For the two of you who have been on the edge of your seats wondering who won the inaugural Meat & Greet, which asked the food blogosphere to give me your best shot with offal, I apologize. I was off turkey hunting yesterday (it’s the last weekend of the season), and today my server was severed for most of the day. Grrrr…
Better late than never, I suppose. I have to say I was really happy that so many of you answered the call for what can be a tricksy ingredient to manage in the kitchen. Even the chicken livers so many of you went with can be off-putting.
My entry, symbolic of course, is above: It’sÂ a dish of brined, seared wild duck hearts served with garlicky Tuscan kale and a dollop of my fresh fava bean puree. Nothing earth-shattering, but a tasty way to eat these little morsels.
Here is the round-up, in no particular order:
Kit’s Chow in Vancouver, British Columbia made an Asian-style Braised Beef and Beef Tendon in a clay pot. It looks inviting for cooler weather, which in BC they are no doubt still having. KC gets points for using something as unusual as tendon.
- Basil Queen in Boston made a French dish of beef tongue with cornichons and capers, which sounds like a fine lunch at any time of the year.
Warner from The Art of the Pig in New York has an “exhibition” entry — he already has the prize of “Variety Meats” I am offering. Good thing, too, because his country pate looks, very, very tasty. Where’s the offal? Pork and chicken livers, baby.
Robin of Kok Robin in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, has a beautiful Asian dish of tongue called Man & Wife Tongue Slices. It has all the racy flavors you would expect from a Sichuan dish. Apparently the original also had heart and stomach — what’s the matter, Robin? Didn’t have the guts to use stomach? OK, I know. Bad joke.
Not to be outdone, fellow UK resident Michelle (albeit she’s a South African) of Greedy Gourmet, mixed her chicken livers with soy and honey. Delish. Major food porn points for the stellar photo and presentation.
Continuing the international flavor of these entries, Ivy over at Kopiaste (“Hospitality” in Greek) used basically the whole innards of a lamb to make the traditional Greek Easter dish, kokoretsi. You have to see this one to believe it. And for good measure, she ads magiritsa, which as far as I can tell is Greek menudo — an offal soup with a ton of dill and parsley in it.
Back in the US, Michelle from Illinois’ Big Black Dog did a delicious-looking braised oxtail, which of all the items technicaly termed offal is the most accessible and is — gasp! — almost becoming trendy!
And last but not least, I am so glad that Carolyn of 18th Century Cuisine in Michigan had the balls to make animelles frites, or, ahem, Rocky Mountain Oysters — oh hell, testicles! Too bad no picture.
OK, so who won? The winner of a copy of Variety Meats, edited by Richard Olney is…Kok Robin, for the Chinese beef tongue.
Why? Well, the presentation was stellar. The preparation was fascinating. And the layering of flavors, coupled with the fact that the tongue was served sliced thin — as it should be, in my opinion — made me really, really want to try this dish. Bravo, Robin!
I do have to give honorable mention to Amy and Jonny for using kidneys, which are one of my favorite bits, and to Ivy, for a double-barreled shot of Greek gutsy goodness! If I had more copies of the book, I’ve hand ‘em to both of you. Thank you all once again for entering.
Now, on to Meat & Greet No. 2: Things That Used to Fly. Cook me a bird that is neither a chicken nor a turkey in a way that will make me say, Holy Crap that looks fantastic! The contest will give equal weight to taste and originality — the weirder the bird, the more bonus points you get.
Look for more details in a few days.