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Well, my wish came true MUCH sooner than I had expected. When I wished to prepare brains and lungs for my family, I thought that perhaps in the next 6 months I’d have the opportunity, especially if I ordered them from one of the online sources that offers grass-fed organ meat, although these particular parts are much harder to find. But within days of my last post on organ meats we were invited to take part in slaughtering four grass-fed lambs. To make a long, great story short, we were gifted three brains and LOTS of other offal after our evening and morning of helping. I came home with a heart full of thankfulness, curiosity, and humor. A part of me was, of course, laughing at the contrast I was aware of: how I was feeling about these organ meats compared with the average American’s sentiments about the same foods.
Later that night I was busy rinsing, slicing, rendering fat, and sauteing. My husband was working so I kept texting him photos, wishing he could share the whole experience with me. He loved being on the receiving end of the adventure and tried fresh versions of the offerings the following night. I was ravenous that night and all the organ meat was SO fresh. I didn’t want to wait.
We first tried lungs. They were the most work, requiring a sharp knife to cut out the main bronchial pipe, and to cut through the smaller air tubes. I experimented cooking this meat less, medium rare, and more, like charred steak. The kids and I preferred the latter. It improved the texture, which was unusual, being spongelike when raw, but not bad. The flavor of the lungs was great! See my notes below the lung photo on what I’ll do next time! I have more lungs in the freezer and a pretty willing crew.
Next came the eyeball. I really expected less than great satisfaction. I have eaten a fish eyeball before and its texture was like the poop you see at the bottom of a fish tank, or what I imagine the texture of that poop would be. Of course, that was twenty years ago. I don’t know; maybe I’d feel differently if I tried a fish eyeball again, now that I’m so enlightened, ha, ha ;). The lamb eyeball, however, was entirely different. Read my notes below the next two photos for more details!
Next came the brains! I had no idea that they would taste so good! They are rich, lovely delicacies, like testicles. When my dad orders foie gras, goose liver, the serving size is always small. Now I understand why. Most of these organ meats are naturally very high in cholesterol and fat. When they are grass-fed that’s a good thing. But they are still not something of which you want a whole plate full. Five to ten bites, eaten slowly, savored, is the way to go with brains. At least these small lamb brains.
In looking for recipes for all these organ meats, I found few. And the ones I did find were disappointing. Most of them included boiling the meats for long periods of time, then slicing or cubing it, then making some big strong sauce to cloak it in. Although I do look forward to simmering the organ meat in salted water or bone broth before sauteeing it in the future, to see how it affects the texture, I wanted to taste these meats by themselves, in their purer forms, not to overcook them or to cover up what they tasted like. Also, the texture is something to study and understand, in order to learn how to work with it.
However, the final preparation I did with the brains did come from an online recipe I found that intrigued me: scrambled eggs with brains. That sounded simple and pure and good. It was delicious! Super rich and super yummy! In the top-most photo above you’ll see four colors: dark brown, pale cream, yellow and red. The dark brown is the rendered lamb fat that I used generously and allowed to get crispy in a bit of sea salt. The pale cream pieces are the brain slices which are actually delicate; so I was careful to keep them separate as they sauteed, until the end when I stirred them into the eggs. The yellow is, of course, the grass-fed egg. And the red pieces are sauteed red bell pepper, which is just something I had on hand that sounded good. Onions, mushrooms, zucchini, lots of other veggies, would also be great options.
My kids did pretty well with the whole event! They would be fine eating lungs or brains again, although I know they won’t go bragging to their friends about that meal. My 10-year-old son said the brains tasted like rich scrambled egg cooked in lamb fat. I do hope some of you will have similar experiences and share your recipes. I will let you know what else I discover in the way of preparations as there is a definite dearth. See a few more photos and read a few more details about the whole experience below.