Free Range Lamb Heart
Some people like meat. Some people don’t. Some people think Garden Eats is a vegetarian or vegan website. We promote both, but greater than that, we hope to inspire ethical eating overall. Whether we are meat eaters or not, we know many of you are. And, with that being said, we are happy to review chef and popular author, Jennifer McLagan’s, Odd Bits: How To Cook The Rest Of The Animal.
When Magnus Mumby and I first became acquainted several years ago, he prepared delicious recipes for us that called for “every last part.” That is, the skins, leaves, roots, legs, necks and hearts of the ingredients being used. Magnus commented on how surprised he was at how many Americans throw away “perfectly flavorful and nutritious elements of food.” I agreed about how much nonsensical food waste we produce here in the states. Growing up Italian, my grandmothers prepared pig hocks, pig ears and tripe- these were considered family delicacies (and my father’s favorite dishes). Cooking with these parts was practical and economical.. and last time I checked, still is.
O D D B I T S
McLagan writes to help quell the cook’s shyness about preparing the odd bits leftover after satisfying the needs of a recipe. We chose to review McLagan’s book for its practicality and respect for the whole animal. If one chooses to eat meat, we think it’s only ethical to utilize every last edible inch of the animal. McLagan not only takes care to help us understand why this is important, but how to make it easy and economical in the kitchen.
McLagan’s recipes are approachable. I’ll bet they’re also dishes or cuts of meat that were laid on the dinner table you dined at in your youth. What do I say one can do with the roots, seeds, skins and stems? Soup of course! And, for all of those extra or currently unusual-to-you odd bits- stew! The food therapy elements of a hearty stew cannot be denied whether one eats meats or not. Rich in iron, phosphorus, immune enhancing compounds from the marrow (neutrophils from AKG), calcium and other minerals, stews provide stable protein and nutritive levels of polyunsaturated fats. If cooking with marrow is a new concept to you, not to worry, McLagan happily includes the section, “Getting To Know The Marrow.”
I’m not suggesting you go out and make hot dogs with all of your parts, but do consider giving the nose-to-tail style of cooking McLagan promotes a try…
To inspire the more sustainable meat eater in you, Jennifer is giving away one copy of her cook book.