Heart

 

PREPARING HEART FOR PAN-FRYING

Heart has a firm texture and rich flavour, but it can be tough if not properly handled. To prepare heart, trim away any visible fat. After removing the tubes, cut away any sinew with kitchen scissors. Rinse the heart and pat dry with paper towels before slicing.

1. Cut off the tubes from the top of the heart using a chef's knife.

2. Cut the heart in half lengthwise and then cut it into slices or cubes.

STUFFING HEART

The natural cavity in a heart can be filled with a variety of stuffings. All hearts can be stuffed, but large beef hearts should be skewered or tied to retain their shape during cooking. Heart is lean so requires slow cooking, stewing or braising, to keep it moist. Each stuffed heart will serve 2, apart from beef heart, which serves 4.

1. Follow step 1 above. Cup the heart firmly in one hand and spoon stuffing into the cavity; press down firmly.

2. Thread 2-3 wooden skewers through the top edge of the heart to secure the stuffing during cooking.

STUFFINGS FOR HEART

Ensure stuffings are full of flavour and moist enough to withstand long cooking times. Season the heart inside and out with salt and pepper before stuffing.

• Mix together sautéed chopped mushrooms, onion and bacon seasoned with fresh herbs. Wrap the heart with bacon before securing with wooden cocktail sticks or a skewer.

• Fill with an Asian-style mixture of cooked rice, dried fruits and exotic spices.

• Combine olives, tomatoes, shredded basil leaves, a little wine with a hint of garlic.

• Soak bread in milk, then fork together with chopped onion and fresh sage for a classic combination.

• Flavour minced pork or sausagemeat with a selection of Thai seasonings - ginger, lemon grass, lime juice and chilli.

SAFETY FIRST

Offal needs careful handling, and freshness is crucial. Choose moist and shiny flesh with no dry patches; avoid offal with a greenish colour, slimy surface or strong smell. Store fresh offal in the refrigerator and use within two days. Wash all offal very thoroughly before using.