Organ Meat Recipes

Yesterday, we walked you through the basics of organ meats. We thought we’d follow that up by giving you the opportunity to put this new knowledge to work with some traditional recipes that include organ offerings.

Take your pick from these tasty choices, and have an offal dinner….

Bon Appetit!

Sweetbread Salad

Bored of chicken salad and can’t stomach another can of tuna? Considering using sweetbreads in your next batch!

0.75 to 1lb veal sweetbread
2 cups celery, diced
2 cups apple, cored and diced
4 tbsp mayonnaise (extra credit if you make your own)
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt. Add in sweetbreads and allow them to remain there for ten minutes. Remove from hot water and lay in a shallow dish filled with iced water (this will allow them to whiten). Once entirely cold, cook them again for 15 minutes in salted boiling water. Pat dry with a clean cloth and return to the salad dish until they are completely cold and crisp. Use a knife to cut them into smaller-than-bite sized chunks. Place in a small bowl and add celery and apple. Add in mayonnaise and mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve atop a salad of mixed greens and tomatoes. Serves 4.

Nutrition Analysis:
All nutrition information provided by

Calories: 246.5
Fat: 13.6 grams (49% calories from fat)
Carbs: 11 grams (16% calories from carbs)
Protein: 20 grams (34% calories from protein)

Sautéed Kidneys in Red Wine Sauce

Easy to make, but impressive to eat! This kidney recipe tastes rich and is super healthy!

1 lb lamb kidneys
¼ cup wine vinegar
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
½ medium onion, finely diced
1 cup mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
¼ cup red wine
Salt and pepper to taste

To prepare kidneys for cooking, first rinse and pat dry. With a sharp knife, remove the outside membrane, cut in half, and remove any white fat and tubes from center. Place in the bottom of a medium bowl, cover with cold water and ¼ cup of wine vinegar. Let soak for half and hour. Remove from solution, rinse and pat dry. Set aside. In a skillet, melt the butter and oil and lightly brown the kidneys. Remove and set aside. Next, add the onion and mushrooms to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until onion becomes near translucent. Add the wine and cook for another minute or so. Return kidneys to pan, heat through and serve immediately with mixed vegetables. Serves 4.

Nutrition Analysis:
Calories: 244
Fat: 16 grams (59% calories from fat)
Carbs: 4.7 grams (8% calories from carbs)
Protein: 18.8 grams (33% calories from protein)

Liver with Lemon Thyme

This simple recipe takes the guess work out of preparing liver and is a delicious way to introduce liver into your dinner rotation.

1 lb calves liver
2 tablespoon olive oil
10 sprigs fresh lemon thyme, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

While calves liver is generally available pre-sliced in most grocery stores, if you do find yourself dealing with a whole liver, first rinse it and pat dry. Then, with a sharp knife, remove any exposed veins, ducts or connective tissue. Next, use your fingers to remove the thin outer membrane, being careful not to tear the liver itself. From there, slice the liver into about ¼ inch thick slices. Rinse again and pat dry. Next, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the fresh thyme to the pan, then lay the liver on top. Cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes, then flip and cook on other side. The liver should be eaten slightly pink, so take care not to overcook as it can make the liver tough. Season with salt and pepper as desired and serve. Serves 4.

Nutrition Analysis:

Calories: 275
Fat: 12.7 grams (41% calories from fat)
Carbs: 5.7 grams (8% calories from carbs)
Protein: 32.7 grams (51% calories from protein)

Further Reading:

MDA’s Quick Guide to Purchasing, Preparing and Eating Organ Meats

Eggs are Good For You!

The Definitive Guide to Cholesterol

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15 thoughts on “Organ Meat Recipes”

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  1. I’ve eaten much liver all my life but never knew the nutriton value, that’s pleasantly surprising to me!- Nice Recipes!

  2. I bought half a bison carcass in the fall. But the other buyer didn’t want any of the organ meat, so I got a huge windfall. I especially love liver, but refuse to eat the stuff that comes from conventional farming. So it’s a real treat to have all this high quality meat in the freezer. I dole the slices of liver out every couple weeks so that it will last. I share it with my four year old daughter who also loves it. Luckily, my wife can’t stand it (more for me). 🙂

    Thanks for the recipe ideas. I was wondering what to do with the kidneys. I also have the heart. Any recipes for that?


  3. Adam:

    I’ve seen heart stuffed and roasted, much like a turkey.

  4. I used to read this book all the time growing up, and every so often I look through it again with new eyes. One suggestion of hers that’s always stuck with me: Grind or have ground half hamburger, half heart. Extra juicy, for burgers or anything else!

    (As I recall, the book also had a lot of sensible things to say about soaking and sprouting grains. Of course it was full of the “healthy grain” mindset, but it sticks out in my memory thanks to the author’s obvious love for meat and organ meats, with great emphasis on their nutritional value.)

  5. It`s funny reading this. The fact that you look at animal organs as something ‘weird’ to eat. I’m from Europe and everything that you wrote about here are eaten on a regular basis, and I mean everything. The brain is actually considered a delicatessen.

    Oh, and.. by the way, there are some organs you missed out 😛

    Love the blog, keep up the good work.

  6. I braised a pork heart tonight. It was my first time trying heart and it turned out great. Gonna go buy more tomorrow.

  7. Nice one! I love liver, actually I´m the only one in the house that eats it. I love It!

  8. Thanks much for the recipes 🙂

    I just ordered elk heart, kidneys, liver and sweetbreads. Can’t wait!

  9. I just tried beef kidney for the first time. Oh yum! I followed a recipe from Fergus Henderson’s book, The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail. Somewhat similar to this recipe, but with dijon mustard and creme fraiche added at the end.

    I love liver. Looking forward to trying sweetbread next.

  10. Your kidney in red wine recipe is delicious! We had two lambs butchered and as usual, struggling to figure out how to cook the organs…

  11. Tried kidney recipe today for dinner. Very good. I think you need to add some cooking times to your recipe, or at least a picture of the final dish. “Lightly browned” is arbitrary, and also kidneys tend to “bleed” during cooking and that may scare some people off and compel them to overcook. Loved the recipe, thanks!

  12. Just a quick question- I know that organ meats are extremely nutritious, but I grew up with very limited (and not very pleasant. Horrifying, actually.) experience with liver and kidneys. So as an adult, I’m more than a little apprehensive about trying them- especially the sweetbreads.

    So can anyone tell me what this all tastes like? Are the flavors of kidneys, liver, and sweetbreads comparable to anything more common?

    1. Sweetbreads (usually thymus but sometimes pancreas) are the easiest organ meat – not terribly nutritious which, in my experience equals not strong tasting.

      Sweetbreads are super mild – they truly taste like mcdonalds chicken mcnuggets.

  13. I love lamb’s kidneys and every recipe I have read says the fat white bits and tubes have to be removed from the centre, but I can’t find an article that explains why . Can you tell me why they should be removed? To be perfectly honest, I think the texture of these enhances the kidneys.