As the weather gets warmer, more opportunities to entertain arise. But with all the parties of the season hosted by numerous people, how do you get your event to stand out? A killer menu with familiar and traditional but uncommon dishes will definitely do the job. I like to offer an all-encompassing selection of world foods when I entertain, and one of my favorites to serve is peppered gizzards.
As the name implies, the dish is made with chicken gizzards that are cooked in a spicy sauce. The gizzard organ is present in all birds, and its purpose is to grind food to a pulp to extract all the nutrients from the feed for easy absorption by the bird (like teeth in most animals). Because this organ works overtime, it is often muscular with several rows of roughened surfaces and is covered with a tough, yellowish layer designed to protect the bird from stones and other potentially dangerous substances.
Chicken gizzards are nutritionally dense and are healthier than fattier cuts of beef or pork and are rich in protein and packed with zinc, iron and vitamin B12. Together, these nutrients aid a healthy immune system and help us to better fight off disease. The drawback to chicken gizzards is that they also are relatively high in cholesterol, and as such, should be eaten only occasionally to get the best health benefits.
Gizzards are very popular in world cuisine and can be prepared numerous ways such as stewed, fried, grilled or roasted and can be served with anything from soups to salads. Gizzards also are popular in African culture, particularly in Nigeria, where they are served as part of “small chops.” My rendition of this Nigerian classic results in a sweet, spicy and savory dish. Peppered gizzards make for a wonderful appetizer and are served with tiny skewers to pick up the individual pieces of meat. I like to serve the dish with chilled white wine or a glass of cold beer.
What You Need
1.5 lbs cleaned Chicken Gizzards
3 Roasted red bell peppers
4 Habanero peppers (or Scotch Bonnets)
1 Medium red onion
5 cloves Garlic
3 inches fresh Ginger
1/2 cup Peanut Oil
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Thyme Leaves (Afrofood brand preferable)
2 tablespoons Beef Bouillon
Rinse gizzards and place in a pot with 1/4 chopped red onions (2/3 cup), 2 cloves of garlic (chopped), thyme and beef bouillon. Combine well with hand making sure the meat is completely mixed with the ingredients. Cover with just enough water and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes. Drain liquid into separate dish and save for later.
In a blender combine red bell peppers, 3/4 onion, habanero peppers, ginger and garlic. Blend for a short time to ensure a puree with a light chunky consistency. Set aside.
In a large sauce pan over medium heat, place oil and heat till hot. Add cooked gizzards and stir until seared completely, about 2 minutes. Add pepper puree and 1 tbsp bouillon. Stir and cook over low/medium for 20 minutes.
Check sauce after 20 minutes, add brown sugar and reserved liquid from gizzards. Stir and taste for seasoning. Cook for additional 20 minutes.
Watch the video for additional steps.
Yetunde “Yeti” Ezeanii is the founder of AFROFOODTV.COM – an online resource for everything epicuriously African. She is the creator and host of the culinary TV show “A Taste of Africa”. She is also the founder of AfroFood Spices – a line of gourmet spices developed to bring the exotic flavours of African cuisine to all kitchens.