21 Delicious Nose-to-Tail Recipes Using The Rest of the Animal

Livers and oxtails and entrails — oh my.

Eating offal, the often overlooked and undervalued organ meat, is not just a culinary choice but a nod to sustainability, tradition, and nutrition.

To embrace nose-to-tail eating is to honor the entire animal and reduce food waste. These often-forgotten cuts like liver, heart, and kidneys are packed with essential nutrients, adding depth to our diets that muscle meats can’t replicate alone.

These parts of the animal are frequently dirt cheap. As food costs continue rising and food shortages affect all, offal makes sense.

And while offal might seem intimidating to some, it’s essential to recognize its crucial role in connecting us to the origins of our food. As we explore the diverse world of offal, we find a treasure trove of flavors and textures that offer a rich and satisfying dining experience when prepared with care and respect.

The 20 recipes I will share are more than just a culinary journey; they’re your ticket to embracing and enjoying those often-intimidating organ meats. These recipes will help demystify offal and introduce you to a world of exciting flavors and textures. Whether it’s the rich, iron-packed profile of liver, the hearty taste of heart, or the unique savoriness of oxtail, these dishes will take you on a palate-pleasing adventure.

So, let go of any reservations and let these recipes serve as your gentle introduction to the beautiful world of offal. It’s a chance to expand your culinary horizons, reduce food waste, and discover the delicious potential of these often-overlooked cuts.

Simple Fish Stock & Soup

A bowl of ukha fish soup.
Photo Credit: The Peasant’s Daughter.

Take a whole fish, head and all, and use it to create a simple and delicious broth. Then add potatoes and vegetables to make this simple and versatile soup.

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Liver Dumpling Soup

A wooden bowl of traditional liver dumpling soup next to a basket of crusty bread.
Photo Credit: The Peasant’s Daughter.

Liver is one of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet, with significant amounts of iron, riboflavin, vitamin B12, vitamin A, and copper. Eating a single serving of liver can help you meet your daily recommended amount of most of these vitamins and minerals, reducing your risk of nutrient deficiency.

The liver is also one of the most intimidating organs to prepare and has a distinct taste, which is why this recipe for liver dumpling soup (passed down to me from a nearly 100-year-old German woman) is so good. This soup is mild and doesn’t taste liver-y, and children absolutely love it.

We serve this traditional European soup regularly; it’s a family favorite.

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European Oxtail Barley & Vegetable Soup

A bowl of oxtail soup with barley and vegetables.
Photo Credit: The Peasant’s Daughter.

Oxtail is a cow’s tail, not necessarily (nor usually) the tail of an ox. Once a poor man’s food, this delicious cut of meat has risen in popularity — and price.

Oxtail is full of collagen and requires a lengthy cooking time to break it down into a delicious and satisfying soup like this traditional European version with barley and veggies.

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Authentic Jamaican Oxtail Stew With Butterbeans

A bowl of authentic Jamaican oxtail stew with butterbeans, served alongside white rice in a bowl.
Photo Credit: The Peasant’s Daughter.

If you are looking for a show-stopper of a dish, then this authentic Jamaican oxtail stew with butterbeans is one you need to make. Packed with authentic Jamaican flavors and spices, this dish is cooked low and slow, bringing out the best of these fresh ingredients.

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Chicken Feet Bone Broth

A large glass jar full of golden chicken feet bone broth.
Photo Credit: The Peasant’s Daughter.

Easily make the most gelatinous and nourishing chicken feet bone broth on your stove or in your Instant Pot. This delicious stock can be sipped on its own or used to make soups, stews, and sauces. Try it in recipes like this golden glow soup, coq au vin, and more.

Chicken feet are about 70% collagen, making them a veritable treasure trove of this essential protein. Comprising bones, skin, and tendons, chicken feet hold no muscles but are rich in protein, calcium, collagen, and cartilage.

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Tagliatelle With Chicken Liver

An oval white platter of tagliatelle pasta with chicken livers.
Photo Credit: The Pasta Project.

This traditional tagliatelle with chicken livers from Emilia-Romagna is absolutely delicious, creamy, rich, and so easy to make!

Pasta with chicken livers is a classic dish throughout Italy, especially in Emilia-Romagna, where it’s traditionally served with tagliatelle. You can find tagliatelle with chicken livers on the menu in many traditional trattorias (Italian restaurants) in Bologna and the surrounding towns and villages.

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Oxtail Empanadas with Chimichurri Sauce

A plate full of oxtail empanadas with chimichurri sauce on the side.
Photo Credit: Chef’s Pencil.

These golden pockets of deliciousness are a marriage of rich, succulent oxtail meat and the comforting embrace of a flaky, golden crust. But wait, there’s more! The tangy chimichurri sauce adds a burst of vibrant herbs and spices that elevate each bite to a new level of yum.

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Smoked Beef Tongue Pastrami

A smoked beef tongue sliced and served on a wooden cutting board.
Photo Credit: Carne Diem.

Beef tongue is one of those foods that people never give a chance because it seems “too weird” or exotic to them. When cooked correctly, beef tongue can turn out tender and moist and is an often-overlooked part of the cow to cook. For this smoked cow tongue recipe, we brine/cure the tongue before smoking it and making a fantastic smoked beef tongue pastrami.

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AIP Beef Liver Pate

Creamy liver pate in a mason jar.
Photo Credit: The Honest Spoonful.

The AIP diet is short for the Autoimmune protocol diet, a nutrition plan to help people with autoimmune conditions lessen symptoms and improve their quality of life.

This beef liver pate fits that protocol. It is smooth, flavorful, and an excellent AIP liver pate for beginners. Liver can have a very strong, bitter flavor. This recipe has a lot of spices and aromatics to help temper that flavor but soaking the liver in milk will ensure that this recipe has no hint of bitterness.

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Grilled Elk Heart Tacos

Three grilled elk heart tacos drizzled with sauce on a plate.
Photo Credit: Peak to Plate.

If you’re apprehensive about eating heart — a cut that is both muscle meat and an organ — this is a great recipe to start because the meat is marinated in a very flavorful sauce and then made into tacos.

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Grilled Venison Heart Skewers (Easy Deer Heart Recipe)

Five deer heart skewers on a grey plate.
Photo Credit: Peak to Plate.

Speaking of heart, these grilled venison heart skewers are simple and flavorful.

Turn your venison heart into a delicious appetizer by marinating strips of deer heart in a flavorful Asian marinade and grilling them to perfection over an open flame. They’re tender, juicy, sweet, salty, and oh-so-delicious. 

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Chicken Liver Parfait – Pate

Chicken liver pate on toast served on white plates.
Photo Credit: Cooking Gorgeous.

Smooth Chicken Liver Parfait (or Pâté) with brandy is an elegant yet fuss-free dinner party starter and can be made up to three days in advance.

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Festive Chicken Liver Parfait

Chicken liver parfait in small glass jars topped with cranberry sauce.
Photo Credit: Savas Kitchen.

This festive chicken liver parfait made with chicken livers, apples, and warm spices, then topped with cranberry sauce, is the perfect finger food for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year holiday gatherings.

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Peppered Gizzard

Peppered chicken gizzard fry in a cast iron pan.
Photo Credit: Low Carb Africa.

You may balk at the thought of eating gizzard if you haven’t tasted it before. But don’t give up on it till you try it at least once.

What Is Chicken Gizzard? The gizzard is an organ found in the digestive tract of a chicken that helps it digest food. It is a tough muscle that grinds up the hard grains the chicken eats. This part of the chicken is usually consumed as a snack, appetizer, street food, or party food, in many parts of the world. In Nigeria, they are a popular food and a family favorite.

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Rosemary Chicken Hearts

A shallow white bowl full of cooked chicken hearts next to a sprig of rosemary.
Photo Credit: The Honest Spoonful.

This easy 5-ingredient Rosemary Chicken Hearts recipe is the perfect dish to try organ meats. The hearts are tender and delicious. It’s sure to win over even the most reluctant foodie.

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Quick and Spicy Peri Peri Chicken Livers

A white plate with peri peri spiced chicken livers.
Photo Credit: Krumpli.

Peri Peri Chicken livers are a quick, easy, and delicious way to cook liver in a beautiful spicy sauce all the way from South Africa.

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Devilled Kidneys on Toast

Saucy kidneys served on white toast.
Photo Credit: Krumpli.

Devilled kidneys on toast is a classic old-school British recipe featuring tender lamb kidneys in a mustard & Worcestershire sauce glaze.

This delicious recipe is not just quick, weighing in at a rapid 15-20 minutes, it is also wonderfully frugal too!

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Chicken Offal Fry (With Garlic And Chilli)

Chicken offal pieces in a brown bowl.
Photo Credit: The Spice Adventuress.

My mother used to buy cheap packages of chicken offal at the grocery store — hearts, livers, gizzards — and fry them up with various spices and seasonings just like this. A quick and tasty budget meal.

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Riganato – Greek Sautéed Beef Liver

Sliced and cooked beef liver on a platter.
Photo Credit: Chef’s Pencil.

Riganato is a traditional Greek dish of thin slices of beef liver that are quickly sautéed to golden perfection in a hot pan with extra virgin olive oil, then seasoned with salt and pepper. A deliciously tangy flavor is added to the dish with the addition of lemon juice and mustard.

Freshly chopped garlic, oregano, and thyme provide a delightful Mediterranean aroma and flavor that perfectly complements the liver.

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Duck Liver Pâté with Cointreau

A ball of duck liver pate served on a white plate.
Photo Credit: Chef’s Pencil.

After we butcher the ducks, one of the first orders of business is to quickly prepare the organs in recipes like this one. Duck liver is fantastic.

This pate strikes a perfect balance between the delicate flavors of duck liver and the citrusy notes of Cointreau, resulting in a velvety-smooth pate that’s sophisticated and indulgent.

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A German Pork Hock “Bake-Off”

A pork hock on a white platter served with veggies.
Photo Credit: Art of Natural Living.

A German Pork Hock is peasant food at its best–with big flavor, rich, fork-tender meat, and juicy crisp skin for a special entree.

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We honor our ancestors’ traditions by embracing nose-to-tail cooking and contributing to a more sustainable and responsible food system. Offal has been the food of the peasants and the food of the nobility class, too — sometimes both at the same time; its popularity has risen and fallen throughout the ages. Offal should become an essential part of our culinary repertoire. So, as you savor each bite of these dishes, remember that you’re not just enjoying a delicious meal; you’re actively participating in a movement that values every part of the animal and celebrates the richness of our gastronomic heritage. I hope you’ve found a recipe or two you want to try from this list..

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2 Comments

  1. A great collection including a couple of recipes I want to try. Thanks for including my chicken liver tagliatelle. Will share on FB and Pinterest!

    1. I’m absolutely making your chicken liver tagliatelle. It looks and sounds amazing.