I grew up eating chicken gizzards so the idea of eating them now doesn't even phase me. Whenever I am lucky enough to see them on a menu I usually order them. I do realize though that most people won't eat them and I absolutely understand why. They are, to put it delicately, oddly chewy. When you remove a gizzard from a bird it is hard and dense like no other piece of meat. It is just meat though, most people don't seem to understand that. All a gizzard is, is a dense muscle used in digestion nothing else. When cleaned and ready to use they are actually kind of pretty, like little jewels with a dark red inside and a shimmery white outside.
Whenever possible I always save the gizzards from the ducks and geese that I shoot so that I can use them later. My good friend Eric Passe always saves his as well so by the end of the duck season I have a large supply of duck gizzards. I love using them and trying to find new things to do with them. I have been making corned duck gizzards a lot and honestly you would never be able to tell the difference in flavor between them and corned beef. I was reading through one of my cookbooks, Le Pigeon is a book by Gabriel Rucker and is full of incredible recipes. One of those recipes was for duck nuggets, basically duck confit that has been shaped into a nugget and then fried. I have confit'd gizzards before so this just made sense.
This might seem like a lot of work but really it isn't that much and you can make enough to put into the freezer and have for later as well. The hardest part was trying to figure out what to call it. It is basically a rillette that has been stuffed into a 1 1/2 inch casing and then put in the fridge to set. Then I sliced one inch pieces and breaded and fried them. Really not that complicated, and totally worth it. They were amazing and I imagine would have gone great with any kind of dipping sauce. I went with Maple mustard and a rhubarb chutney.
Fried Duck Gizzard Rillette's
2 lbs duck gizzards cleaned and trimmed
1/4 cup kosher salt
3 bay leaves, crumbled
1 small bunch of thyme
3 gloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 tsp crushed black pepper
enough duck fat to cover
1. clean and dry the gizzards and then mix together the salt and other ingredients and cover the gizzards completely with the salt mixture. Let the gizzards sit for 24-48 hours in the fridge.
2. Rinse the gizzards and dry them, then place them in a heavy oven proof pot and cover with duck fat.
3. cook the gizzards in duck fat at 200 degrees for 8-10 hours or until the gizzards shred easily.
4. shred the gizzards and add some of the duck fat into the shredded gizzards about a 1/2 cup.
5. stuff the shredded mixture into 1 1/2 in paper casings or if you don't have paper casings you could just form the nuggets by hand. You want to make sure the nuggets are chilled in the fridge so they will hold together well.
6. dredge the nuggets in flour then in egg was and finally in breadcrumbs and fry at 350 degrees until golden brown. Serve and Enjoy