Nutrition writer, podcast host, and self-proclaimed health nerd Ashleigh VanHouten believes that food (and life) is all about perspective: having an open mind and an adventurous spirit can take you to wonderful places you’d never experience otherwise.
For her, that adventurous spirit led her to offal.
Offal, pronounced (unfortunately) as “awful”, refers to an animal’s organs and entrails. Offal is extremely nutrient dense, with high concentrations ofcollagen(our favorite!) given the nature of the organ. Our primal ancestors used to prefer offal, for both the nutrients and all of theother health factors, reaching for the liver and heart before any other part of the animal. These nutrient-rich organs are still popular in many international cuisines, but have become rare in most Western diets. VanHouten hopes to change that.
So she wrote a whole book about it: It Takes Guts.
It Takes Guts: A Meat-Eater’s Guide to Eating Offal is an entertaining and user-friendly guide to enjoying some of the more adventurous parts of the animal, as well as understanding the value of whole-animal cooking. With 75 delicious and easy recipes that help you adopt a whole-animal approach to your eating, from nose-to-tail.
VanHouten writes, “There are many great reasons to adopt a truly whole-animal, nose-to-tail approach to eating. It Takes Guts is more than a cookbook: it’s about education and understanding that the way we eat is important. Our choices matter, and we should seek to know why a particular food is beneficial for us, the ecosystem, and the animals, and how our food choices fit into the larger food industry and community in which we are a part.”
What's in the book?
An Exclusive Recipe:
Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Lamb hearts are, predictably, a little bigger than chicken hearts but smaller than beef hearts, so they’re kind of a happy medium: they have a rich lamby flavor but are still quick and easy to cook like smaller hearts are. This recipe shows off the ease and versatility of this cut of meat. You don’t have to roast it for hours or hide it in something elaborate: just pan-fry it with some butter and spices, and you have a delicious protein source to throw on top of a salad or starchy side dish.
2 lamb hearts, cleaned
¼ cup blanched almond flour
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons coarsely ground sea salt
¼ cup (½ stick) grass-fed unsalted butter
½ small onion, diced
1/3 cup chicken or beef bone broth
5 cups arugula
1 lemon wedge
Salt and pepper, to taste
Note: These saucy lamb hearts will keep in the fridge for up to a week.