What are those things and what do you do with them anyway? Toss them in the trash? Please don't. Before you reject the bird's vital organs, learn a little about what they are. Can you name all the parts in a giblets bundle? A labeled version of this photo appears on the next page, along with some thoughts on what to do with giblets.
Giblets refers to the little bundle of parts sometimes found inside the cavity of a bird, such as chicken or turkey. Usually the giblets includes the neck, the gizzard (a muscle that grinds up food before it enters the digestive system - think of it as a second stomach), the heart, and the liver. The bundle of giblets pictured above also had the kidneys — not often seen in giblets — and a bonus liver, lucky me.
Most industrial, large-scale farmed chickens do not come with giblets. Pity. But if you buy your poultry from a small farmer or a good butcher, you may find this little treat wrapped up inside the cavity of the bird. Minus the liver which can give the stock a bitter flavor, the giblets are best prepared as a stock to then add to the drippings in the roasting pan, and end up with a flavorful gravy. They can also be added to a stock made with a left over chicken carcass or two. In that case, toss them in raw while the stock simmers away. The liver is best pan-fried with garlic and spread on toast, if you want one cook's opinion.
Turkey giblets are usually significant enough in size that they can be used in a dish like pâta. Some people insist in cooked and chopped up giblets being added to their Thanksgiving stuffing.
Get to know this part of your chicken. How would you like it if someone tossed your vital organs in the trash?