Living here in Israel, my food buying habits have somewhat changed (I haven’t yet been able to find a bulk supplier and the stores here are obviously different), but overall my approach to shopping frugally has stayed the same.
One strategy that I consistently apply is to buy and use primarily what is on sale or cheap. This past week, I saw that chicken gizzards were on sale. In the US, gizzards were about $3.29 a pound, so they were always too expensive to buy. But here, I was able to buy a kilo (2.2 pounds) for 7 shekels, which at about a dollar a pound, is the least expensive meat option I’ve seen so far. So true to my pattern, I bought ten kilos (22 pounds); a few days before I had bought all they had left, just five kilos.
I brought them home and immediately put them all in a large pot to cook. Gizzards take a long time to cook – if they are undercooked, they are chewy and have a not quite pleasant consistency – but if they are well cooked, they are as soft as butter and really tasty. The key to cooking gizzards is to cook them long enough, until they are very soft. My kids love these, and told me it’s their favorite kind of meat now!
The other thing about gizzards is they tend to be salty. They become less salty with cooking, but still are saltier than your average cut of chicken. The way I deal with this is that I use less salt in the recipe when I’m using gizzards, and it balances out well.
It takes the same amount of gas to cook a small amount as a large amount, so it made sense to cook all that I had at one time. That helps keep fuel costs down. Also, cooked chicken takes up less space in the freezer than raw chicken, so it’s more space efficient as well.
Once they were all cooked well, I drained them out, saving the gravy to cook with. I chopped them up since I plan to use them in various dishes and that’s the size that will work best. Then I bagged them into one kilogram packages, and froze them.
What can you do with chicken gizzards? Well, once prepared like this, you can use them in the same way you would use chopped chicken. There are so many possibilities, and utilizing these inexpensive chicken parts has been a very frugal and delicious addition to our meals. And preparing them in this way means that I have a nice supply in the freezer for a number of meals, ready to go!