Planning on Cooking Beef Heart for Valentine's Day
It's my second valentine's day with my boyfriend, and the first one we'll be able to spend together. I've decided to rise up to the challenge and cook a beef heart. He'll totally get a kick out of it, I'll love the challenge, and I'm sure it will become an instant legend amongst our friends.
Has anyone ever cooked a beef heart? I've heard it's very lean and should be either grilled over a hot flame quickly or braised for a long time. I'm leaning towards cutting it into slices, marinating and then grilling. Does anyone have experience with beef heart?
Also, what flavors and side do you think would go well with beef heart (i've heard it's very "beefy")? I was thinking of serving it with one richer side (like great northern beans or a some kind of starch with cheese), and one more acidic side, like an arugula salad. I know Michael Rulhman served his on a salad with an herb vinaigrette (http://ruhlman.com/2011/08/how-to-coo...) but I feel like because it's winter I'll want something warm and a little heavier.
Anyway, lemme know if you have technique and pairing ideas. This is my first venture into offal other than liver, so it should be fun. Also, I think I just want to do one course (and buy dessert or something), and I don't want to do anything too formal. Just fun and tasty and heart-centric.
Since you've never cooked it before (or eaten it, from what I gather) you might want to do a dry run ahead of time.
I wouldn't refuse it if it were served to me at someone's home, but I found it a bit chewy for my preference, and wouldn't go out of my way to have it again.
A really good filet mignon or nice steaks might make an even bigger impression (aside from the slightly sick humor, which I can appreciate)...
There are tons of recipes out there for stuffed and baked Beef heart, although I have never tried any myself.
I have however some years ago cooked a large Beef heart for the purpose of feeding the finely cut strips to my then good size Cichlids ( Tropical Fish), since Beef heart is very lean as mentioned and can be used to resemble "natural food"( cough cough) that way. It did bring on the breeding color in my fish... ;-)
Anticuchos are tasty, and an easy way to prepare beef heart. If there's a Peruvian restaurant near you, you could order them to see if you like beef heart prepared that way.
Or make beef heart tacos: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/765529
Also see this thread from last year: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/783393
thread from 2010: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/701924
braised beef heart: http://unabuonaforchetta.blogspot.com...
Beef heart's texture is very chewy (becomes less chewy through slow braising) compared to standard cuts of beef, but I don't find that it has the strong (as in stinky) flavour found in liver & kidneys.
I would suggest getting veal(calf) hearts. They are a bit more mild than Beef hearts. My kids, who hate the too tender meat in pot roast love veal heart stew. I buy sliced hearts and cut them into cubes. I braise them as I would beef for pot roast. I like to use a good red wine, beef broth, a little tomato paste and various herbs. I don't have a written reipe but any pot roast recipe is good. I also like to add sliced sauted mushrooms. I serve it over noodles or mashed potatoes. My kids love the fact that the meat has a chew to it. It's a very inexpensive dish to make.
I occasionally make grilled heart on a skewer. I find the taste very similar to other cuts of beef (steak), maybe a touch "stronger" or perhaps "gamy", but not overly so. As others point out, its the texture; tough.
I like your arugula salad idear.