If you’ve continued to read on after the title, congratulations – it means that you haven’t keeled over from the thought of eating a heart, as in, the organ. If you’ve only risen from keeling over, you might want to skip this post, although nutritionally speaking you’ll be sorry if you do.
If you’re actually interested in eating a beef heart, I heartily toast you as being an adventurous eater, at least if you are from North America. To most of the rest of the world, I think, eating organs is no big deal.
Here in Slovakia, people don’t eat organs on a daily or even weekly basis and tend to eat them in hidden forms: liver patés, rice and organ sausages, head cheese, blood pudding. While I can still get most of these items in a grocery store, and certainly after someone has butchered a pig, I get the impression that eating these foods is becoming less common.
How did we get to the point where we only eat muscle meats and turn down organ meats (I use ‘we’ loosely, given my childhood eating patterns). Once upon a time, food was much more scarce than it is now and procuring it required blood, sweat, and tears from ourselves or someone we knew. I think that scarcity and hard work tend to make us more grateful for what we have, and not waste a drop.
I don’t mean to say that today’s farmer works less hard, they do work very hard, but that less of the general population knows them. It’s easier to appreciate your neighbour’s hard work than that of a nameless farmer you probably rarely think of.
I’ve grown up eating organs, including heart, and I can safely say without exaggeration that this is the best beef heart I have ever had. We usually ate heart quickly seared but that tends to make the texture a bit rubbery. I had read that a long simmer nicely softened the meat but somehow thought that simmering heart would make it more rubbery.
I am glad to say that that is not true; long simmered beef heart is tender, with not a hint of rubberiness. And the added benefit of this curry is that all the other flavours mask any heart flavour you may dislike.
I hesitate to call this curry though; while it does have curry in it, it tastes quite unlike the tumeric-heavy curries we are used to.
If you want to get started in eating offal, I highly recommend starting with this recipe. If you’re a confirmed offal-eater, I highly recommend adding this recipe to your repertoire!
And if you just can’t get used to the idea of eating beef heart, this is still delicious with beef stew meat.
Sweet Beef Heart Curry
8 med. onions
3 tbsp lard (or other cooking fat)
1kg/2.2lbs beef heart
2 bay leaves
3(+) garlic cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 tbsp curry powder (AIP curry or just 1 tbsp tumeric)
1 tsp salt
180ml/ 3/4cup unsweetened fruit puree/butter
Chop onions (pulsed a few times in a food processor will do that the quickest) and caramelize on low heat, about 15-20 min.
Slice beef heart – I found the best texture was to cut the heart vertically into one inch/2cm wide strips, then slice thinly. Turn heat up to medium and add to caramelized onions.
Add rest of ingredients, stir well. Cook on low with lid on until heart is tender, about two to three hours. Check occasionally and add water if the curry becomes too dry.
Serve over grains, or if you don’t eat grains, over cauliflower rice, zoodles, or even on it’s own.
Have you tried offal? If yes, what is your favourite? If no, would you consider it?