain in a sort of raised plate swimming in clear broth.  It was a light grey in colour.  I was hungry, I ate it.  Even the French can fail gastronomically sometimes.
Fried-brain sandwiches are a speciality in the Ohio River Valley.

Manly bits - And lest we forget, Rocky Mountain oysters or prairie oysters (beef testicles) are 'a delicacy eaten in some cattle-raising parts of the western US and Canada'. Turkey Fries (testicles) are served in restaurants in Nebraska.

Tripe is made from the stomachs of various farm animals. People from Lancashire and Yorkshire have a tendency to think of it as their national dish. Men and women from this region eat it raw with vinegar standing stark naked in the snow as a test of virility [no I'm joking – or maybe I'm not]. But it is eaten throughout the world. To 'dress' the tripe the stomachs are cleaned and the fat trimmed off. It is then boiled and bleached giving it the white colour more commonly associated with tripe. It remains a popular dish in many parts of continental Europe such as France and Italy. In France, a very popular dish, sold in most supermarkets, is 'Tripes à la mode de Caen'. The following list may seem overkill, but I wanted to demonstrate that with imagination you can make most things tasty and nourishing. Tripe dishes include:

  • Andouille — French poached, boiled and smoked cold tripe sausage
  • Babat — Indonesian spicy beef tripe dish, could be fried with spices or served as soup
  • TQallia — Moroccan spiced, seasoned in a sauce with vegetables and served on cous-cous
  • Bak Kut Teh — A Chinese herbal soup popularly served in Malaysia & Singapore
  • Breakfast Sausages — Most commercially produced sausages in the United States contain pork and beef tripe as filler
  • Callos — Spanish/Filipino tripe dish cooked with chickpea, chorizo and paprika.
  • Cau-Cau — Peruvian stew of cow tripe, potatoes, mint and other spices and vegetables.
  • Chakna — Indian spicy stew of goat tripe and other animal parts
  • Ciorbă de burtă — Romanian special soup with cream and garlic
  • Dobrada — Portuguese tripe dish usually served with white butterbeans and chouriço
  • Dršťkovka (dršťková polévka) — Czech goulash-like tripe soup
  • "Fasulia bil karsha" in Libya, kidney bean soup with tripe.
  • Dulot or Dulet — Eritrean and Ethiopian tripe and entrail stir-fry, with spiced butter, garlic, parsley and berbere.
  • Fileki or špek-fileki — Croatian tripe soup.
  • Flaki — Polish soup, with marjoram
  • Guatitas — Ecuadorian and Chilean tripe stew, often served with peanut sauce.
  • İşkembe çorbası — Turkish tripe soup with garlic, lemon and spices
  • Khash — In Armenia the widely popular winter soup is made of boiled beef tendon and honeycomb tripe and served with lots of garlic and lavash bread.
  • Lampredotto — Florentine abomasum-tripe dish, with green sauce and hot sauce.
  • Machitos — Mexican tripe dish, with fresh onion, cilantro, and a variety of salsas.
  • Mutura Kenyan Cuisine-tripe sausage, stuffed with blood, organ meat and other meats.
  • Menudo — Mexican tripe and hominy stew
  • Mondongo — Latin American and Caribbean tripe, vegetable and herb soup
  • Motsu — Japanese tripe served either simmered or in Nabemono
  • pacha — Iraqi, tripe stuffed with spiced rice
  • Pancita — Peruvian spicy barbecue fried cow tripe marinated with peppers and other ingredients.
  • Patsás (Greek: πατσάς) — Greek, tripe stew seasoned with red wine vinegar and garlic (skordostoubi) or thickened with avgolemono.
  • Philadelphia Pepper Pot Soup — American (Pennsylvania) tripe soup with peppercorns
  • Phở — Vietnamese noodle soup with many regional variations, some of which include tripe
  • Saure Kutteln — from south Germany, made with beef tripe and vinegar or wine
  • Skembici — Serbia, Tripe in vegetable stew with herbs, served with boiled potato.
  • Tripice- Croatia, stew made with Tripe, boiled with potato and bacon added for flavour.
  • Tripe and Beans — in Jamaica. This is a thick, spicy stew made with Tripe and Broad Beans
  • Tripe and onion — in Northern England
  • Tripe taco — Mexican sheep or calf tripe dish with tortillas
  • Trippa alla fiorentina — in Italy (fried with tomatoes and other vegetables)
  • Trippa alla Romana — in Italy (done with white wine and tomatoes)
  • Trippa alla Savoiarda — in Piedmont/Italy (stewed with vegetables, white wine, sauce from roasted beef and served covered with grated Parmigiano Reggiano/Grana Padano cheese)
  • Ojree — Pakistani curry made out of finely chopped and tenderized goat tripe
  • Niudu/Jinqiandu; Tripe served steamed with spring onion and garlic sauce, or just boiled in water served with sweet soya sauce with chilli and spring onions as a dipping sauce.
  • Tripas à moda do Porto — tripe with white beans, in Portuguese cuisine
  • Tripe soup — in Jordan. This is a stew made with Tripe and tomato sauce

Nutritional values

All the following tables are derived from the USDA Nutrients database for Standard Reference  Release 26   Software v.1.3.1.  As can be seen, offal is rich in vitamins and minerals, low in fat, and low in carbohydrates and sugars whilst supplying energy.  

Raw tripe 

Nutritional value per 100 g

Energy

355 kJ (85 kcal)

Carbohydrates

0 g

- Sugars

0 g

  - Lactose

0 g

- Dietary fibre

0 g

Fat

3.69 g

- saturated

1.291 g

- monounsaturated

1.533 g

- polyunsaturated

.180 g

Protein

12.07 g

Water

84.16 g

Vitamin A equiv.

0 μg

Thiamine (vit. B1)

0 mg

Riboflavin (vit. B2)

.064 mg

Niacin (vit. B3)

0.881 mg

Pantothenic acid (B5)

0.1 mg

Vitamin B6

.014 mg

Folate (vit. B9)

5 μg

Vitamin B12

1.39 μg

Vitamin C

0 mg

Vitamin D

0 μg

Vitamin E

.09 mg

Vitamin K

0 μg

Calcium

69 mg

Iron

.59 mg

Magnesium

13 mg

Manganese

.085 mg

Phosphorus

64 mg

Potassium

67 mg

Sodium

97 mg

Zinc

1.42 mg

Beef liver

Nutrient

Unit


Value per 100 g

Proximates

Water

g

70.81

Energy

kcal

135

Protein

g

20.36

Total lipid (fat)

g

3.63

Carbohydrate, by difference

g

3.89

Fiber, total dietary

g

0.0

Sugars, total

g

0.00

Minerals

Calcium, Ca

mg

5

Iron, Fe

mg

4.90

Magnesium, Mg

mg

18

Phosphorus, P

mg

387

Potassium, K

mg

313

Sodium, Na

mg

69

Zinc, Zn

mg

4.00

Vitamins

Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid

mg

1.3

Thiamin

mg

0.189

Riboflavin

mg

2.755

Niacin

mg

13.175

Vitamin B-6

mg

1.083

Folate, DFE

µg

290

Vitamin B-12

µg

59.30

Vitamin A, RAE

µg

4968

Vitamin A, IU

IU

16898

Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)

mg

0.38

Vitamin D (D2 + D3)

µg

1.2

Vitamin D

IU

49

Vitamin K (phylloquinone)

µg

3.1

Lipids

Fatty acids, total saturated

g

1.233

Fatty acids, total monounsaturated

g

0.479

Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated

g

0.465

Fatty acids, total trans

g

0.170

Cholesterol

mg

275

Lambs kidneys

Nutrient

Unit


Value per 100 g

Proximates

Water

g

79.23

Energy

kcal

97

Protein

g

15.74

Total lipid (fat)

g

2.95

Carbohydrate, by difference

g

0.82

Fiber, total dietary

g

0.0

Minerals

Calcium, Ca

mg

13

Iron, Fe

mg

6.38

Magnesium, Mg

mg

17

Phosphorus, P

mg

246

Potassium, K

mg

277

Sodium, Na

mg

156

Zinc, Zn

mg

2.24

Vitamins

Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid

mg

11.0

Thiamin

mg

0.620

Riboflavin

mg

2.240

Niacin

mg

7.510

Vitamin B-6

mg

0.220

Folate, DFE

µg

28

Vitamin B-12

µg

52.41

Vitamin A, RAE

µg

95

Vitamin A, IU

IU

316

Lipids

Fatty acids, total saturated

g

1.000

Fatty acids, total monounsaturated

g

0.630

Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated

g

0.550

Cholesterol

mg

337

Lamb's heart

Nutrient

Unit


Value per 100 g

Proximates

Water

g

76.71

Energy

kcal

122

Protein

g

16.47

Total lipid (fat)

g

5.68

Carbohydrate, by difference

g

0.21

Fiber, total dietary

g

0.0

Minerals

Calcium, Ca

mg

6

Iron, Fe

mg

4.60

Magnesium, Mg

mg

17

Phosphorus, P

mg

175

Potassium, K

mg

316

Sodium, Na

mg

89

Zinc, Zn

mg

1.87

Vitamins

Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid

mg

5.0

Thiamin

mg

0.370

Riboflavin

mg

0.990

Niacin

mg

6.140

Vitamin B-6

mg

0.390

Folate, DFE

µg

2

Vitamin B-12

µg

10.25

Vitamin A, RAE

µg

0

Vitamin A, IU

IU

0

Lipids

Fatty acids, total saturated

g

2.250

Fatty acids, total monounsaturated

g

1.600

Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated

g

0.550

Cholesterol

mg

135

Related observations