Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Gizzards 'n' Sprouts

Once each autumn a great scouring wind swoops down and rips off the last of the leaves. On that day I find it particularly difficult to control the urge to cackle and steal small children. I distracted myself today by fixing a wickedly delicious witch's luncheon: maple-glazed chicken gizzards and brussels sprouts. Supper, of course, will be soup in a cauldron, with chicken feet bubbling out.

Wash ¼ lb. chicken gizzards and cut into bite-size chunks. Sprinkle with salt. Peal the outer leaves from 8 brussels sprouts and cut in half. Core and dice one crisp, tart apple (like the dusty-red cameos everybody's been overlooking at the store).

Heat a large skillet and fry 2 slices bacon till crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan and let it drain while you cook up the other things. Brown the gizzards in the bacon fat, peppering well. Add the brussels sprouts and a quarter cup of water, cover, and let steam a bit. Remove the cover and let the liquid cook down. The sprouts will soak up that savory bacon fat on their cut sides. When the sprouts are just a bit too firm to eat, add the apple, another splash of water, and several tablespoons of maple syrup. Cover again, just to soften the apples a tad, and then uncover and let the liquid cook down to a syrup again. Spoon the sprouts 'n' gizzards into a dish, crumble the bacon overtop, and pour the pan juices over it all (said pan juices will accumulate in the bottom of your dish. You will want a slice of crusty bread for sopping).

This dish has marvelously assertive textures: the gizzards spring, the apples split, the sprouts crunch, and the bacon crackles. Whee-hee-hee, my pretty.

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