Pasta with Chicken Livers and Sage; food horses

When we first moved to Ireland,  I remember there being a bit of a flap in England about joining the European Union and having to export their prized hunting stallions to France to be eaten.  I don’t remember the particulars but do remember wondering if an Arabian was better than a Palomino.

Food horses

After moving to Andorra I realized that the whole bit had apparently been blown up by the tabloids…

In Andorra they raise ‘food horses’ (lots) and riding horses (not so many) and, at least to my untrained eye, there is a difference.

The food horses are grazed in the high pastures like the sheep and goats.  They are stocky animals: short legs, big bodies, big hooves, and don’t appear any more domesticated than the goats and sheep they graze with.  The meat is exported mainly to France and Spain, with only a small amount sold locally – pork and lamb being favored in Andorra.

The riding horses are kept in stables and fed apples by hand – just like everywhere else.

Europeans, in general, know that meat was once an actual animal, and are okay with that.  They have no problem enjoying all of it.

It’s common to see a plate of pig’s feet at the table next to you at lunch.

Pig ears (real ones) are great dog treats!

We were told not to accept dinner invitations in Ireland on a Tuesday because that was ‘tripe’ (stomach lining) day and I often hear my British friends raving about the tongue they had at so and so’s.

I, on the other hand, come from a squeamish background.

I like what I eat to have ‘food’ names: chops, steaks, roast; rather than vital body-part names: lung, heart, tongue, brains.

Don’t get me wrong, I have eaten my share of non-standard fare.

I grew up in the Midwest where hunting is common, (although by the time I saw any of the meat it was cooked and on the table).

I have eaten: squirrel, rabbit, raccoon (only once, eww..), venison, buffalo and all sort of birds.  In the southwest I was convinced to try rattlesnake and in Florida, ‘gator.

Trust me, the only thing that tastes like chicken is chicken!

I am not totally lacking in culinary courage – I just don’t want to eat intestines…or brains…or glands…or tongues.

Plus, I don’t know how to eat a pig foot….Pick it up and gnaw?  Knife and fork…how does one cut a hoof?  Does one eat all of it?  Is that why there are so many dogs in European restaurants (slip it under the table to the family garbage can)?

For the record I have, unintentionally, eaten sweetbreads (quite tasty), kidneys (I’ll pass), horse (kind of sweet but very lean and tender), kid (flavor was good but texture strange), tripe (no comment) and haggis (lots of whisky) and more parts of pig than I really want to know about.

And foie gras?  That’s a classification all to itself: Nectar of the Gods!  (My mother liked liver…)

Repost from 3/2006

After making the Moroccan Chicken the other day, which required two (?) chicken livers, I had the rest of the package of chicken livers to deal with.

Hmmm….. Liver… Bacon….Onion….

The recipe, Pasta with Chicken Livers, Bacon and Sage, has been updated, nutrition information added, and re-posted here: Linguini with Bacon and Chicken Livers. 

I do like using up the leftover bits ;-))

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10 thoughts on “Pasta with Chicken Livers and Sage; food horses”

  1. I like chicken livers. And once in Hawaii at a Parker Ranch branding, I ate some interesting just removed parts tossed directly from the cow to the bbq. Didn’t really like those, though.
    But I’m going more and more vegetarian as I get older. Except for bacon, I think I could skip meat altogether.

  2. When we were growing up my mom would cook chicken livers like a stew – have to say the gravy was divine. She and my dad would also eat Steak Tartar – can’t go there, just can’t do the raw thing. Think I would need a whole lot of whiskey too!

  3. This sounds good and I know my hubby would love it! I’ve had sweetbreads, OK! But my dad used to fry calf’s brain. That was too much for me and so is the squirrel, pig ears, etc. I can’t imagine a prized stallion for food. I grew up in Louisville, home of the Kentucky Derby.

  4. You sound really adventurous with food, try going to argentina! i just got back from there last week and they eat all sorts of animal parts… Kidneys, sweetbread, intestines, blood sausage – all part of the regular diet.

  5. the only really out there foods I’ve ever eaten are pig intestine and chicken feet. The pig intestine tasted like chewy bacon and the chicken feet were just…weird. I haven’t ventured into the realm of liver just yet but this pasta does sound good!

  6. I am not so ambitious when it comes to my food choices, though I have had rabbit, but never sweetbreads, intestines, liver or kidneys. I see chicken livers at the Farmer’s Market though and they’ve got me curious. My better half loves them, so I promised I would prepare some soon. What do they taste like? What’s the consistency?

  7. Great post…as for chicken livers…a fave of mine and no one else in the family so I only make it when I’m alone…very rare indeed. I do hope you plan on sharing this one…or some other fantastic pasta with Presto Pasta Nights this week. I’m hosting.

  8. Interesting post. There was a HUGE foofraw near here several years ago when the state shut down the only horse slaughterhouse, the meat all exported to France. The horse “lovers” got it shut down. Since then you would not believe the horror stories I have heard from horse owners (as opposed to horse “lovers”) about the problems shutting down that abattoir has caused. For example, take your horse to a show in your horse trailer. When you come back to the trailer, you find three (old, broken down) horses tied to your trailer, no owners in evidence. A friend told me that it cost her $800 to have her horse put down and disposed of.

  9. I am not a huge meat eater so have no real interest in eating any “odd” bits of animals. I recall my mother serving rabbit ONCE and also tripe ONCE and no child would touch either of these dishes and they were things she had grown up on!!

  10. Meredith, I love all vegetables…. and eat lots…. but I couldn’t give up meat (esp not bacon!)
    Ina, love all sorts of livers – and steak tartare and carpaccio…. It’s got to be fresh, tho!
    Pam, these horses in no way resemble a prize stallion…. But I still pass… and I pass on the brains, too!
    Roxan, I would classify me only as adventurous as I have to be…. Or am forced to be – LOL
    Joanne, no thank you to the chicken feet…. no way, no how! I don’t think I could drink enough wine to do that!
    TV food and drink – they taste like chicken livers… and are tender if you don’t overcook. Liver is a delicate meat and should be cooked just until b arely done… Do you like pates? I pass on the intestines and kidneys….
    Ruth, I would, if I was home….. sorry….. Too bad no one else likes the livers….
    brassfrog, the food horses are a whole different breed…. raised like beef and butchered young. One can even get young horse (like veal) but I don’t remember what it’s called….
    Manningroad, rabbit, yes, delicious. Tripe…no, no, no!

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