I have to give a lot of thanks for fellow Mark's Daily Apple forum goer hannahc for allowing me to post her recipe for Bacon-Wrapped Beef Heart (and helping me kick-start the recipe section of my blog!) Sounds... AMAZING, doesn't it? To some in the US, definitely. To most, though? Unfortunately, probably not.
There is a lot of stigma in the United States about organ meats. I found my first bite of lengwa (cow tongue) to be... disturbing, but I quickly overcame it and it is now one of my favorite "cuts". Same with liver, though my own experiment with preparing it was not quite as successful as the restaurants, I'm afraid. Anyway, these were hard for me to eat because I had never eaten them before; strangely enough, things like pancreas, heart, brains, kidneys, liver... these, along with the glorious, glorious fat, are prized above all else in many (most) cultures. The organs and fat are where the majority of the vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients are stored in the body - how else does a lion get his daily dose of vitamin C? Eating a whole damn zebra is how.
Anywho, without further ado:
My first foray into offal was well...awful...liver and I did not get along! After buying a side of grass-fed beef last October, including a majority of all the organ meats from the animal, however, it was time to try once again.
It started with about 3 pounds of Beef Heart (how appropriate for the day before Valentine's Day :) :
Then I had to trim some of those arteries off the meat:
Next came the best part...wrapping the entire thing in one pound of bacon:
And now it is tied up with cooking twine, ready to go into the dutch oven:
Once in the dutch oven, I added sliced carrots, sliced yellow onion, 3/4 cup red wine, 3/4 cup hot beef stock, thyme/oregano/parsley/black pepper/bay leaves. After bringing the liquid to a boil on the stove, the entire thing went into the oven (lid on) for 4 hours at 350 degrees fahrenheit:
It looked and smelled AMAZING after four hours! :
I sliced it thinly, and this is the final plate:
It tasted great! Similar to any other roast, but the meat was a little bit...smoother I guess is the word I'd use. Very tender, and tasted much more like a roast or steak than like liver (which was a good thing). The bacon was a bit carmelized and delicious, and the sweetness of the carrots and onions permeated the entire dish. I only had one beef heart to work with, so I'm really glad it turned out so well! The leftovers will be amazing :)
It seems like a tough cut, so I think it really needs the long cooking time to help make the meat tender. I would definitely recommend it as an introduction to organ meats!