I like when I can figure out how to take a maligned category of game meat and turn it into something presentable that even a picky eater might enjoy. So, when I shot my first buffleheads last season, I was immediately thinking of things to try. Many people turn their noses up at both divers and offal and that is a shame. Those people are wrong and should be shown the error of their ways. A little prep and you can make a side or an appetizer that is likely to appease anybody.
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Offal Dirty Rice
At least 4 diver duck gizzards, cut into quarters
At least 4 duck hearts
2 or more duck livers
½ cup long grain wild rice
1 cup water plus more for brine
1 small onion, diced
1/3 cup bacon grease or enough to cover the bottom of the skillet
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp basil
Coarse kosher salt
4 tbsp Italian bread crumbs
- Mix a few tbsp of the kosher salt in a non-reactive container and add organs.
- Brine for up to 2 hours. Change the water after one hour.
- Rinse and dry organs as well as possible. Heat bacon grease over medium heat.
- Chop organs into small chunks and add to grease. Saute for 3 minutes.
- Add diced onion and saute another 3 minutes.
- Add rice, seasonings, and water. Bring to a simmer. Cook until rice is done. Stir occasionally.
- Remove mixture to a bowl and add breadcrumbs. Mix well. Adjust seasonings to taste. The mixture should mold easily and should not be dry and crumbly.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Form mixture into approx. 1-inch balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Serve with dipping sauce. Spicy and/or mustard-based works great.