Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Cooking my First Beef Heart
Last week I finally cooked my first beef heart. I have to say it was very tasty... but it was also tough as shoe leather. In retrospect, the toughness was due to cook's error. Imagine that!
I can see I will need to learn to do many steps in cooking a bit differently with some of the newer ingredients I am trying. For example, I tried to brown the heart in bite-size chunks after marinating several hours. I knew the moment they hit the hot pan they would be tough, because they immediately puckered up... but it was too late.
The heart came frozen and cut almost fully in two. I assume that was so the butcher could remove most of the large vessels. First I rinsed the heart well, then soaked it in cold salted water for about an hour.
Taking it out of the soaking water, I rinsed it well again, dried it with paper toweling, and put it in a zip-lock bag with a cup and a half of merlot. Because some bags tend to leak, I put the bag in a shallow dish before refrigerating. (I chose a merlot rather than a burgundy for the marinade because I have read beef heart flavor can be stout.) The heart marinated about 4 hours, and was turned about once an hour.
Taking it out of the marinade, I removed the remainder of the large vessel walls with my fillet knife (not shown in photo), and cut the muscle into 1" cubes, more or less. I had decided I was going to cook it along the lines of a Beef Bourguignon, and in fact I used basically the same method and ingredients a la Julia Child.
Next, of course... the mistake of high temp browning... and after that I followed the recipe more or less.
My hopes were that slow cooking would tenderize the puckered cubes; alas, it was not to be. I have a second one in the freezer but I'll have to think long and hard on how I will cook it. Before this I had only cooked chicken hearts and they can be tough too... and equally tasty!