Debris – Cooking Cajun Variety Meats aka Cowboy Stew

  • Yield : 7
  • Servings : 7
  • Prep Time : 30m
  • Cook Time : 1:30 h
  • Ready In : 2:0 h
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This dish contains most of the variety meats that Cajuns call debris. It consists basically of the organs such as liver, heart, kidneys, tripe, spleen (melt), the honeycomb (la platin), brain, lungs and sweetbreads (pancreas). There are two kinds of sweetbreads: stomach sweetbreads (also known as heart or belly sweetbreads), which are an animal’s pancreas, and neck (AKA throat or gullet) sweetbreads, an animal’s thymus gland.


  • 2 1/2 lbs meat in whatever combination of liver, heart, kidneys, tripe, spleen, the honeycomb (la platin), brain, lungs and sweetbreads
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1/2 medium bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • Salt, black pepper and red pepper to taste or Season All
  • 1 - 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions (optional)


Step 1

The night before you cook the dish: Slice and cut the meat to bite size. If the heart in included in the mix, remove and clean out the veins. To clean the intestines – run water through intestine until all bile is removed. Peel skin from off outside of intestines otherwise if you don't it will be like eating rubber.

Step 2

Cut intestines into 1 inch long pieces. Cube heart into one half inch pieces. Cube liver into one half inch pieces.

Step 3

Season to taste with salt, black pepper, and red pepper or Season-All. Slice the onion, bell pepper and celery and combine with the variety meats. Add the vinegar to the mixture of the seasoned meats; mix well. Put all in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate overnight; turning every now and then.

Step 4

Using a heavy aluminum or cast iron pot, preheat the pot lightly. Pour the debris mixture into the heated pot. Over medium heat, brown the meat mixture and stir to prevent from burning.

Step 5

Basically you will be braising the meat. Once it is as brown as possible without burning, start to add minimal amounts of water; the gravy will start to form. Once your meat is as browned as you like, add enough water to make the amount of gravy you want. Cover your pot and cook until all meats are tender. Cooking times vary but range from 45 minutes to 60 minutes. If your water cooks out, just add more water. When finished, your gravy will be a light mocha brown color. Add the liver in the last 15 minutes and the brain in the last 5 minutes as these are delicate meat and the brain can easily fall apart.

Step 6

Some cooks add parsley and onion tops in the last ten minutes of cooking. Serve over rice.

Some people add a little roux; about a tablespoon just too thicken it. That is up to you how thick you like your gravy.


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