Braised Beef Heart

The raw beef heartThis was my first time cooking beef heart.  My logic was this:  “Heart, while offal, is a muscle, not a gland.  A hard working muscle, at that.  I guess I’ll braise it.”

In hindsight, probably not the best way to cook beef heart.  The final dish was okay: it was tender, but a bit dry.  This makes sense, as heart has no intramuscular fat, and I trimmed away what little fat there was on the outside.

The heart’s texture really surprised me.  Raw heart has no visible grain, almost as if it were a very firm, nebulous liver.  A few people had told me that heart is not a very “organy” meat.  Michael Ruhlman goes so far as to say that braised heart is similar to brisket, but I didn’t find this to be the case, not even remotely, brisket being extremely fatty and coarsely-grained.

Next time I’ll definitely try a quick, dry-heat cook to mid-rare.

Anyways: a quick description of the procedure.  I cleaned the heart thoroughly, removing all connective tissue and valves and whatnot, and cut the meat into large cubes.  I seared the meat aggressively in a pan, after which I cooked onions and garlic.  Finally I deglazed the pan with beer.  I usually use some form of “brown beer” to braise beef, either English brown ale or Belgian pale.  This time I tried a doppelbock.  The chocolate malt flavour worked well.  The pot simmered gently for two or three hours, until the heart was fork tender.  I added some herbs for the last fifteen minutes.

Served with bread and butter dumplings and some wilted beet greens:

 

Braised beef heart, beet greens, and dumplings

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