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Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal by [Mclagan, Jennifer]
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Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Length: 258 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews Review

Featured Recipe: Wine-Braised Beef Cheeks

Serves 6

3 cups / 750 ml red wine
1 onion, halved and sliced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery with leaves, sliced
4 cloves garlic, germ removed
2 fresh bay leaves
1 large sprig rosemary
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 to 3 beef cheeks, about 3 pounds / 1.4 kg total, trimmed (see page 29)
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons beef dripping or lard
1/2 calf’s foot, about 1 pound / 450 g, prepared (see page 100) (optional)
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Pour the wine into a large saucepan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat so the wine bubbles gently. Tip the saucepan slightly away from you and, using a long match, light the wine. Once the flames die out, light it again, and keep lighting it until it no longer flames. Pour the wine into a large bowl (there should be about 21/2 cups / 625 ml). Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaves, rosemary, and peppercorns. Set aside to cool.

Cut the beef cheeks into 2 or 3 pieces so that all the pieces are the same size. Place in the marinade, cover, and refrigerate overnight, turning a couple of times if possible.

Remove the cheeks from the marinade, pat them dry, and season with salt and pepper. Strain the marinade, keeping the liquid and the solids separate.

Preheat the oven to 300°F / 150°C.

In a heavy flameproof casserole or Dutch oven, melt half the fat over medium-high heat. When the fat is hot, add the cheeks in batches and brown. Transfer the cheeks to a plate. Lower the heat, add the vegetables, herbs, and peppercorns from the marinade, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until they soften.

Pour in the reserved marinade liquid and bring to a boil. Return the cheeks with any juices to the pan, add the calf’s foot, and return to a boil. Cover the meat with a piece of wet parchment paper and the lid, transfer to the oven, and cook for 3 to 4 hours, or until the cheeks are very tender.

Transfer the cheeks and the foot to a plate.

Strain the cooking liquid through a sieve into a bowl, pressing on the vegetables to extract all the juice; discard the solids. Let the cooking liquid stand for 5 minutes, then skim off the fat and set the fat aside for another use.

Return the cooking liquid to the pan and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until the liquid coats the back of a spoon. Meanwhile, cut the meat and skin from the calf’s foot into small dice; discard the bones. Return the cheeks and diced foot to the reduced sauce and reheat gently. Add the vinegar and taste, adding more salt, pepper, and/or vinegar if necessary. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

Alternatives: Oxtail, beef shoulder, or shank


“As an admirer of McLagan’s previous books as well as a cook and writer increasingly aware of the importance of using more than just the tender refined parts of animals and avoiding waste, I know of no other book this season more welcome than this one devoted to exploring the whole animal. McLagan comes through again. Thank you.”
—Michael Ruhlman, author of Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking and Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing
“Let Jennifer McLagan take you by the trotter and lead you through the odd bits. Hang on, surely some mistake: the good bits!”
—Fergus Henderson, author of The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating

Praise for Fat 
McLagan’s book is a smart, sensual celebration of the flavorful animal fats prized by chefs and shunned by a generation of lipo-phobes. Her French Fries in Lard may change your life forever. 
People Magazine
Jennifer McLagan’s cookbooks are joyously contrarian affairs. [Fat] is a rollicking journey through the kingdom of unrepentant, glorious, and filthy rich fat.
—T. Susan Chang, The Boston Globe
Persuasively arguing that the never-ending quest for “health” has gone too far, McLagan’s elegant and informed look at this most maligned ingredient is appropriately unctuous.
Publisher’s Weekly (Starred Review)

Product Details

  • File Size: 15807 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (September 13, 2011)
  • Publication Date: September 13, 2011
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004J4X7FS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #657,246 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By William D. Colburn VINE VOICE on September 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I own all three of her books. The first two, Bones and Fat, are amazing. So far I've only skimmed this one. It covers a lot more territory than the first two do. She says in this newest book that if she writes a fourth, it will be called Skin. I'd buy that book too.

One problem with this book is that it is so broad in comparison to her first two. Bones was just about eating bones. Fat was just about eating fat. But everything else is a lot of stuff. Ears, feet, hearts, lungs, gizzards, kidneys, brains, testicles, intestines, and I'm sure there are things I'm missing. The first two were quite focused, but this one is all over the place. It does group recipes by the region of the animal, which is somewhat helpful. Ears show up early, and udders show up later. See, udders! I forgot to list them in my earlier list.

Even just skimming this book taught me a a lot. There is a kind of sausage that is made with pork intestines. Obviously you'd use a real pork intestine casing on your pork intestine sausage, or it just wouldn't be right. Having made my own chitterlings from a freshly killed pig (I still have its feet in my freezer) I can honestly say that I'm just terrified of making intestine stuffed intestines. The recipes and suggestions all look pretty sound.

There are no eyeball recipes. But you'll have them cooked as a side effect of a few dishes since the eyeballs will just be part of the whole presentation. And she gives advice on how to eat them, to make it easier on the timid diner.

Overall, my biggest hope for this review is that is scares off the timid. It would be a shame to waste such a beautiful book on someone who thinks that meat is only what gets shrink wrapped in the meat market at the grocery store.
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Format: Hardcover
While I am sure many will pick up Odd Bits as an "Iron Chef meets teenage boy dare meets Fear Factor episode", the reader will be swiftly and joyfully swooped up into one of the top books of 2011. Jennifer McLagan's final stage of her trilogy, including the much lauded Bones (2005) and Fat (2007), is a comprehensive exploration of those animal parts that are ignored or tossed in the bin, and the word fascinating would be the ultimate understatement in describing this book.

The Australian-born Jennifer McLagan is a Toronto-based chef and writer who is a regular contributor to Fine Cooking and Food & Drink. She is committed to the use of the full animal (à la Fergus Henderson) not only for purposes of economy or sustenance, but also culture and tradition. Odd Bits is her final manifesto to the world of daring or squeamish cooks to take a new look at less common parts of the animals.
At 256 pages the book is divided into five chapters and one "Interlude":
* Get a Heat: Challenging
* At the Front: Comfortingly Reassuring
* A True Snout of a Tail Meal
* Stuck in the Middle: Familiar and Exotic
* The Back End: Convention and Beyond Belief
* Basic Recipes: Odd Stocks

I presume for most readers, the front and the back of the animals will be the most challenging, however McLagan's knowledge and her reassuring voice are like a mother holding a child's hand as they walk to the haunted bedroom closet to reveal the monster. In each chapter she begins with an overview of the body parts and what we might expect to see (thereby removing the scary monster). Next she has an overview of how to select, prepare and cook the parts. And then she opens the closet door by presenting a relatively easy, but sure to please recipe for the body part(s).
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Format: Hardcover
Jennifer McLagan is a chef and writer who was awarded the prestigious James Beard Award for her previous book released in 2008 called Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes. Now she's back again in 2011 with a rather unique new book entitled Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal. I even got into the action a couple of months ago when I tried cow tongue for the first time. Jennifer says there are so many parts from the tongue to the testicles to the tail...that are delectable pieces of meat people are missing out on. If you're even curious about eating all kinds of animal parts, then you need to get this book!Read more ›
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