Posts Tagged ‘Heart’

So as you may or may not have noticed, I’ve haven’t really written anything in over a month now. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to; Writing has always given me a good way to de-stress and get my ideas out on the page when my brain works faster than I’d like it to. Work has just gotten super busy lately, and pretty much all of my free time has been taking up just trying to recuperate. On the plus side, being busy at work is something I really enjoy, and not something I’ve had since moving from the Burlington area last fall, so it’s nice to have that rush of adrenaline back into my daily routine. But I’ve been kicking myself for not keeping up with getting things written. I’ve still been plugging away at Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Cooking Challenge and if you’ve been following along on Instagram or Facebook, I’ve had some fun working up some recipes with Berries, Garlic, and Vanilla, as well as some Dim Sum and Charcuterie.

This week was an especially fun theme for the challenge: Inspired by Magic. This year we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the release of Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone in the UK, and on Monday the Boy Who Lived celebrated his 37th birthday. Growing up, I was immediately enthralled by the series. Vast, fantastic landscapes and settings, deep character development, and the exploration of ideas and lessons that still resonate to this day. I want to get a big, non-food-related piece written for the US 20th anniversary next year, but that’s still quite a way away.

The wizarding world is full of amazing foods; Pumpkin Pasties, Cauldron Cakes, Treacle Tarts, chocolates, candies, you name it. I’ve never had a super strong arsenal of dessert recipes, but in the past year or two I’ve definitely made some leaps and bounds. While desserts would have been a fairly easy route to go, I dug deep for a cool recipe that would kind of push my boundaries in a different direction.

The morning of Halloween, 1492, Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington was set to be executed, having attempted to cast a tooth-straightening spell on an assistant of King Henvry VII the previous evening. After 47 hacks into his neck with a blunt axe, Sir Nicholas’ head was left dangling from his body by no more than an inch of flesh. Returning as a ghost, “Nearly-Headless” Nick took up residence as the ghost of Gryffindor Tower at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry.

To commemorate his 500th Deathday, Sir Nicholas held a party and feast in “one of the roomier dungeons” at Hogwarts, inviting the main trio of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, as well as a host of notable deceased: the Bloody Baron, the Fat Friar, the Grey Lady, the Wailing Widow, Peeves and Moaning Myrtle. It would go without saying that ghosts can’t eat or taste food, so the menu consisted of food smelling so foul they could almost taste it: Moldy bread, stinking salmon, fungus-covered peanuts, and the pièce de résistance, Maggoty Haggis.


Haggis is one of those dishes that, whether or not you’ve eaten it, you’d probably assume is super disgusting. It kind of has that reputation of being a bunch of gross things (organ meats) stuffed into an even grosser thing (stomach) and cooked for a thousand years. I was lucky enough to get a bunch of offal from Howvale Farm, so I figured it was time to finally try this out for myself.

When it comes down to it, haggis is largely similar to black pudding: a loosely bound meat sausage with oats. I took lamb heart, liver and tongue and simmered them in a bit of beef stock until tender, then ground it together with some onion and spices. Oats and the cooking liquid bring it together into a workable dough (I don’t know if that’s the word I mean). Not having a stomach to stuff the mixture into, I baked it off like a meatloaf until browned and crispy.

Admittedly, I was certain that this was going to be as gross as it’s always made out to be. But one bite in and I was singing a different tune. Super savory, fatty, and delicious; Imagine if your favorite meatloaf had a baby with leftover Thanksgiving stuffing. As far as the “maggoty” aspect goes, I had a package of barbecue-seasoned larva that I got for Christmas, which provided a nice salty crunch. Now that I know how great this dish itself is, I think I’m going to start looking for a stomach to try it again.

makes 1 loaf

  • Liver*, 8 ounces
  • Heart*, 8 ounces
  • Tongue*, 8 ounces
  • Beef Stock, 2 quarts
  • Vidalia Onion, 4 each
  • Pork Lard or Beef Suet, 8 ounces, diced
  • Rolled Oats (not instant), 8 ounces
  • Sage, dried, 1 tablespoon
  • Allspice, ground, 2 tablespoons
  • Coriander, ground, 2 teaspoons
  • Kosher Salt & ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • Maggots, to garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 425F. In a medium-sized pot, combine heart, liver, tongue, 1 chopped onion and beef stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender. Remove meat from stock. Roughly chop heat and liver. Remove membrane from tongue and roughly chop. Process meat, 3 chopped onions and fat through medium die of a meat grinder**. Add oats and spices to meat mixture, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Add enough cooking liquid to the mixture to form a workable dough. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly grease. Transfer meat mixture to baking sheet and form into a tight loaf. Bake at 425F 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before slicing and serving.

*Organ meats from any animal can be used, but you want about 1.5lb total
**If you don’t have a meat grinder, you can also coarsly grind using a food processor



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This week has been hectic to say the least, so I’m creeping in this post right at the last minute. I’m lucky enough to be on the opening crew for Pascolo Ristorante, the newest installment from the locally renowned Farmhouse Group, and we’ve been super busy cranking out pastas, sauces and mountains of cheeses for hungry diners. Work life aside though, the 18th week of Reddit’s 52 Weeks of Cooking Challenge is here! This week’s theme: Peruvian Cuisine

As is usually the case with the 52 Weeks challenge, I haven’t had much exposure to Peruvian cuisine in the past, or really any of the various South American cuisines. Like many cuisines around the globe, Peruvian cuisine is indicative of it’s historical natives as well as modern immigrants. Drawing influences from the Spanish, Inca, Africans, and even the Chinese, the cuisine of Peru is truly a global melting pot. As with much of the world, Peru boasts street vendors aplenty, and a staple of the small carts are anticuchos, meat and vegetable skewers marinated in chiles and spices, then grilled over an open flame. These can be made with any number of meats, or even fish or just vegetables, but the most common form of anticuchos features beef or veal heart. Luckily, the local grocery store carries a wide array of offals, so I had the chance to pick up a heart and try my own Anticuchos de Corazon!


Heart is a weird muscle to work with. If you get the whole organ, you need to remove and sinue, excess fat and remaining valves before cooking it whatever way you choose. Luckily, the package I got was cleaned and ready to go. In Peru, aji panca is the chili of choice. With that not available here in the great white north, habanero works as an equal substitute. The pieces of heart of got an overnight marinade with olive oil, vinegar, spices and ground chilies, then skewered with red pepper and grilled until juicy and tender. Most people will shy away from organ meats at first glance, but beef heart especially carries such a rich beefy flavor that it’s definitely something to try given the opportunity. There’s a bit more of a chew to it than most cuts of beef, but if prepared properly can be incredibly tender and delicious. The flavor of the chilies came through really well in the marinade, without the strong burn that habaneros are known for. In Peru, anticuchos are typically served with roasted corn and/or potatoes, but I made mine for breakfast, so runny eggs were the perfect accompaniment.

Anticuchos de Corazon

makes 5-6 skewers

  • Habanero Chili, seeded, 2 each
  • Garlic, peeled, 2 cloves
  • Oregano, dried, 1 tablespoon
  • Kosher Salt, 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cumin Seeds, 1 teaspoon
  • Red Wine Vinegar, 1/4 cup
  • Olive Oil, 1/2 cup
  • Beef Heart*, cleaned, cut into chunks, 1 each
  • Red Bell Pepper, seeded, cut into chunks, 1 each

In a mortal and pestle or food processor, grind chilies, garlic, oregano, salt and cumin seed until a paste forms. Add vinegar and oil, mixing to combine. Coat beef chunks with marinade and allow to marinate overnight. Take wooden skewers and soak them in water overnight. Heat a grill to high heat. Make skewers alternating between beef and peppers. Grill skewers until beef is firm, but still yields juices when pressed, about 4-6 minutes on heat side.

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