First of all, if you’re still reading my blog after a week of me suggesting that yo dig into kidneys and stomachs and peel tongues like bananas, you should get a Gold Star. Luckily, heart isn’t so much offal as it’s like a really rich cut of meat. You might feel like you’re making a flesh sacrifice, but Aztec fantasies aside this is a really awesome bit of cuisine to work with. Something that tastes as good as a ribeye at a sixth of the price is always fine by me.
Why Should I Eat It??
Whether you want a really fatty or really lean cut, beef heart is it. There’s generally a good amount of fat on the outside that is easily removed if you want to–though I think you’re crazy if you do.
Because hearts are such dense muscles, their nutrient content is even higher than that of other skeletal muscles–beef heart, for example, has “all essential amino acids, zinc, selenium and phosphorus. It has more than double the elastin and collagen than other cuts of meat and a highly concentrated source of coenzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10″ (via Livestrong.com). Yay!
Oh, and I’d be amiss if I didn’t remind you that this sh*t is CHEAP.
Flavor and Texture…What to Expect?
Hearts of all varieties are very similar to other muscular cuts of meat. Beef heart (the most commonly available) tastes like…well, beef…just a little more pronounced. For me at least, the shape is the only thing that makes it terribly distinguishable from any other chunk of beef. When cooked, the texture resembles most cuts of beef as well and it can be cooked just like a good steak or roast–you can braise, grill, roast, or pan sear them and they’ll come out great.
Again, treat hearts like any other cut of meat. Get fancy with them if you want, but I generally cut them into chunks or strips and discard any tubes or blood vessels you come across. I’ve also just halved one and thrown it on the grill and ended up with what looked like two good steaks. There’s often a good deal of fat on beef hearts that can be rendered and stored as well.
Today’s Recipe: Curried Beef Heart
For this recipe, I whipped up a nice curry marinade and sauce that adds a little kick but again, won’t overwhelm the natural flavor of the heart.
2 lbs Beef Heart (or one large heart)
1 c Coconut Milk
1 t Salt
1 t Black Pepper
2 t Curry Powder
1/2 t Garam Masala
Coconut Oil for frying
Whisk together the coconut milk and spices. Slice the beef heart into thick strips and add to the coconut milk mixture. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the strips of beef heart and cook for a minute or two on each side. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the coconut milk mixture. Simmer for another 10 minutes.