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Are you offal? We like you.

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Eddie Mair | 10:49 UK time, Monday, 8 December 2008


On Saturday's iPM we heard from a pensioner abroad, having a bit of trouble making ends meet.

Chris Beardshaw (who signed himself "...pensioner!!!!!") wrote: " I was amused to hear the pensioner in France talking about 'having to eat Offal' as their pension is so diminished!! Having eaten Offal dishes all our lives, and made soup on a regular basis, I can assure her that she's in for a treat! Dishes such as 1) Kidneys with Juniper Berries 2) Lambs Liver Italian style 3) Braised Lambs Hearts 4) Tomato Tripe Casserole have had a regular place on the menu in our house for 42 years, perhaps we need to bring back the relationship with the local Butcher who was a fund of knowledge and suggestions and, of course, cookery lessons in School (and I don't mean the theory without the practise!!!)."

We love a challenge - if you have a good offal recipe, or a tip on using offal...please post it by clicking on Comments.


  • 1. At 10:59am on 08 Dec 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    I have an awful good recipe.

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  • 2. At 11:00am on 08 Dec 2008, eddiemair wrote:

    We'd love to see it!

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  • 3. At 11:03am on 08 Dec 2008, U13717586 wrote:

    1 and 2

    The very people for talking tripe.

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  • 4. At 11:04am on 08 Dec 2008, Sid wrote:

    Top people use chicken livers in their bolognese sauce ...

    Elizabeth David's version

    Serves 6

    225g lean minced beef

    115g chicken livers

    85g uncooked ham (both fat and lean)

    1 carrot

    1 onion

    1 small piece of celery

    3 tsp concentrated tomato puree

    1 glass white wine

    2 wine glasses stock or water


    Salt and pepper


    Cut the bacon or ham into very small pieces and brown them gently in a small saucepan in about 15g of butter. Add the onion, the carrot and the celery, all finely chopped. When they have browned, put in the raw minced beef, and then turn it over and over so that it all browns evenly. Add the chopped chicken livers, and after two or three minutes the tomato puree, and then the white wine. Season with salt (taking into account the relative saltiness of the ham or bacon), pepper, and a scraping of nutmeg, and add the meat stock or water.

    Cover the pan and simmer the sauce very gently for 30-40 minutes. Some cooks in Bologna add a cupful of cream or milk to the sauce, which makes it smoother. Another traditional variation is the addition of the ovarine or unlaid eggs which are found inside the hen, especially in the spring when the hens are laying. They are added at the same time as the chicken livers and form small golden globules when the sauce is finished. When the ragu is to be served with spaghetti or tagliatelle, mix it with the hot pasta in a heated dish so that the pasta is thoroughly impregnated with the sauce, and add a generous piece of butter before serving. Hand the grated cheese round separately.

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  • 5. At 11:24am on 08 Dec 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    Yes, chicken livers add a great flavour to a lot of things - but only free range, please!

    I have a good casserole recipe (which I invented) using liver, with sausages and bacon. It's not difficult, but the secret is in using orange juice which helps cut through the sourness of the liver. Other ingredients include beans and potatoes. Inspired by Spanish recipes.

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  • 6. At 11:28am on 08 Dec 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    Sorry, that comment of mine at 5 sounded awfully smug.

    I think a pilgrimage to Canterbury on my knees is called for.

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  • 7. At 11:31am on 08 Dec 2008, citizenthompson wrote:

    Surely a pilgrimage to "Liver"-pool would be more appropriate Big Sis?...
    Sorry... I'll get my coat.

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  • 8. At 11:45am on 08 Dec 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    CT: It'll take me long enough to get to Canterbury .....


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  • 9. At 11:52am on 08 Dec 2008, linnhelass wrote:

    Years ago I was very fond of sweetbreads, but it's impossible to buy them now. I ate them in a French restaurant in the summer and they were superb!
    Delia has a great recipe for lambs' kidneys cooked in red wine. It's not always easy to buy these, but we can eat a delicious meal for less that £1 for two.

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  • 10. At 11:54am on 08 Dec 2008, linnhelass wrote:

    Sorry! Last post should read "less than".

    Forgot to mention chicken livers. Cheap and brilliant!

    Never came to terms with tripe though.
    Any recipes that might persuade me?

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  • 11. At 12:00pm on 08 Dec 2008, Big Sister wrote:


    Again, it is the Spanish who are good with tripe. They tend to cook it with belly of pork, chorizo and chickpeas, with paprika. It is delicious.

    I'm sure you'll find it if you enter key words into a search engine.

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  • 12. At 12:20pm on 08 Dec 2008, AliceInSunderland wrote:

    Pickled eggs and tripe. Yummy!

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  • 13. At 12:32pm on 08 Dec 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Lambs' hearts casserole. You treat the lambs' hearts as you would treat lumps of beef, but tenderise them first by cutting them in half or quarters and soaking them overnight in water with a tablespoon of vinegar per pint in it.

    Ox-heart too makes good stew, and ox-heart too is improved by soaking with vinegar overnight.

    Both very tasty.

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  • 14. At 12:36pm on 08 Dec 2008, Anne P. wrote:

    "local butcher" - endangered species - no such thing in our area, only supermarkets.

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  • 15. At 12:41pm on 08 Dec 2008, Fearless Fred wrote:

    I remember having kidney in yorkshire pudding batter as a kid, and loving it :-) I think my parents still do their pasties with steak and kidney as well....

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  • 16. At 12:43pm on 08 Dec 2008, radio4pam wrote:

    Especially when a student I used to make "Pauper's Duck" by cooking ox heart until tender in my pressure cooker (thus economising on the cost of the fuel required for the necessary lengthy cooking) then filling the cavity with a home-made orange stuffing and braising in orange juice and stock/ cider/ water as available. When thinly sliced and served with the sauce, roast potatoes and a watercress salad it was indistinguishable from duck. Or nearly.

    I was once told that a lot of duck in Chinese restaurants has a similar origin but this could be just racist tripe...

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  • 17. At 1:06pm on 08 Dec 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    Can I add oxtail to this mix? Slow cooked, in the traditional way (or with the help of a pressure cooker, to speed things up), with onion, carrots, celery and - indispensably - pearl barley. It is one of my favourite meals (though SO won't touch it, so you can guess how often I get to eat it).

    Still, he's away for a few days this week, so I might just nip down to the butchers ....

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  • 18. At 1:28pm on 08 Dec 2008, Stewart_M wrote:

    I like Foie Gras. Washed down with a glass of Monbazzilac.

    Does that count as offlal?

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  • 19. At 1:39pm on 08 Dec 2008, gossipmistress wrote:

    Ew! Can't eat offal, too much like surgery. Foie gras's just diseased liver to me Stewart (18) sorry!!

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  • 20. At 3:09pm on 08 Dec 2008, annasee wrote:

    I'm afraid I'm with GM on this one. Although I'm all for economical shopping and use of food, I cannot bring myself to cook any form of offal. Did when I was a student, but not since I grew up.

    And, (at the risk of making sensitive readers throw up), since giving birth and being shown the placenta (not that I wanted to look, but it's one of those educational moments you just can't seem to avoid) there's no way I would ever deal with liver again...

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  • 21. At 3:26pm on 08 Dec 2008, citizenthompson wrote:

    Does Placenta count as offal. I believe it goes nicely with Fava beans and a nice Chianti, fffffffff........

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  • 22. At 6:23pm on 08 Dec 2008, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Hugh Fearnley-Wossisname cooks placenta. Or did once, for the telly.

    Isn't Chris Beardshaw a presenter? Very familiar name...

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  • 23. At 5:47pm on 23 Jan 2009, vskier2000 wrote:

    "And I don't mean the theory without the practise".

    Oh Please. Don't you know that the noun has a 'c', whereas the verb takes an 's'? Thus . . . . . 'practice'. What is going on? Can no-one remember basic grammar or spelling anymore?

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