How sautéed gizzards finally conquered my palate
It’s Sunday. Naturally, there’s poultry on the menu. This means that somewhere in our kitchen, my mom will have hidden a plate garnished with a specific meat cut. I am positive I will also hear one key question from my dad:
“Pa gen géser …?!? ” – is there a gizzard today?
He knows that, when there is one, this special cut is his. Yet, he cannot help but mumble while asking for it. The answer best be affirmative, for otherwise he will be grumpy the entire meal.
His gizzard, he won’t really be eating it alone, however.
Throughout my childhood, my father and sister shared this meat cut. Yes, they managed to split this tiny piece of meat. I can still hear my dad offering:
“Wap manje gésier, Arielle …” – will you be eating some, Arielle?
My sister’s answer was almost always a yes, much to my father’s despair. I am ready to bet that deep down he always hoped she would let him have it all to himself.
I must say, I never quite understood their enthusiasm for this ridiculously small meat cut. Have you seen the size of a gizzard? How could they even think of sharing it? Truth be told, I haven’t always been a fan of this meat, or any type of giblets for that matter. For the first 25 years of life, I avoided it at all costs. I was usually miserable when my mom decided to serve it as a main dish. Back then, we had gizzard drowned in a sauce, a cooking method I did not care much for. When my mom got tired of fighting me, she finally agreed to simply cook me something else on those days. This has changed in recent years, however.
It took a while, but a few years ago, I finally learned to appreciate gizzards.
While away on a weekend beach trip, I discovered this meat cut under a new light. Our host had used a different preparation method. That day, instead of a muddy gizzard plate, I was served a plate similar to the one below. It was garnished with sautéed gizzards dressed with piment bouc and served as an appetizer alongside bananes pesées. That day, I got introduced to a different world of well-balanced flavors and textures.
Ever since, I stopped refusing gizzards. So long as it is prepared the same way that is. My newfound taste, however, means that my father and sister now have to share their gizzard with more people. Fortunately for them, I only eat it sautéed. So the one gizzard that comes with a poultry dinner is still theirs to fight over.
Haitian-style sautéed gizzards with onions, pickled shallots, and bell pepper
We prepare these gizzards almost like we would our griot, with the only difference that there more spices go in it. The principle is the same, cook it in a pressure cooker and them sautée and brown them with some onions and bell pepper.Since I am not a fan of onions and bell peppers, I like to add mine towards the end of the cooking but you can definitely cook them down with the meat.
- 2 lbs gizzards
- ½ cup sour orange juice
- 2 Piment bouc
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- 1 handful of fresh parsley roots on
- 1-2 garlic heads
- 1 small carrot
- ½ onion + more for sautéing
- ½ bell pepper + more for sautéing
- pickled shallots
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp coarse pepper
- 1 key lime juice optional
- 1-2 cups of water
- Oil for sautéing
In a pressure cooker, add the gizzards, sour orange juice, 1 piment bouc, thyme, parsley, garlic, carrot, ½ onion, ½ bell pepper, salt, pepper, and 1 tbsp of oil
Cover with water
Pressure cook for about 30-45 minutes or until tender
In the meantime, thinly slice some onions, bell pepper, and a piment bouc
Once the meat is fully cooked, strain the liquid and remove the seasonings
In a pot, heat about 2 tbsp of oil
Add the cooked meat and sauté until golden on all sides
Incorporate the sliced onion, bell pepper and some pickled shallots. You could sauté them with the meat and let them cook down or just give it a toss to keep them fresh
If you feel the gizzards could use some more acidity, add some lime juice while sautéing. Also adjust the seasoning to your taste
Top with piment bouc slices (optional) and serve.