Miscellaneous Variety Meats
blood Notes: Asian markets carry this. Europeans use it to make blood pudding, while Filipinos use it to make dinuguan, a stew. brains Notes: Even adventurous eaters often draw the line at brains, and it's just as well, since they're loaded with cholesterol. Those who do eat them often scramble them with eggs. It's very important that brains be fresh, so either cook them or freeze them the day you buy them. Substitutes: sweetbreads (Brains and sweetbreads can be used interchangeably in most recipes, but brains aren't as well regarded.)
sweetbreads Notes: Sweetbreads are the soft and delectable thymus glands of calves and lambs. Though it's hard to get fussy teenagers to eat them, there are enough knowledgeable gourmets clamoring for sweetbreads to keep the price fairly high. Freshness is very important--you should plan on preparing them the day you buy them or else freezing them. Like other organ meats, sweetbreads are high in cholesterol. Substitutes: brains (Brains and sweetbreads can be used interchangeably in most recipes, but brains aren't as well regarded.)
testicles = animelles = fry Notes: The most popular seem to be bull testicles = Rocky Mountain oysters = bollocks = swinging beef = Montana tendergroin = bull balls = huevos del toro, but those from smaller, younger animals are reputed to have a milder flavor. Well regarded are lamb testicles = lamb fry = lamb fries = lamb balls, and calf fry = calf balls = calf testicles. Hispanic markets are a good source.
tongue Notes: Cooked tongue is lean, meaty, and quite versatile; it works well in sandwiches, tacos, and casseroles. To prepare it, boil it in a stockpot, then plunge it in cold water and peel off the skin and trim the base of gristle and fat. You can then cut it into thin slices and serve it hot or cold. Since beef tongue = ox tongue and calf's tongue = calf tongue = veal tongue are larger and easier to slice, they tend to be pricier. Many markets also carry lamb tongue (pictured at left) and pork tongue. Different tongues can be used interchangeably in recipes though their cooking times vary according to their size.
tripe Notes: Tripe is the name given to the stomachs of various animals, but most recipes that call for it intend for you to use beef tripe. Cows have four stomachs, and the first three yield merchantable tripe. Blanket tripe = plain tripe = flat tripe = smooth tripe comes from the first stomach, honeycomb tripe (pictured at left) and pocket tripe from the second, and book tripe = bible tripe = leaf tripe from the third. Honeycomb tripe is meatier and more tender than the other kinds and considered to be the best, but all these kinds of tripe can be used interchangeably in recipes. Tripe is almost always sold bleached and partially cooked. This saves a lot of work, since unprocessed tripe would need to be cooked for many, many hours to make it tender enough to chew.
Copyright © 1996-2005 Lori Alden