Chitterlings, also known as chitlins or chittlins, are a cherished holiday tradition in Southern households. In this simple stovetop chitterlings recipe, I will guide you through the process of cleaning and cooking these flavorful delicacies at home. Get ready to experience the spicy goodness of chitlins like never before!
What Are Chitterlings?
Before we dive into the recipe, let’s talk about what chitterlings actually are. Chitterlings are pig intestines, and they have a long history in Soul Food cuisine. During the Civil War era, enslaved households would make use of the discarded parts of the pig, including the chitlins, to create delicious meals for their families. This practice is not unique to North America, as cultures across the globe have been cooking with intestines for centuries.
How to Clean & Cook Chitterlings: Video Tutorial
To help you through the process, I’ve created a step-by-step video tutorial that shows you exactly how to clean, prep, and cook chitterlings. You can find the link to the video tutorial at the end of this article.
Ingredients for Stovetop Chitterlings
To make your chitlins tender and tasty, you’ll need a few simple ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:
- Pre-Cleaned Chitterlings: Buying pre-cleaned chitlins will save you a lot of time and effort. Approximately 4 lbs. of chitterlings should be enough for this recipe.
- Vegetables: Onions and bell peppers will add flavor to your chitterlings. Feel free to use any color bell pepper or onion variety you prefer.
- Seasonings & Spices: Customize your chitterlings recipe to your taste. I like to add red pepper flakes for a spicy kick, along with some fresh minced garlic.
- Jalapeno Peppers: If you enjoy extra heat, chop up some jalapenos and include them in your recipe.
- Red Wine Vinegar: This ingredient helps mellow out the flavor of the chitlins during cooking.
- Chicken Broth: Adding chicken broth to the mix will enhance the overall flavor.
- Water, Apple Cider Vinegar, & Potatoes: These three items are crucial for properly cleaning the chitlins.
How to Clean Chitterlings
Cleaning the chitlins is an essential step in this recipe. Even though most store-bought chitterlings come pre-cleaned, it’s a good idea to give them a thorough cleaning to ensure there are no foreign particles. Here’s how to clean chitterlings properly:
- Prep and sanitize your workstation, including the sink, countertop, cutting board, and utensils that will come into contact with the chitlins.
- Fill the sink with cool water and place the chitterlings in it. Break them apart and ensure they are fully submerged.
- To reduce the odor, add two or three whole russet potatoes (cleaned and unpeeled) and some apple cider vinegar to the sink with the chitlins.
- While the chitlins soak, check and prep them by removing any membranes or excess fat.
- Let the chitterlings soak for 1-2 hours, periodically draining the dirty water, rinsing them, and refilling the sink with fresh water.
Remember, it is highly recommended to thoroughly clean chitterlings before eating. The CDC also advises following proper food safety steps to avoid any health risks.
How to Cook Chitterlings on the Stovetop
Once your chitlins are clean and prepped, it’s time to start cooking! Here’s a quick overview of how to cook chitterlings on the stovetop:
- Place the cleaned chitterlings in a large pot and use kitchen scissors to cut them into small pieces, about 1-2 inches in size.
- Add the chopped vegetables and seasonings, such as onion, bell pepper, jalapenos, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes.
- Pour in the liquids—red wine vinegar, chicken broth, and water. Use equal parts water and chicken broth, enough to cover the chitlins in the pot.
- Cover the pot and bring it to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium or medium-high to maintain a simmer.
- Let the chitterlings cook for approximately 3 and ½ hours until they are tender and can be easily pulled apart with a fork.
That’s it! Your delicious chitlins are now ready to be enjoyed. Chitterlings can be an acquired taste, but when cooked properly, they are tender and flavorful, making them a perfect addition to any Southern or Soul Food feast.
Chitterlings Recipe Variations & FAQs
While this recipe has been passed down through my family, feel free to make it your own. Here are some popular chitlins recipe variations you might like to try:
- Crockpot Chitterlings: If you prefer a slow cooker method, I have a similar recipe available with adjusted cooking times.
- Seasoning Options: Customize the flavor of your chitlins by adding your favorite spices. Cayenne pepper, vinegary hot sauce, salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, bay leaves, or a seasoning blend are all excellent choices.
- Additional Vegetables: Feel free to experiment with different vegetables like green onions, leeks, celery, carrots, or even tomatoes to enhance the flavors of your chitlins.
How you serve your chitlins is up to you. I love pairing them with potato salad, collard greens, and cornbread, but they also go well with turnip greens, pinto beans, green beans and potatoes, fried chicken, or smoked turkey.
Cooking chitterlings doesn’t have to be intimidating. With the right ingredients, technique, and a little patience, you can transform chitlins into a tender and flavorful dish that will delight your taste buds. Give it a try and share your experience in the comments below!
To watch my video tutorial and find more delicious recipes, head over to Ekilove and join our food-loving community. Happy cooking!