Fried guts

I know I am not pregnant, but while I was browsing the net tonight my tongue suddenly filled, out of the blue, with a familiar food taste: fried goat or sheep organs and intestines. Oh, God, I missed (true) Greek food so much. There is no way I can find such animal parts here in the US to cook something like this (I am afraid that I might even get jailed for asking a butcher where to find such animal parts). The vast majority of people don’t even eat goat meat here, let alone its guts.

I remember how my mother prepares them very well. My uncle (or occasionally my father) would slaughter and skin the free-range goat from his own herd (he’s got over 200 goats), my aunt who doesn’t like cooking this involving recipe much would bring the guts to my mother (who doesn’t mind it) within the hour, and then we would share the final outcome.

My mother would find a 40cm length, 1 cm width, stick/branch from a tree, clean it up to make it straight and then she would pull the branch into the intestines to turn them inside-out. The branch is a very good trick to turn intestines inside-out, because it’s imperative they are cleaned well with lots of cold water on the inside, because it’s their inside part that’s mostly dirty (as this is where food goes to become poo in the animal). I can’t explain it how the branch turns the small intestine inside-out, but it does, you have to try it to see it for yourself. You also clean up well with lots of cold water the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs and spleen. Remove any parts that are not directly part of the organs. If you see discoloration or weird spots on some of the organs, you throw away either the entire organ, or you clean it up very well by removing these cancerous parts (yes, sometimes goats and sheep have cancer).

Then, you put them all to boil in a big pan, uncovered. In the first few minutes that they will start to boil, floating blood will come out of them (it will look gray, not red), and you need to use a spoon to remove the blood from the boiling pan. After a while, no blood comes out anymore. You remove the water, you put new, clean water in the pan, and you boil again. Boil for 30 mins, and then you throw that water away too. You change the water yet once more if the animal is old (older animals are more smelly than young ones). For the final water change, you add new cold water, you boil again, but this time you cover. You let the guts cook for over 1.5 hours (much less if you have a pressure cooker). Then, you remove the water again, and you let the guts get cold so you don’t burn your fingers while carrying out the next step.

You take a knife and you cut all the guts in small pieces, about 1″ in size (2-3cm). You put lots of olive oil in a big frying pan, you add your guts in there (you probably will need to fry twice, as a full goat’s guts won’t fit in a single frying session), you add lots of oregano, some salt & pepper, and you fry until they become dark in color and rigid. You add 1/5 cup of lemon juice on each of the frying sessions and you fry for 2-3 more minutes.

Then, they are ready to eat, usually with home-made French fries (also with oregano and salt on them). It’s a lot of work to properly clean and prepare this recipe, but it’s yummy, yummy, yummy. Another way to cook the intestines instead of boiling/frying them is to rotisserie them on a horizontal stick, just like this (press enter on the URL to view image). This is called “Kokoretsi” and you can ask for this dish on most grill houses in Greece.

As for the stomach of the goat, we keep that aside, along with some of the intestines, to make a soup called “patsas“. Another favorite of mine. My mother makes one of the best patsas ever in an avgolemono-like recipe (as in my recipe on the link, but with no rice or chicken, but with lots of garlic and the rest of the technique as described there).

Regardless, they are lovely animals too, not just tasty. Sheep are my favorite animals, but goats are really smart.

8 Comments »

memsom wrote on February 19th, 2008 at 7:02 AM PST:

Offal is the word you need. That’s the parts of the animal that aren’t usually eaten.

I know this is stating the blindingly obvious, but try a Halal butcher.


jeff wrote on February 19th, 2008 at 8:24 AM PST:

welcome to the first world!


Jim wrote on February 19th, 2008 at 11:09 AM PST:

I was raising rabbits for food when my kids were little and unbeknown to me, my daughters had adopted certain baby rabbits
and esp my middle daughter, so the first buthering came and I filled the sink full of “4 legged chickens” which my daughter discovered was her pet and to this day she says she traumatized
and will never let me forget it. I ate the rabbits alone and they were very good and this daughter is almost 30.
In my book “Wax Poetic (rumblings from my head)” I wrote a chapter on 3 Commandments for the 21st Century, the 2nd commandment is: “Never have a pet you can’t eat”
I think fried guts sounds great and if I make it to Greece in my life, I will be sure and eat some, thank you for pointing this out because I would have missed the experience, I also like to write songs about sheep, my next CD will be a country CD called “Sheepless in Seattle”
the title of course refers to me being born and living in Seattle. Besides the title song with the line “they don’t ask you where you been, when you’re skin still reeks of lanolin” the other sheep song is called “Montana Sheepherder (it gets lonely out there)”
In the USA we sure love our inflatable sheep


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Eugenia wrote on February 19th, 2008 at 2:08 PM PST:

>welcome to the first world!

Too bad that you will die of starvation because you wouldn’t know how to survive should a crisis or war happens.


Brendan wrote on February 19th, 2008 at 3:41 PM PST:

good on you.

if you are going to kill an animal to eat it the least you can do is eat all of it. i was told that you can eat/use pretty much all of a pig. i think it’s disrespectful to throw parts of an animal away – ive know people that only eat the ‘white’ meat off a chicken. people can’t handle that meat comes from animals – look how supermarkets package meat – gone are the animal heads from butchers – they might offend people 😉 i dunno what they think they are eating..!


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Eugenia wrote on February 19th, 2008 at 3:55 PM PST:

Exactly. Nothing should go to waste from the moment you decide to butcher an animal for food. It’s like killing an elephant for its teeth only. It’s indeed disrespectful.


memson wrote on February 20th, 2008 at 7:47 AM PST:

Rabbit is pretty crappy meat. It has little of the nutrients humans require. Rabbit starvation is an issue one comes across on an almost exclusive Rabbit meat diet.

Having said that, Rabbits are easy to come by; most butchers sell them in this country. You’d also get goat meat fairly easily. Eugenia, have you tried a Carribean butcher? Goat is a popular Jamaican dish.


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Eugenia wrote on February 20th, 2008 at 4:28 PM PST:

I like rabbit. My grandfather in law has a great recipe for it.


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