As usual, this year when we bought half a sheep for the freezer, we asked for any offal. I don’t like waste, and so each year we get a selection of perinephric fat for white puddings, as well as a selection of kidneys, liver and hearts. This year we got four hearts, each one had been lacerated on removal from the sheep, so we couldn’t stuff them. Instead, we braised them, with the stuffing on the top.
- 4 lamb hearts, washed in cold water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp lard
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 100g packet of smoked pancetta
- 5-6 tbsp brown breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp chopped suet
- 1/2 tsp dried sage
- grated rind of 1/2 lemon
- 1 egg, beaten
- salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse the lamb hearts in cold water, and use a sharp pair of scissors to cut away the fat that contains the arteries around the top of the heart. Remove the atria and valves as well.
- Put the hearts in a saucepan, cover with cold water, add 1 tsp salt, and simmer for 1 hour 30 minutes
- Heat the oven to 180C
- Meanwhile, chop the onion and pancetta finely, and fry in lard until well-cooked.
- Remove from the heat and mix in the breadcrumbs, herbs, lemon rind and the beaten egg. Add more crumbs if required to adjust the consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove the hearts from the pan, and reserve the remaining liquor. Slice them and put them in the bottom of a casserole dish.
- Spread the stuffing over the sliced hearts, and add around 300ml of the liquor. Put the lid on the dish and bake in the oven for 1 hour.
We had this with sprouts and mashed potato.
This recipe is probably not that authentic, but it is based on a US recipe for a Moroccan stew. I have adapted it to use locally available ingredients and metric measures. I feel very strongly that if we are to eat meat at all, it should be local, and there should be no waste. This ‘nose to tail’ approach covers ingredients that are not commonly available in supermarkets, but can be acquired locally, before they are discarded.
Before you start, be aware that this recipe requires marinating overnight, and a slow cook the next day, so not a quick cook. I managed to set the oven onto automatic, so it was ready when I came home.
- 6 lamb hearts
- 100ml good quality olive oil
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp fennel seed
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 100g sliced dried apricots
- 2 medium onions, sliced thickly
- 50g chopped black olives
- 500ml stock
- 4 large carrots (or squash or pumpkin or sweet potato) in 1 inch chunks
- Prepare the hearts. cut away the coronary arteries around the top of the heart, as well as the auricles (small flaps at the top) and then cut the muscle into 1 inch chunks, or as close as possible. Put them in a sealable container and add the marinade ingredients as you prepare them.
- Grind the fennel seed in a mortar and pestle, and add this to the lamb hearts along with the cumin, coriander and turmeric.
- Add the grated ginger, crushed garlic, olive oil and lemon juice. Mix well together. Seal the container and put it in the fridge overnight.
- The next day, slice the onions into thick slices. Fry in olive oil, over a low heat, for around ten minutes, until soft and brown, and transfer to a casserole dish.
- Remove the meat from the marinade, and fry in the same pan to brown it, and then add it to the casserole dish.
- Add the vegetables, stock, the marinade, cinnamon stick and bay leaves to the pan, and bring this to a simmer, check the seasoning, and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cover and cook at 180C for 2 hours. Remove the cover for the second hour, to reduce the gravy a little.
- I garnished this with chopped parsley and coriander.