Offal also called variety meats or organ meats is the entrails and internal organs of a butchered animal. The word does not refer to a particular list of organs, but includes most internal organs other than muscles or bones.
The history of offal recipes dates back prior to supermarkets and butcher shops when families butchered and processed their own animals while wasting no meat. Offal, with its smooth, velvety texture and mild flavour, was a particular delicacy that could be cooked in a variety of ways: boiled, fried, breaded, broiled, stewed, sautéed, poached, or grilled.
Today, offal recipes are often used as an entrée, appetizer, salad ingredient, or sausage. Though its name may be misleading, it’s a healthy, nutrient-rich meat with great versatility for a number of different recipes.
Because organ meats do not have the resilient texture of muscles, they can be delicate to work with and may fall apart easily. Most offal is boiled (blanched) first – add salt, vinegar, or lemon juice to the water for a mild flavour. A thin skin may need to be removed after boiling. If the meat is fresh, soak it in cold water for several hours prior to boiling to remove any traces of blood and create a milder flavour. Consider adding thin slices or small dices of vegetables to the meat to create a more balanced dish or serve with complementary sauces.