This 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: