Friday, November 13, 2009


Organ meats. How does a person begin a blog about eating viscera? By telling a story! Out hiking/working with my friend we were discussing the best recipes for deer, butchering strategies, and whatever. He asked what I did with the liver and heart. Nothing! The ravens got that icky part. Stricken, he wondered why I would throw out the best part of the deer. (I then remembered about our work trip to Portland where he spent most of the time looking for sweetbreads.)

This conversation then devolved into Why-women-hate-organ-meat-and-men-love-it. You know, typically field work talk. I salted this away until Tuesday when my old man and I were looking at my new cookbook, I Know How to Cook, he began talking about venison heart and liver (He'd just shot a really big deer with an appropriately large heart). Why not? We decided. Life's to short to leave perfectly good meat in the woods.

Wednesday I went into work and he went out hunting in a "new" spot. I left work early, and was hunkering down with a sammich and beer when I heard our exhaust-leaking car scream up our hill. Sure enough, he was home with a pack fulla deer. Complete with heart. No liver because, "It looked gross."

Our first heart. Couldn't this be a valentine?

The heart was cleaned and placed in a bowl with 1 tsp of salt overnight. It really looked like a meat if you got past the part where it had valves and chambers. OVERSHARE ALERT: in 7th grade my friend, Merissa, were chosen to dissect sheep/lamb hearts for a science project. This little foray into eating one reminded me of our heart-on-a-stick dance from those heady times.

Cleaning the heart (mostly scraping the fat and pericardium off)

X-section of a deer heart

Thursday, we ate heart. Now, I fully admit to kind of ruining it by cooking it a bit wrong. In my defense it was my first heart and all the recipes said to braise it for a long time with wine or broth. I will do it better next time.
Browning the heart with shallots

Braising Heart

I sliced the heart into about 1/2 inch strips, browned them in a pan with shallots and garlic, added about 1 cup of red wine and a sprig of rosemary and let it cook for about 30 minutes. I think the rosemary was a bit much and the red wine turned the meat into an unfortunate color (tDF called it coyote scat). BUT, it was nice. Way nicer than eating a critical organ should be.
tDF saying something saucy, to be sure.

Cooked meat. Looking less than yummy.

When cut open, isn't it better?

Next time I'll use a light broth or white wine for the braising liquid, no rosemary and dredge the slices in flour before browing.

Calling my brother to brag about my gateway organ meat, he reminded me that I have eaten heart before. In France. They were duck hearts stuffed with Foie Gras. Also, I ate an astronomical amount of foie gras that trip (also an organ meat). Dang it. I guess this is my first organ meat I've prepared.

Anybody got any good recipes for heart? I'm all ears.

ETA: when I hit publish for this, a little google ad came up for deer butchering DVDs and a Cabela's camo plug. Am I on a redneck list now? Frack.


  1. i once ate some delicious cow heart. it was skewered, brushed with olive oil and cooked on a grill. i didn't know it was heart at the time, but it remains to this day the most delicious meat i've ever eaten. keep it classic?

  2. FYI, I have that photo of you and Merissa - mawwwwwwwwwww