How to Cook Cow's Intestine

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Offal eating isn't for everyone, but parts such as the cow's intestine that are frequently disregarded can be used to create lovely meals. Simmered slowly in a simple stew of milk and onions or coated and fried like southern-style chitterlings -- or chitlins -- cow's intestine can be prepared in a variety of appetizing ways.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper towels
  • Sharp knife
  • Pot
  • Seasonings

Cow's Intestine and Onions

  • Rinse the cow's intestine under cold, running water, using your fingers to check for any residual grit. Pat dry with paper towels. Cut the cow's intestine into small, 1-inch pieces with a sharp knife.

  • Add chopped onions to about a quart of milk to a pot. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Watch carefully so that the milk doesn't boil over. Simmer for 20 minutes.

  • Bring the pot to a gentle boil, then add the cow's intestine. Add seasonings such as salt and pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer, cooking for an additional 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the intestines are tender.

  • Melt a stick of butter plus a few additional pats in another pan over medium heat. Slowly add a cup to a cup and a half of flour to the butter, whisking fervently to combine, until it smells like biscuits. Add a ladle or two of the stock to the flour and butter mixture and whisk together until smooth.

  • Add the sauce to the pot and simmer for an additional 15 minutes, or until the contents of the pot thicken. Add additional seasonings if you would like, to taste, and serve hot with a side of mashed potatoes.

Fried Chitterlings

  • Rinse the cow's intestine under cold, running water, using your fingers to check for any residual grit. Pat dry with paper towels.

  • Bring a pot of water to a simmer and add the whole intestine. Add desired seasonings to the pot such as chopped onions, minced garlic, salt and pepper, bay leaves or crushed red pepper flakes. Simmer for around 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the intestine is tender.

  • Remove the pot from heat and rinse under cold running water. Once cooled, cut the intestine into bite-size pieces. Prepare a simple egg wash by beating an egg with a splash of water. Spread a generous amount of flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

  • Bring enough oil to completely submerge the chitterlings to a temperature of 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Dip a piece of intestine into the beaten egg mixture, then dredge in the seasoned flour, coating completely. Carefully fry the chitterlings in hot oil until golden brown and crispy, approximately 1 minute.

  • Remove the chitterlings from the oil and let drain on paper towels. Serve immediately with vinegar and hot sauce.

Tips & Warnings

  • Intestines should be special ordered from a butcher as cleaning them is an intensive process best left to professionals.
  • Store fresh intestines in the refrigerator for up to 2 days in a tightly sealed container.

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References

  • The Illustrated Cook's Book of Ingredients; DK Publishing
  • The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating; Fergus Henderson
  • BBC Food: Deep fried Chitlins
  • The Joy of Cooking; Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker
  • Photo Credit Michael Blann/Photodisc/Getty Images
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