Valentine lamb’s heart? What a disgusting idea I hear some of you say. Offal is not something most people would associate with Valentine’s day but the play on the heart thing was something that appealed to my slightly dark sense of humour.
In an ideal world, I would consider veganism. I feel a guilty pang sometimes and wish my body could be properly nourished on nuts and berries alone. I’ve tried it and it wasn’t good. I simply don’t have the strength or integrity to live a vegan lifestyle. And selfish as it is, I believe meat to be healthy for me and have landed on the carnivorous side of the fence, opting for good quality, local meat where possible.
I do really enjoy eating meat though, so it would be a great disappointment to give it up entirely, as ethically unsound as it may be. I love the idea that one day we could grow steaks (and hearts) in the lab without any animals being exploited. We’re not there yet – perhaps that’s a good thing.
My little compromise that eases the guilt a bit, is that I’m a big believer of the ‘nose to tail’ approach to meat eating. If you are going to kill an animal, don’t just eat the muscle meats and waste the rest. We come from an ancient tradition of eating and making use of the whole animal and if I’m going to subscribe to the meat eating world then I feel I need to do my bit and buy meat from well reared animals that have grazed in the sunshine and the rain and had as natural a life as possible……and also to eat the stuff that most people wouldn’t. Like heart.
I bought some lamb’s heart from a local farm-shop butchers with the idea of doing some still life photography for an alternative Valentine’s day image and then have it for dinner once photographed. You’ll be pleased to hear it wasn’t presented to a horrified loved one and part-time vegetarian as a Valentine’s meal. I cooked it and ate it myself on the 13th, and I think the rest of my family were out that evening so I luckily avoided any trouble.
The above photos taken with my iphone weren’t great but just something to document the meal.
Here are a few shots of the heart I did at the studio;
Most methods I found for cooking lamb heart involved a long slow cook in the oven with some sort of stuffing. I didn’t have a lot of time and was hungry so did some further browsing on the internet and noticed a few people raving on about flash frying these in a pan once cut up into smaller pieces, for not more than 5 minutes.
I opted for the super speedy method expecting it to not be very good. I didn’t marinate or prepare in any other way apart from discarding any tubey bits and impressively large pieces of fat and cutting into smallish flat chucks. I then fried in coconut fat for around 2 minutes on each side and seasoned well with salt, pepper and parsley. I seem to remember adding a splash of port at the start too. I left to rest for about 10 minutes. As you can see the heart was still pink in the middle. It was absolutely delicious and definitely tasted more like steak than offal. (Matthew)