Since shopping at the market (Castle Market and then the Moor Market) I have wanted to cook a beef heart. After cooking with chicken and lamb hearts, I know how delicious this piece of offal can be but the beef heart always looked a little threatening thanks to its sheer size!
However, a combination of events resulted in me finally making my beef heart purchase yesterday morning – the purchase of a slow cooker a few months ago, a chat with Dean’s Family Butchers when strolling round the market with @BeaTheTree last week and a tweet from @BridgetEvans42 about her ox heart pie on Friday. All these events encourage me to finally take the plunge this weekend and I’m rather pleased that I did!
I picked up my beef heart from Dean’s Family Butchers in Moor Market for the bargainous price of £3.99. I can’t remember how much it is a kilo, but I think it was about £2.50 or so, which ensured that I had a rather lotta heart for my money.
Once home I soaked it in cold water to rid it of any blood that may be lurking in the valves. To be honest, I’m not sure I needed to bother with this as the heart was pretty clean. I also snipped away at a valve or two, but I kept the fat on (hearts are super lean) so there was actually very little prep to do.
I had already decided that I was going to slow cook my new purchase for a number of reasons, but mostly because using the slow cooker meant that we could go to the pub for the afternoon and because the lean meat would benefit from a slow braise.
I kept things simple and threw a couple of onions, four cloves of garlic, three carrots, three sticks of celery (all chopped up), a couple of bay leaves, some fresh thyme and a tin of tomatoes into my slow cooker and placed my beef heart on top. I then added a bottle of cheap red wine (yes, I know I should only use wine good enough for drinking when cooking, but this is supposed to be a cheap dish and I had one lurking around) and a litre of hot beef stock. I then cooked it for about eight hours on the auto setting.
|The heart had a long split in it, so I could spread it open, butterfly style.|
On returning from the pub I wasn’t too sure how I was going to serve my heart; my only plan was to use some leftover veggies and mash I’d dug out from the freezer the night before (I’ve started freezing all leftover veg from a roast – not only does it save money – it comes in VERY handy at times like this as I just need to zap it in the microwave for a bit).
I kinda thought that I would also serve it up with some of the veg cooked with the heart, but on inspection, I decided not to bother as it was all too soft and ‘samey’ tasting. So I strained off the cooking stock and boiled some of it up on the hob, adding some gravy browning to thicken it into a rather tasty gravy. Now at this point I realise (thanks to @jjcaters4) that I should have added some Hendo’s, but I didn’t (please forgive me – I had spent all afternoon in the pub!).
I also have to apologise for the lack of pictures (again, I had spent all afternoon in the pub), but I can assure you it was delicious. The meat is quite compact (if that makes sense) thanks to the lack of fat, but it was still soft and tender after the long and slow cook. The taste was slightly offaly but the beef flavour came through strongly. I would say that if you’re sceptical about most offal, but like chicken livers, this would work for you. And let’s face it, at £3.99 a pop, there isn’t much to lose…!
And, I got an insane amount of meat from my heart. Aside from feeding us last night, I have enough for another lunch today, sandwiches for the next couple of days and seven portions for the freezer! I’m not sure how I’m going to use the frozen portions, but I suspect there may be a few more sandwiches and a stir fry or two.
We’ve just had lunch – slices of heart served with mash, kale and more of that gravy. It was delicious (a perfect lunch for a dreary day like today) and I remembered the Hendo’s this time… and I took a picture!
I made gravy with the rest of the cooking stock and I now have about a litre of tasty, ready made gravy to go into the freezer. Bargain.