Moela (Portugese Chicken Gizzard Stew)

January 22, 2010

Author Notes: The poor, unloved chicken gizzard is in desperate need of some good PR. I think the problem is with its name: just the sound of it turns most people off. Maybe like sweetbreads and rognons, we need another word to make it sound more palatable. Like maybe "tendernuggets"?

People in other cultures don't seem to have the same aversion to gizzards. For many, these organs aren't the part you throw away, but a delicious treat to be savored. One of my favorite ways to prepare them is in the Portuguese style which is full of spice and flavor. The gizzards are braised low and slow until they're so tender you could mistake it for pork. My version veers away from the traditional a bit, but it's delicious enough that I think I can be forgiven. This is just the kind of dish that could change minds about gizzards... I mean, "tendernuggets".

Serves: 4-6
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 3 hrs


  • 1 pound chicken gizzard
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 4 stalks celery, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and minced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red chili pepper (preferably piri-piri)
  • 1-1/2 cups tomatoes, canned or fresh, chopped finely
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 12 ounces beer (nothing too dark)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4-6 dry bay leaves
  • parsley sprigs for garnish
In This Recipe


  1. Chop each chicken gizzard into 4 pieces. Set aside.
  2. In a large Dutch oven of at least 3 quarts, fry the bacon slices over medium heat until the fat has rendered out. Remove them from the pot and set aside.
  3. In the bacon fat, saute the onion for about 8 minutes until onions start to turn golden brown. Raise heat to medium high and add celery, carrots, pepper and garlic. Saute for 2 minutes more then add oregano, thyme and red chili flakes.
  4. Stir in tomatoes and let them brown slightly on the bottom by letting them sit for about a minute, then scrape the bottom and let them sit again. Do this about 3 or 4 times.
  5. Stir in chicken broth, beer, wine, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Add gizzards. Let the mixture come up just to a boil. Try not to let it come up to a rolling boil or else your gizzards will toughen up. Immediately reduce heat to low and cover.
  6. Let simmer for 2-1/2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. Check in periodically to make sure that all the gizzards are submerged and that the mixture is not boiling.
  7. When the meat is very tender, serve the stew in individual bowls topped with crumbled bacon and parsley.

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Reviews (6) Questions (0)

6 Reviews

Margaret M. March 13, 2019
I'm simmering my gizzards now. I looked online for a recipe that makes them soft. I read this one but HAVEN'T made it yet. However, I do want to say that those are the BEST, MOST CLEAR directions I've ever read! Including in Cook's Illustrated, "Best Recipes"!
Thanks for setting the example!
Author Comment
vrunka March 14, 2019
Glad the instructions were clear! :) Hope it turns out well.
Kathryn774 March 26, 2017
My husband and I first experienced gizzards in the Dordogne region of France. We absolutely loved their simplicity. Dinner for common folk who like to dine well! Anyone who has ever tasted this stew has loved it. I'll confess that we haven't always acknowledged the feature ingredient before serving ... however it's become a family favorite even after the tell. As a result, you may have a harder time finding gizzards on the Philadelphia Main Line!
Author Comment
vrunka May 1, 2017
agreed on all counts -- sometimes people are put off by the main ingredient, but once they taste it, they're hooked!
blueschaseuparabbit March 10, 2017
Absolutely scrumptious. The broth's ingredients yield a nuanced stew, and the long slow cooking makes the texture of the gizzards' meat and connective tissue like the best bone-in short ribs. Check the gizzards' texture at about the 1-3/4 or 2 hour mark-- I like my gizzards tender but with a bit of tooth so I quit then, but longer would almost break the pieces up which would be delicious too of course. Thanks for the recipe!
Author Comment
vrunka May 1, 2017
so glad you enjoyed this recipe! Good point about the texture.