Chicken Gizzard & Heart Yakitori

Japanese yakitori is usually made from bite-sized pieces of chicken meat or offalskewered on a bamboo skewer and grilled over charcoal. Diners usually have the choice of having it cooked with salt (shio) or tare sauce. This recipe uses the tare approach, a marinade that is usually made of mirin, sake, soy sauce, and sugar.

You are missing out if you’re one of the foodies out there still afraid of trying internal organs. I grew up with the mentality that food should never be wasted, and every part of the animal can and should be eaten. I have vivid memories of my dad sucking the juices from shrimp heads and my mom fighting to claim the eyeballs from the steamed fish.

As a result, I have no fear (and even welcome) ear, tongue, feet, stomach, intestine, lung, liver, sweetbreads…you name it, and I will most likely eat it. That’s why one of the most exciting culinary trends to date is the increasing readiness of people to experiment with new foods and the restaurants out there ready to cater to the growing demand.

One of my personal favorites would have to be chicken gizzard. The meats have that irresistible crunchy, chewy texture, with a simple soy sauce marinade really bringing out the flavors. I purchased a 20oz package of Perdue chicken gizzard and heart at Gristedes for only $1.89! Good deal? I would say so.

But then again…what about the nutritional value? My curiousity led to a quick Google search. A cup of chicken gizzard has 212 calories and a whopping 179% of your daily cholesterol needs. Not something you want to be eating everyday, but hey, one large egg has 71% of your daily cholesterol needs, and I sure as hell am not giving up my eggs 🙂

This is a delightful appetizer to serve on a stick, and hopefully you’ll be expanding the taste palettes of all your dinner guests! (Maybe make some on the grill for this year’s Memorial Day weekend BBQ?)

Ingredients:

1 lb chicken gizzard & heart
4 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp sugar
2 cloves garlic
Scallions

Instructions:

1) Wash chicken gizzards and hearts thoroughly. Cut into bite size pieces.

2) Mince the garlic. Combine soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and garlic in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes until sauce thickens.

3) Save 3 tbsp of the sauce for serving and pour remaining sauce over the chicken. Mix well, cover, and chill in the refrigerator for 1-3 hours.

4) Soak the bamboo skewers (toothpicks in my case) in water for an hour to minimize burning in the oven.

5) Wash and cut off the white part of the scallion. I added this piece to my yakitori and saved the green part for garnish. Thread the marinated chicken pieces onto the skewers, alternating with the scallion if desired.

6) Broil in the oven for 13 minutes. Serve skewers with reserved sauce brushed on top.

*) To make the scallion curl garnish, cut the vegetable into 3 inch pieces and make thin lengthwise cuts 2 inches in. Place in cold water and let stand 1 minute until edges curl. Remove from water – it is now ready to be used on your plate!

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