It's a perfectly dreary day on the shores of Leech Lake and I have been inside all day with a couple 6 year old girls and my 4 year old son. Not a whole lot to do, but luckily my wife was thinking ahead and brought a craft box and some games for us all to play. After braiding everyone a paracord bracelet and playing some letter sequence everyone is down for a nap and I have a few moments to think about what I want to do. It is raining and there is a steady 25 mile per hour wind out of the west so unless I want to get wet and frustrated, fishing is out of the question. So I poured myself a glass of bourbon and thought I would write a blog post.
I have been saving this one for a rainy day and here it is, Pickled Duck Gizzards. If there is one thing that I usually have on hand in the freezer it is duck gizzards. My friends usually save all of them for me and I end up with several large bags of duck gizzards. In the past I have used them to make confit and I made some decent spring rolls with them as well. I was thinking about how else to use them and was listening to the Meateater Podcast and heard Steve Rinella talk about pickling gizzards so I gave it a shot.
There isn't a whole lot of info out there on how to pickle a gizzard so I kind of had to make this up as I went. I had made Pickled deer heart a while back and figured I could use a similar technique for the gizzards. the only different is that gizzards if not cooked correctly can turn into small little meat rocks as hard as a golf ball. I ended up simmering these gizzards for almost two hours to make them tender. I served them up with some of my pickled pike and a radish and kohlrabi quick pickled. Paired with some crusty bread and some whole grain mustard it made for a nice afternoon snack.
for the cooking liquid I used
4 cups water
1 sprig rosemary
1 small bunch of thyme
5 juniper berries (crushed with the side of a knife)
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons of salt
1 tsp black peppercorns
Simmer the gizzards in the cooking liquid for about 2 hours or until they are tender.
for the pickling liquid
1 1/2 cups of apple cider vinegar
1 tsp black peppercorns
10-12 allspice berries
2 tablespoons honey
4 juniper berries
2 cloves of garlic
bring the cider vinegar and remaining four ingredients to a boil, while that is cooking place the gizzards into a 1 pint jar with 1/4 of a thinly sliced red onion, 1 sprig of rosemary and 2 sprigs of thyme. Pour the hot liquid in to the jar and seal. boil in a water bath for 10 minutes. Let the mixture sit for a couple of days before diving in.
Depending on how many gizzards you have you may need to use multiple jars if so just double the pickling liquid.