First let me start by saying that as a child I was adamantly opposed to eating animals. I would ask my mom if the meat came from an animal or the grocery store. She had to say the grocery store or I wouldn’t eat it. That is a perfect example of how separated from our food sources we have become, and that was in the 1980’s. Up until a little over a year ago I barely touched meats. I am an animal lover, and also big on textures. It wasn’t until October of 2012 when I started researching ways to heal myself from autoimmunity that I discovered paleo eating. I slowly converted myself to eating real whole foods including pasture raised meats. What a difference it has made in my life, but more on that in the next post.
Well here I am in February 2013, a little over a year later…and I am cooking a beef heart. I never imagined in my wildest dreams I would be at this point. I’m sure my close friends will find it comical. My mom will be shocked, lol. My past self would be pretty disgusted. However, I swear I am not crazy!
Organ meats are extremely nutrient dense and healthy! The lady at the Farmer’s Market explained that it is a muscle just like the other cuts of meat. Plus…it only cost $3.00 so really helps when you are on a budget yet trying to eat healthy.
Mark Sisson describes different organ meats and the health benefits here
“Because it is a muscle meat, heart is very similar to steak, roasts and ground beef, but is typically less expensive (we blame the “ick” factor for that!) and actually has a higher protein content. In addition, heart is an excellent source of a number of nutrients, including thiamin, folate, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, CoQ10 and several of the B vitamins. In addition, beef heart contains amino acids that are thought to improve metabolism and compounds that promote the production of collagen and elastin (thin and wrinkle free? Sign us up!)”
I did not take on this endeavor on my own. I had my friend Steve (a cook) help me out with this one. He did all the cooking, I took pictures and watched/learned.
The heart was actually on the small side and my kids ended up eating almost the entire thing (I did try one bite…it tasted just like roast beef…not gamey at all and very moist). They loved it! Next time I will pick up a larger one, or 2 smaller ones to feed everyone.
Here is how we cooked it:
First I let the beef heart get to room temperature, and we patted it dry with a paper towel and added generous sea salt and pepper to both sides.
We diced a head of garlic, some carrots, mushrooms, potatoes and onions.
We braised the heart in a dutch oven on high heat for a few minutes to brown each side, and removed it from the pan.
We added the carrots and onions to the pan to “sweat them” with some more sea salt. Then we added the garlic and mushrooms. After that we added a couple TBS of tomato paste and mixed it up.
Next we put a hole in the center of the vegetables and added some beef broth (bone broth would work great…I just didn’t have any). We added a splash of brandy and lit it on fire to “burn” off the alcohol.
We also added some thyme and bay leaves
Then we put the heart nestled back on the vegetables, covered the pan, and put in in the oven at 250 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.
We removed it from the oven and let the flavors “marry” on the stovetop for an hour or so.
About 45 minutes before dinner-time I added some potatoes, brought it to a boil, covered and simmered until they were brown. The meat was in a foil tent during this time.
I thinly sliced the meat at an angle and served over the vegetables with the juices.
My kids devoured it. It was really delicious! So here’s to being brave and trying new things!