A Guide to Organ Meat
Cooking with organ meat can seem a little… challenging, to say the least, but organ meats can actually be a great addition to your paleo lifestyle, that is very often overlooked. Organ meats are incredibly rich in protein, vitamins and nutrients, and they are also a very economical choice, when buying cuts of steak for multiple meals a week gets a bit expensive. There are several types of organ meat that are easily found in supermarkets:
Liver meat is probably among the most commonly consumed of the organ meats, and it has often been considered a delicacy in Asian countries. Liver is high in protein, vitamin A, B vitamins, iron and folic acid. It’s also the best food source for copper, and contains CoQ10, which helps support healthy cardiovascular functioning. There’s a large variety of animals from which the liver can be consumed, including cow, goat, lamb and bison, to name a few. Liver that comes from a smaller and younger animal is probably going to be the tastiest, because it will be the most tender and have the mildest flavor.
Kidney meat can usually be purchased in the form of beef, lamb and pork, and they are often sold pre-trimmed, which can make for a lot less work in the kitchen. Beef kidneys usually have the mildest flavor and they are the least expensive. When selecting kidneys, look for those that have a deep, red color, and that look plump and shiny without discolored areas or a strong smell. Veal kidney may not have a deep red color; it can appear tan. Kidneys work well when broiled, sautéed or braised.
The heart is a muscle meat, often similar to steaks, roasts and ground beef, that can actually be fairly large in size, depending on the animal in which it originated. The heart is inexpensive compared to steaks, roasts and ground beef, however, and is also richer in protein and nutrients. The heart also contains valuable amino acids that can help improve metabolism and promote the production of collagen. The heart should be a reddish-brown color and have a layer of fat at the top. The heart is a delicate organ when it comes to cooking, so you should cook it slowly, and ensure it’s not overcooked.
Sweetbread generally refers to the thymus and pancreas glands of a calf, lamb or pig. Sweetbreads should be a white-pinkish color and either round or elongated, depending on whether they come from the mid-section or the throat.
Tongue may seem like the most extreme of all the organs mentioned, but it’s a fairly versatile organ meat, with veal tongue and beef tongue being the most commonly eaten. Veal and beef tongue has a grainy texture, feels firm to the touch and is a pinkish-gray color. Tongue can be stewed, roasted, boiled or poached, and generally the skin should be removed before serving.