When I asked the guy behind the counter at Whole Foods if they had a beef heart he looked as if he’d like to gag, but he went and looked for one in the back. My recipe calls for a veal heart weighing 1 kg but I got half a beef heart weighing 3-1/4 lbs and used half of that. I am trying to eat more organ meats as they are supposed to be so good for you, but I have to work at getting over the yuck factor in order to do so. I figured that in a stew heart would seem pretty much like regular beef cuts–it is a muscle after all. This recipe is pretty much a straight translation of “Coeur de Veau Braise aux Carottes” on p 161 of Les Recettes Faciles de Francoise Bernard. This is like The Joy of Cooking of France–the basic cookbook that you receive when you get married. Everyone seems to have it. This is considered an easy and inexpensive recipe.
1 veal heart (I used 1/4 beef heart)
1 shallot (the original recipe called for 2 onions, but I didn’t want to eat so much onion)
3 Tbs butter or other fat
1 kg carrots
2 stalks celery
1 clove garlic
bouquet garni (parsley, thyme, bay leaf)
1 quart broth (the original recipe calls for water)
Francoise Bernard tells you to ask the tripier to remove the tough membranes from the interior of the heart. I didn’t get it from a tripier (tripe butcher) so I removed the tough bits and silverskin from the heart myself and chopped it into small pieces. Brown the meat in several batches. Chop the shallot and saute it for a couple of minutes while you chop the carrots and celery. Return the meat to the pot along with the carrots, celery, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper and cover with liquid. I used broth for a richer and healthier option, but water would work too. Bring to a boil on the stove top, cover and place in a 300 F oven for about 2 hours. Remove the bouquet garni before serving.
The stew was tender and savory. Beef heart is rich in iron, phosphorus, copper and selenium, and it is a good source of B vitamins and Coenzyme Q10.