I have ventured into unknown territory for me… into a land I never thought I’d enter. I made a stew that had heart in it. Yes, actual heart. It was grass fed bison heart to be exact (though you can make this recipe with either bison or beef heart). And, of course, I used my trusty ol’ slow cooker.
I bought the grass fed bison heart many months ago and it sat in my freezer. Of course, it scared the dickens out of me as I had images flashing before my eyes of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – pictured below. But, as my repertoire of recipes increased to include other unusual things for me (grass fed tongue and grass fed liver), the heart didn’t seem as crazy as when I originally ordered it.
Turns out… the heart is just like any other cut for the most part. It’s actually both organ and muscle and as such, tastes like both to me. According to Odd Bits, the working muscles can have more flavor, heart included. I’d agree. It’s moderately mild in flavor, with a texture a bit like muscle meat but a flavor that has a bit of liver flavor. Liver is not my favorite, to be sure, but the heart was a) cut into tiny bites so you could swallow whole and bypass chewing if desired, b) the soup broth was amazing – I’ll make this ongoing as a tomato base sauce for almost anything, c) it was only faintly liver-like so no big deal, and d) I included grass fed ground bison as well for familiarity.
I would definitely make my Heart Stew over and over again. And then again. Kamea loved it, and Greg had seconds.
The heart I bought was not whole and arrived as 1 pound divided into two packages with some silverskin that I cut off. In cases like these (and really all cases), a sharp knife is your BFF in the kitchen.
I thawed the meat, opened up the packages, rinsed it under cold water, and set to cutting it. Below is a picture of how it looked after rinsing but before I did any cutting.
I cut off that silverskin stuff and then chopped the grass fed bison heart (or you can use grass fed beef heart) into small pieces… a “dice” size would probably be more accurate. Again, very easy with a very sharp knife. By keeping the bites tiny, they’re so much easier to get down in a first attempt at something like this.
Here is the recipe for my Heart Stew. It’s freakin’ really yum.
Heart Stew (Paleo Gluten Free)
Yield 4 to 6 servings
- 1 pound grass fed ground beef (or bison), seasoned with sea salt
- 1 pound grass fed bison (or beef) heart, seasoned with sea salt
- 1 quart homemade broth, unsalted (or water if you must)
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 (7 oz) jar organic tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons italian seasoning
- 1 pound organic cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup coconut aminos
- 1 bulb fennel, sliced
- 1 leek, white part only, sliced
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 pound yams or sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 bell peppers (red, orange, and/or yellow), seeded and chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped, for garnish
- 4 to 6 pats of grass fed butter, for stirring in before eating (optional, not paleo)
- sea salt, to season more as desired
- As mentioned above, rinse the grass fed heart and then trim the silverskin and/or sinew off the heart. Remove any blood clots. Chop the heart into small pieces and set aside next to the ground beef. (If your heart is whole, then slice it in half and clean the inside). Alternately, you can cut the heart into chunks like stew and then instead of adding a pound of ground beef, you can add a pound of grass fed stew beef.
- Blend the broth, mustard, garlic, tomato paste, seasoning, cherry tomatoes, and coconut aminos in the blender until fairly smooth.
- Place the veggies and bay leaf in a slow cooker (I used a 7 quart). Place the meats on top (crumble the ground beef).
- Pour the tomato sauce on top of the meat and vegetables.
- Set slow cooker to LOW for 6 to 8 hours, or HIGH for 4 to 6 hours. Cover and let cook.
- A couple of times during the cooking process, lift the lid and give it a quick stir.
- Serve Heart Stew in bowls with pats of butter on top and sprinkled with fresh organic basil.