This braised chicken gizzards recipe includes cumin, ground annatto seeds or bija, and a blend of onions, garlic and herbs. A delicious treat for the adventurous palate. Easy print recipe included at the end.
Dominican cuisine includes an array of foods considered unusual in certain countries: chicken feet, pig ear, cow’s tongue, guts. It is the uncommon textures that makes them an interesting eating experience. Growing up near the countryside in the Dominican Republic, my mom often needed to cook a whole chicken to feed our big family. Stoves with ovens were less common, so meats were regularly braised.
Back when the Dominican meat industry had not resorted to mass production and animals were raised in free-roaming farms, whole chickens were regularly sold alive in the market. When my dad brought home a live chicken, the ritual was always the same: kill the bird, dip it in hot water so the feathers could be plucked, then cut it and prepare it for cooking. No part of the chicken went to waste for ambitious Dominican cooks, save for the head: guts would be used for “mondongo”, and the rest could be braised. This is also the case in places like China, although just like in the DR, not everyone likes to eat those parts.
The hierarchy of chicken parts
While in the U.S.A. the breasts are the most used and therefore expensive part of the chicken, back in the Dominican Republic, drumsticks and thighs are most everyone’s favorites. This may have something to do with dark meat tasting better when braised. As the head of the family, my dad would always get the drumsticks, while everybody else got to fight it out for the other parts, which were always cut into small portions. My mother loved the feet, or maybe that is all she got to eat after feeding a big family. To access the coveted gizzard and the heart before anyone else, I learned to hang out in the kitchen and fish my treasures out before the food made it to the table.
Fast-forward to today and I am shopping for greens at Whole Foods. What’s better than running into a pack of chicken gizzards? Running into a pack of free range, vegetarian-fed, organic chicken gizzards! Needless to say I grabbed them and came home happy as a clam. It is likely that nobody else will enjoy chicken gizzards in my household as much as I do, but that just means more for me. Enjoy!
- 2 lbs. chicken gizzards
- 1 teaspoon ground annatto seeds (bija or achiote)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 4 crushed and chopped garlic cloves
- 1 sliced red or white onion
- ¼ bunch of cilantro, chopped
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of canola oil
- 1 cup of water
- On a medium to large sauce pan, add the oil and allow to warm on medium high heat.
- Add the garlic and the onions and stir until onions are almost transparent.
- Add the chicken gizzards and stir.
- Add the cumin, annatto seeds, cilantro and salt, distributing them equally around.
- Stir and add the water.
- Cover and simmer on medium heat for 25 minutes.
- Uncover and taste. Add more salt if needed.
- Serve with your favorite rice dish and salad.