How to Cook a Duck Heart, Kidneys & Liver


For those who enjoy organ meat, the rich giblets of a duck -- such as the heart, kidney and livers -- can be cooked in a variety of ways. Packed with iron and zinc, you may need to rinse and trim your duck hearts and livers of any visible fat before cooking them, while kidneys, not often included in a packet of giblets, need a little extra preparation. Among the most common preparations for duck giblets include making a flavorful pan gravy for roasted duck and sauteeing them to enjoy plain or on a bed of greens

Things You'll Need

  • Paper towels
  • White vinegar or lemon water
  • Bowl
  • Paring knife
  • Cutting board

Preparing the Giblets

  • Rinse the duck heart, kidneys and liver under cold running water and pat dry gently with paper towels.

  • Soak the duck kidneys in a bowl of vinegar or lemon water for up to 2 hours to reduce their naturally strong odor. They should also be cooked within 24 hours of purchase if possible to prevent any remaining waste in the kidneys from starting to marinate them, rendering them tough and inedible.

  • Trim off any visible fat from the heart and the membrane around the kidneys using a sharp paring knife on a clean cutting board. Trim away any fat underneath the kidney's membrane as well.

Duck Giblets Gravy

  • Add the giblets to a saucepan on the stove. Pour in enough broth or water to cover them by at least an inch, as that liquid will later serve as the base for the gravy.

  • Add any vegetables you prefer, such as finely diced carrots and celery, and fresh herb like rosemary and thyme. Include the duck neck as well, if available, which has meat attached to it and will add more flavor to the gravy.

  • Bring the saucepan to a boil over high heat, then reduce it to low, allowing it to simmer for about an hour. Strain the giblets and vegetables from the resulting stock. Discard the vegetables.

  • Cut the giblets into tiny pieces, put them in a blender with a little water and puree until fairly smooth -- it's okay to have tiny chunks. Add the pureed giblets back into the stock. Alternatively, you can discard the giblets as traditional giblet gravies do, but adding them back in adds more flavor.

  • Heat the duck drippings from a freshly roasted duck in a separate, large saucepan on the stove. If you don't have any duck drippings for the gravy, you can use a few tablespoons of butter instead. Add white wine to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Use about 3/4 cup of wine for 2 to 3 cups of stock.

  • Whisk in a tablespoon or so of flour to thicken the mixture, then slowly pour in the duck giblet stock and bring to simmer on the stove. Leave it to reduce by about half, stirring occasionally.

Sauteed Giblets

  • Coat a saucepan with butter or duck fat and place over medium-high heat on the stove. Although small, you can cut the heart, kidneys and liver in half to give yourself more pieces, if you prefer.

  • Add diced onions to the pan and sautee until they are just starting to get translucent.

  • Add the kidneys and heart and fry for about 1 minutes, stirring them around to cook all sides. Add the liver, which cooks faster, after the first minute and continue sauteeing for another 30 to 60 seconds.

  • Season the giblets lightly with salt and pepper, then remove them from the saucepan immediately to avoid overcooking. Enjoy as is, with salad greens or on top of toasted bread.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can use the duck giblet stock to make a duck soup instead of a gravy by adding cooked duck breasts, shredded or chopped, as well as any chopped vegetables and fresh herbs you prefer.
  • Use sauteed giblets in a number of other duck giblet recipes, from throwing them in a blender to make smooth pate to cooking them submerged in duck fat for a flavorful duck giblet confit.
  • Avoid purchasing or cooking duck giblets that have a gray or greenish color, have an unusually pungent odor and that look dull. These have likely spoiled and should be discarded immediately.

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