Nigerian Peppered Gizzard
Nigerian Peppered gizzard is gizzard in a spicy hot sauce. A Nigerian party food that is highly coveted and stands close to Nigerian peppered snail, it is served as small chop (hor d’oeuvre, appetizer), and is also popular in pubs and restaurants where it pairs well with drinks.
The mixture of the sauce ingredients is finger-licking good and is stirred to penetrate every crevice of the gizzard for maximum satisfaction. Christmas is a good time to showcase the Nigerian peppered gizzard.
The gizzard is a thick muscular part of the digestive tract of birds and a few other animals. Usually, when we talk about gizzard in cooking, it is that of domestic birds eg chicken, turkey, duck etc.
Among the patriarchal people of Igboland of eastern Nigeria, whenever a chicken is slaughtered in the home, the gizzard is reserved for the head of the family. In his absence, it goes to the next male in line. With the advent of meat shops selling bulk gizzard and the importation of cheap cartons of both chicken and turkey gizzard into Nigeria, it became very commonplace. You didn’t have to wait till you killed a chicken to get at the gizzard. I am sure the Igbo men had more than they could eat so they went silent on the issue of the gizzard. It is very commonplace at parties and homes now.
For this Nigerian peppered gizzard recipe, I used turkey gizzard though it can be made with most proteins, like snails, beef, chicken, lamb, etc. The gizzard can either be fried or grilled, I fried mine.
To make Nigerian peppered gizzard
500g gizzard 1 teaspoon dry thyme 1 seasoning cube 1/2 small onion (chopped) salt 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 medium green bell pepper 2 medium tatashe (paprika pepper)or 1 medium red bell pepper 5-8 scotch bonnet 1 medium tomato 1 medium onion (chopped)
If the gizzard has not been split open, split it open, trim or pull off any fat on the surface.
Remove the thick yellowish membrane covering the inside of the gizzard. Trim off the tail of the gizzard (the thin-wall protruding part), it is good for presentation.
I split the gizzard into two because I used turkey gizzard which is very large.
Wash very well and place in a pot with about 2 cups of water. Add dry thyme, seasoning cube, chopped onions and salt.
Boil till gizzard is well done and stock should have reduced very well. Take off the heat.
Do not overcook, gizzard is supposed to have some resistance, a discernible crunch when you bite into it. If the stock is not well reduced when gizzard is done, pick out the gizzard and boil the stock further until well reduced and concentrated.
Pick out the gizzard into a clean plate and set aside.
Line a plate with paper napkins and set aside.
Place a frying pan or saucepan over medium flame, add vegetable oil. When hot, add gizzards, fry to lightly brown it. If fried or grilled further than this it will become too chewy to even bite off.
Drain onto paper napkins.
For the Sauce
Wash green bell pepper and tatashe, remove their seeds.
Grind peppers and tomato with as little water as you can. Do not grind to a fine paste, it should be chunky.
Pour out some of the oil from the frying pan, add onions, fry until softened, don’t allow to colour.
Add pepper paste fry till a film of oil is floating on top.
Put 2 tablespoons or more of the concentrated stock (cooking water), stir and taste for salt.
Add the fried or grilled gizzard and stir very well so that the sauce enters every crevice.
Leave to cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Take off the heat and serve.
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