Cooking with Offals #1: Beef Heart

I know that there is a noticeable bias against eating offals. It is mostly either for health or hygiene reasons or its taste simply doesn’t match with your taste buds. I like to consider myself an adventurous eater and I will taste anything at least once. Additional to tasting, I also like to be adventurous in the kitchen by using risky ingredients and make them taste good even for the picky eaters. Anything that is cooked well might taste good and a good cook knows how to transform an ingredient into something anybody can enjoy. 


Offal: The edible internal organ of the animals


People eat all types of offals all around the world; liver, tongue, kidney, tendon, feet, ears, eyes, and even blood. There is no need to say that Asian countries lead the offal game by far but you see famous examples in the European countries as well. “Foie gras” is a fancy pate dish made of the liver of a duck or goose based in France. In Scotland, “Haggis” is a traditional dish that consists of many different offals of sheep in one dish. Here in Turkey, we also eat offal dishes like “Kokoreç” which is simply grilled sheep intestines with seasoning and chopped fresh vegetables. Other examples like “Kelle Söğüş” is a sheep head that’s is boiled and served cold and “İşkembe Çorbası” is a type of soup made of a tribe and egg-vinegar sauce. The common factor of all these dishes is that they are all considered as poor man’s food at a time or they are eaten as drunk food these days. Although these factors offals are gaining its popularity back again and we are starting to see them in the menus of fine dining restaurants as well.

So if you had a bad experience with tasting an offal dish I am sure none of these sound appealing to you. But there are many reasons why people polarize foods and it might derived from genetic, psychological, or social reasons. If your dislike of a specific food derived from one of the last two reasons, you still have a chance to like it at some point in your life. I will write a no-recipe-involved post about this later. 

If you feel a bit more convinced and excited to cook offals, let’s start with beef heart. A cow heart is equal to the size of a human head so it is safe to say one will feed at least 6 people if not 8. It is very high in protein -equal to white meat chicken- and it is very rich in vitamin B12 and Iron. The only health risk is that animal heart is high in cholesterol so it should be consumed in moderation in your diet.

After a few experiments on cooking heart, I could easily say that this marination recipe makes the meat taste and look just like beef. I also want to point out the oven baked potatoes in this recipe because I must have made at least four times this week just for snacking! It is amazingly crunchy and light comparing to deep fry. If you try to avoid deep-fry but still want to enjoy crispy carbs, I am sure you will like this method.


Main Elements of the Dish

Meat& Marination

Marination is a must in this type of recipe. Sour-sweet ingredients give a kick into the marination and it helps to remove the heavy taste of the offal. You don’t have to follow the exact recipe to having a perfect result, you can skip or alternate some ingredients or even add some extras according to your taste. The ideal way is to marinate the meat overnight but if you are short in time, I suggest you marinate for at least 3 hours in the fridge.

Oven-Baked Potatoes

These oven-baked potatoes are a bit high in carbs yet still very crunchy and very low in fat. The mixture of flour and baking powder creates a natural crust on the skin corn flour is gives extra crunch. You could add extra herbs or spices if you like but it is quite tasty as it is. 

Sauce

A specialty of Argentina and Uruguay, this fresh green sauce is perfect with any type of grilled meat. It is easy, it is fast and it is delicious. It is also perfect the next morning on your toast 🙂 You could play with the herbs and the spices on this one as well.



Grilled Beef Heart, Oven Baked Potatoes& Chimichurri Sauce

Grilled beef heart, oven baked potato fries, chimichurri sauce, baby turnip and yellow mustard

 Ingredients

  • 500-gram beef heart

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Black pepper, ground 


  • 3 big potatoes
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt, pepper

  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tbsp oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small shallot
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

 Instructions

  • If you have a full heart on hand, make sure you cut it open and trim all the fatty and veinlike ventricles visible on the outside. Slice it into steak-like pieces. Otherwise you can simply ask to your butcher to clean and slice the heart.

  • In a large, deep bowl mix all the ingredients needed for the marination. Place the slices of heart into the bowl and let it marinate in the fridge overnight.
  • The next day, take the meat off the marination and pat it dry. Keep it in the fridge while you prepare the sauce and the potatoes. 

  • Wash and scrub the skin of the potatoes. Slice them as you like, rinse and dry with a towel. 
  • In a large bowl, mix the flour, cornflour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and sliced potatoes and give it a mix. Make sure the potatoes are coated with all the dry ingredients. 
  • Preheat your oven in 200C/400F degrees. Place a baking paper on an oven tray and spread the coated potatoes in one layer. Pour the olive oil all over the potatoes equally.
  • Bake the potatoes for 30-40 mins until they are fully cooked and golden brown. In the middle of the baking, turn the potatoes inside out with the help of a spatula.

  • For the sauce, bring all the ingredients into a food processor except for shallot. Give them a mix until it becomes like a paste. 
  • Finely hand-dice the shallot and mix it with the sauce.

  • It is now time to cook the heart. In a skillet, pour 3 tbsp olive oil and bring the heat on high. After the pan is hot, place the hearts and cook both sides for 4-5 minutes or until the skin is crispy and dark in color.
  • Let the meat rest at room temperature for 5 mins and then slice it into pieces. Serve the sauce on top of the meat and fries.

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