How to Eat for Less: Preparing and Cooking Organ Meats

Save money and eat healthy with delicious recipes for tongue, kidneys, sweetbreads and heart.

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    Organ meat nutrition chart.
  • kidney pie
    Kidney pie is just one of the delicious dishes you can make with organ meats.

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  • kidney pie

Although MOTHER's staff has no argument with vegetarians (some of the people here at the home office, in fact, are vegetarians), we have no real argument with meat eaters either. There are many paths to the True Light, and we must each—when it comes right down to it—find our own way. Still, it does seem a shame that so many of the carnivores among us seem to think that "meat" means only "muscle" . . . and never "organ". This foolish misconception both [1] leads to the unnecessary waste of much valuable animal protein, and [2] cheats the meat eaters among us from some of the most savory dishes of all. Lucille Sivley means to correct that situation.

Our prehistoric ancestors instinctively prized the richly nourishing organ meats of the animals they consumed. And today, most of the meat-eating peoples of the world continue to share this appreciation for low-in-fat, vitamin-and-mineral-rich hearts, tongues, kidneys, sweetbreads, etc.

Most of the meat-eating peoples of the world, that is . . . except for those who live right here in the United States. For some reason, we Americans are downright squeamish about consuming such organ meats. Which is absolutely ridiculous, since we regularly eat this healthful protein anyway ( unhealthfully disguised—along with less mentionable ingredients—in the tons of processed and chemical-laced "lunch" meats that we gulp down each year).

So, if you eat meat, why pay premium prices (those little plastic packages of processed slices and spreads are frightfully expensive on a per-pound basis) for the privilege of getting your kidneys, sweetbreads, etc., secondhand? Why? When, even in today's age of inflation, you can frequently still purchase the same delicacies—fresh, unprocessed, and unchemicalized—for less than 500 a pound!

The following recipes have grown out of my own experiments with organ meat cookery. Most of the folks who taste them think they're delicious and I believe that you'll find it difficult to go wrong with any one of the following dishes (or the organs from which they're made). In all cases, I've specified beef in the following recipes since beef organs are generally more readily available and have a milder taste than their pork, etc., counterparts (although I have been told that the heart and tongue from the American bison beats beef heart and tongue by a country mile).

The Versatile Kidney

Beef kidneys are good organs to start with because they're almost always both inexpensive and plentiful. The mature kidneys weigh about 12 ounces (three-quarters of a pound) each, are deep red in color, and have a somewhat bumpy appearance (compared to pork kidneys, which are smoother). Most markets carry these organs—even if they don't stock tongue or sweetbreads—so you should have no trouble finding them.

9/13/2007 11:45:25 PM

Wonderful article. I love organ meats. They often take a little time to prepare but if you know what you're doing they do make excellent dishes. I was suprised that you did not include liver in your above list, as this is even better than kidney. In Australia lamb and beef liver is abundant although I'm sure most people feed it to their pets and don't know what to do with it. Thanks again for the great piece, it made me long for some corned tongue and mustard.



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