For months now, I’ve had beef heart on my list of recipes to try.
And for months now, every time I opened the freezer or looked at my beef inventory sheet, I’d be reminded that I still had not one, but 2 beef hearts that were patiently waiting to be used up. I mean it is one thing to tell your farmer to send you EVERY POSSIBLE EDIBLE part from your carcass when you purchase your animal, but one actually has to consume said parts for this “nose-to-tail” practice to be effective…
And sooooo, after all this time, I finally worked up the courage to give beef heart a try… I’m not sure that I would’ve done it, though, had it not been for a brilliantly illustrated Stuffed Beef Heart Recipe which I found in The Paleo Approach Cookbook by Sarah Ballantyne, author of the super popular blog: The Paleo Mom. Sarah made it look so good that I actually WANTED to try it! I looked forward to it, even though I was still very much wary of what it might taste like. I really didn’t know what to expect, but for sure, I figured it would be tough and very strong in flavor, a bit like liver, you know.
Still, I figured there was only one way to find out, so out of the freezer came the scary beast.
And this, is what a beef heart looks like. It’s not that ugly, is it?
Or scary, for that matter…
Theoretically, the muscle should have been cut open, inspected and cleaned by your butcher before to be made available for purchase. So really, what you’ll be faced with is a relatively lean and clean piece of meat.
Still, you’ll want to give it a quick rinse under cold running water and then pat it really dry.
Even though it has been cleaned, there will probably be a few visible strings, arteries and/or blood vessels that have been left behind. Simply cut these out with a sharp blade. They come off very easily and aren’t even the tiniest bit slimy.
Nothing to be afraid of…
Next, trim off the excess fat, if any. You could also try and remove that silver lining if you wanted to, but honestly, I didn’t even bother and couldn’t even tell that it was there after the roast was cooked.
Alright, set that piece of meat aside for the time being… time to work on the stuffing!
In a large skillet set over medium heat, cook the bacon until nice and crispy then remove it to a plate but leave all that beautiful fat in pan.
Next, add the onion, mushrooms salt and pepper to the pan and cook until softened and fragrant, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Stir in the cinnamon and nutmeg, then throw in the spinach, crispy bacon and chopped garlic.
Stir well until the spinach is completely wilted and then continue cooking until all the liquid at the bottom of the pan has evaporated (spinach has a tendency to render a fair amount of water, you know).
Let that cool for a couple of minutes.
Now preheat your oven to 275ºF
Lay the beef heart fatty side down on a work surface; spoon the stuffing over it and then spread it all the way to the edge.
I bet you can tell that my stuffing was still fairly hot, judging by all the steam that’s emanating from it. So really, if like me, you’re not the patient kind, there’s no need to let it cool for all that long… Just make sure that your fingers can handle the heat!
Now for the fun part!
Roll the beef heart onto itself and tie it up with a few strands of butcher’s twine.
You might want to run one piece across lengthwise and 2 to 3 strands crosswise.
And if like me you end up with a little too much stuffing, don’t worry about it. Just hang on to it and reheat it later in a small skillet to serve alongside the roast.
Melt a fair amount of cooking fat in a large oven-safe skillet set over scorching high heat. Sear the beef heart for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until a nice golden crust forms.
When the meat is nicely seared all around, transfer the skillet to the oven and cook the beef heart uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes per pound, depending on desired doneness, as in rare to medium-rare.
I cooked mine for barely 15 minutes per pound and I found it to be absolutely PERFECT!
Remove the roast from the oven, tent it loosely with aluminum foil and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Can you honestly say that this does not look good?
Well, you know what? It actually is just as good as it looks, if not more!
Beef heart is very lean, therefore it has a bit of a tougher texture, something similar to a well done steak, but it remains fairly tender, still… honestly, it has an extremely agreeable texture.
And the flavor? It’s NOTHING like I expected. It has an extremely mild and delicate flavor, somewhat close to that of roast beef.
As skeptical as I was, I can now honestly say that I am totally sold on beef heart. So far, as far as offal and organ meats are concerned, it is by far and without a doubt my ultimate favorite. I actually look forward to eating the other one, now. And I think I’ll be revisiting this exact same recipe. Because yes, it was that good!
I dare you to give it a try!