How To Cook Beef Heart

How To Cook Beef Heart

Table of Contents

Beef heart, a culinary treasure celebrated across various cultures, is much more than just an unconventional choice of meat. Despite its uniqueness, it offers a medley of flavors and an impressive nutritional profile.

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a home cook looking to expand your culinary horizons, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know about cooking beef heart to perfection.

How To Cook Beef Heart

Preparing Beef Heart for Cooking:

Before you delve into the art of cooking beef heart, it’s crucial to understand its preparation:

  • Cleaning: Start by washing the beef heart under cold water to remove any blood and impurities. It’s vital to ensure that the organ meat is clean before cooking.
  • Trimming: While beef heart is naturally lean, it may have a layer of fat or connective tissue on its surface. Use a sharp knife to trim off these sections to ensure a smoother texture and better taste.
  • Marinating: Given the robust nature of its muscles, marinating the beef heart can introduce flavors and tenderize the meat. Consider a mix of acidic components like vinegar or citrus juice combined with your choice of herbs and spices.

Versatile Cooking Techniques:

There are numerous ways to bring out the delicious essence of beef heart, each offering its distinct touch:

  • Grilling: Perfect for those who love a charred exterior and a tender inside. Season the heart slices, ensuring even coverage, and grill them for 2-3 minutes on each side. The result? A smoky delight that’s hard to resist.
  • Slow cooking: Slow cooking is your best bet if you’re aiming for a fall-apart texture. Place your beef heart in a crockpot, adding a flavorful broth, aromatic herbs, and spices. Let it simmer low for 6-8 hours for an unbeatable tenderness.
  • Instant Pot Cooking: Short on time? An Instant Pot offers the benefit of pressure cooking, which retains moisture and cooks the heart efficiently. Season, add a cup of broth, and set it to cook under pressure for 40-45 minutes.

How To Cook Beef Heart

Beef Heart Across the Globe:

Across continents, beef heart dishes stand as a testament to the organ meat’s global appeal:

In Peru, ‘anticuchos’ are skewered heart pieces marinated in spices and perfectly grilled. Russia boasts of ‘shashlik,’ a similar skewered dish often enjoyed during social gatherings.

In Asia, beef heart often finds its way into stews and soups, enriched with local herbs and spices.

Nutritional Excellence:

Choosing beef heart is a culinary experiment and a nutritional investment. It’s an excellent source of:

  • Coenzyme Q10: Supports heart health and energy production.
  • B Vitamins: Essential for various body functions, including metabolism and brain health.
  • Iron and Zinc: Vital minerals for immune function and oxygen transport.

Perfect Pairings:

Enhance your beef heart dishes by pairing them with the following:

Roasted root vegetables or a crisp salad offer a balanced meal. A rich red wine, like Cabernet Sauvignon, can elevate your dining experience.

Tips and Considerations:

Always purchase beef hearts from trusted suppliers or butchers who guarantee freshness and quality. If not cooking immediately, store in the refrigerator for up to two days or freeze for a longer shelf life.

How To Cook Beef Heart

Where to Buy Beef Heart Near Me?

To source beef heart:

  • Local Butchers: Traditional butchers often carry a range of refuse, including beef hearts. Establishing a relationship with local butchers can also give you insights into the meat’s quality and source.
  • Farmers’ Markets: Local farmers often sell organ meats at farmers’ markets. Buying from them ensures freshness and supports local agriculture.
  • Specialty Stores: Some ethnic or specialty food markets offer diverse meats, including beef heart.
  • Online Retailers: Many online platforms deliver fresh or frozen beef hearts straight to your doorstep. Always read reviews and ensure the seller is reputable.

Raw Beef Heart Nutrition Facts:

A raw beef heart is a nutritional powerhouse:

  • Calories: Approximately 112 per 100 grams.
  • Protein: Around 17 grams per 100 grams, making it a high-quality protein source.
  • Fat: About 4 grams per 100 grams, mainly healthy fats.
  • Vitamins & Minerals: Rich in B vitamins, iron, selenium, phosphorus, and zinc.
  • Coenzyme Q10: An essential compound that supports heart function and energy production.

Beef Heart Consumption: Safety and Amounts

Eating beef heart is generally safe for most individuals. It’s a lean organ meat with a wealth of nutrients. However, it’s recommended to consume organ meats like beef heart once or twice a week to balance nutrient intake.

The Fat on Beef Heart:

The fat on beef heart can be consumed, but it’s generally trimmed for a smoother texture in dishes. However, if you prefer, leaving it on can add extra flavor, especially when grilling or frying.

Cooking Beef Heart on a Stove:

Flash Fry (Steak-Style):

  • Slice beef hearts into thin steaks after trimming and cleaning.
  • Heat a skillet over high heat, add a touch of oil.
  • Season the slices with salt, pepper, and other preferred seasonings.
  • Once the skillet is hot, place the slices and sear on each side for 1-2 minutes. Aim for a slight char, but keep the inside tender.
  • Cleaning, Soaking, and Tenderizing
  • Cleaning: As addressed earlier, cleaning involves rinsing the beef heart and trimming excess fat and connective tissue.
  • Soaking: Some cultures soak beef hearts in acidulated water (vinegar or lemon juice) to remove residual blood and gamey taste. Soak for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator.
  • Tenderizing: Marinades with acidic ingredients help tenderize the meat. Pounding the heart with a mallet can also break down muscle fibers for a softer texture.

Storage and Shelf-Life:

Fresh beef hearts can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. You can freeze beef hearts for up to 3 months for longer storage. Ensure it’s wrapped tightly to avoid freezer burn.

What to Serve with Beef Heart?

Beef heart’s rich, meaty taste pairs well with:

  • Vegetables: Steamed vegetables or a fresh salad.
  • Grains: Quinoa, rice, or barley offer a wholesome meal.
  • Wines: Consider a robust red wine or a crisp white, depending on the beef heart preparation.

Traditional and Other Cooking Methods:

Every culture has traditional beef heart dishes, like the Peruvian ‘anticuchos.’ However, a generic recipe involves marinating heart slices in a mix of traditional spices, grilling or frying them, and serving with a savory sauce.

Slice or cube the beef heart, season, and place it in a roasting pan. Roast at 350°F (175°C) for 30 minutes or until tender. Season beef heart slices, put them in the air fryer basket, and cook at 375°F (190°C) for 10 minutes, turning midway.

Beef Heart and Pets:

Beef hearts are nutritious and beneficial for dogs when given in moderation and as part of a balanced diet. Always consult your veterinarian before introducing new foods to your pet’s diet.

Expert Tips from a Dietitian:

Incorporate beef heart as part of a diverse diet to ensure a range of nutrients. If possible, opt for organically raised cattle for beef heart. Organ meats tend to concentrate substances so that organic options might have fewer contaminants.

While beef heart is nutritious, consuming it in moderation is still essential, balancing with other protein sources.

Cooking Beef Heart: Recipes and Steps

1. Herbed Beef Heart Kabobs

Ingredients:

  • One beef heart, cleaned and cut into 2-inch cubes
  • Three garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Skewers (metal or wooden soaked in water)

Instructions:

  • Combine garlic, parsley, cilantro, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl.
  • Add the beef heart cubes, ensuring they’re well coated with the marinade. Let them marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Thread the marinated beef heart cubes onto skewers.
  • Preheat a grill or grill pan on medium-high heat. Grill the kabobs for 2-3 minutes on each side or until your desired level of doneness.
  • Serve with a side of tzatziki or mint yogurt dip.

2. Beef Heart Tacos with Avocado Cream:

Ingredients:

  • One beef heart, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • One onion, finely chopped
  • Three garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Corn tortillas
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish

Avocado Cream:

  • One ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt to taste

Instructions:

  • In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, cooking until translucent.
  • Add beef heart slices, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. Cook until the meat is browned and cooked through.
  • For the avocado cream: Blend avocado, sour cream, lime juice, and salt until smooth.
  • Assemble tacos with beef heart mixture, topped with avocado cream, and garnished with fresh cilantro.
  • 3. Asian-inspired Beef Heart Stir-Fry

Ingredients:

  • One beef heart, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • One bell pepper, julienned
  • One carrot, julienned
  • Three green onions, chopped
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced
  • Two garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp chili flakes (optional)
  • Toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Instructions:

  • Heat sesame oil in a wok or large frying pan over high heat. Add ginger and garlic, sautéing briefly.
  • Add beef heart slices, cooking quickly until they begin to brown.
  • Add bell pepper, carrot, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and chili flakes. Stir-fry for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Toss in green onions just before turning off the heat.
  • Garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Serve over jasmine or basmati rice.
  • 4. Slow-cooked Mediterranean Beef Heart Stew

Ingredients:

  • One beef heart, cleaned and cut into chunks
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • One onion, chopped
  • Three garlic cloves, minced
  • One can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • One bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions:

  • In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, cooking until soft.
  • Brown beef heart chunks in the same pot.
  • Add tomatoes, red wine, beef broth, oregano, basil, bay leaf, salt, and pepper.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and let it simmer for 2-3 hours until the meat is tender and flavors meld.
  • Stir in Kalamata olives during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley before serving. This stew pairs beautifully with mashed potatoes or crusty bread.

Personal Takeaways and More:

Cooking beef hearts for the first time can be an adventure. Embrace the experience, enjoy the unique flavors, and appreciate its nutritional benefits. Beef heart has a robust, meaty flavor, somewhat similar to steak but with its distinct touch.

Beyond nutrition, beef heart is sustainable, using all parts of the animal and reducing waste. As mentioned, store fresh beef hearts in the refrigerator and consume within two days. For tender results, marinate or slow-cook.

Beef heart goes well with roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, or fresh salads. The key is to balance its rich flavor with lighter sides.

Final Thought:

Embracing beef hearts in your culinary repertoire is a journey of flavors, traditions, and nutrition. Whether grilled, stewed, or pressure-cooked, it promises an enriching and delicious experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is beef heart high in cholesterol?

While beef heart contains cholesterol, its benefits often outweigh concerns, especially when consumed as a balanced diet.

Can I substitute beef heart in regular meat recipes?

Absolutely! While the texture and taste might vary slightly, beef hearts can be a unique substitute in many traditional recipes.

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