To serve six
This is the first dish I’ve worked on where everything didn’t go swimmingly. My ingredients weren’t exactly what was called for, and I missed a step in the recipe. I don’t think that the final product was severely impacted, but all the same I’m pretty frustrated with myself.
Before getting to the interesting part, I’ll talk about the stuffing real quick. I sliced four red onions, crushed a few cloves of garlic, and in a large skillet began softening them.
In the meantime, I removed the crust from a day old loaf of french bread and cubed it until I had half a pound.
After a bit, I added two cups of red wine to the onions and garlic, turned the heat up, and let it sit until the wine had reduced by half.
The bread cubes were then added to the pan to soak up the wine reduction, along with some salt, pepper and chopped up sage. In the words of Gordon Ramsay, “Stuffing, done.”
Finally, on to the star of this recipe. Here’s the first real disappointment: The lamb hearts that I bought were all in a cryovaced bag, so it was very tough to tell that all of them had been slashed to–presumably–remove blood clots. If I was grinding the hearts or chopping them up, then the gashes really wouldn’t be a big deal. Seeing how I’d be stuffing them though, this proved to be a problem. There aren’t vending machines littered about like the one Mr. Zimmern found in his commercial for some new lamb hearts (and yes, I know that he bought a cow’s heart). I did come up with a work around though, but I’ll go into that shortly.
The upside of the hearts I did buy was that they had all been cleaned up of excessive fat and sinew. That meant that I could go right into stuffing. I wish I could say that it was a simple, clean process. It was anything but. To give you an idea, imagine playing with a Play-Doh Fun Factory Set. Except, now imagine that Tom Savini designed it. I’d push stuffing in one atrium, and it’d start coming out of a ventricle. Having the slash in each heart didn’t help matters, either.
The next step was to cover the tops of the hearts with “rashers” of bacon in a star shaped pattern. This turned out to also be my quick fix for the cuts. I took a slice of bacon and fashioned a bandage of sorts for each heart. The bacon was then secured with butchers twine. The hearts were placed in a loaf pan, and chicken stock was added to the pan until it came right to the top.
At this point, I should have covered the pan with tin foil. I must have been distracted by something, because I just chucked the pan into a medium hot oven, sans foil for over two hours. Again, I don’t think that the finished dish was terribly impacted because of my mistake, but I figured I’d come clean.
Here’s a finished heart, sitting on top of some mashed rutabaga with a pan sauce drizzled over it. It’s tough to tell from this angle, but the hearts ended up with very crispy tops. Very crispy. The bottoms were perfectly fine though. The lamb heart itself was a good deal tougher than the veal heart I made back in February, but it tasted wonderful with the bacon and stuffing.
Admittedly, this isn’t the prettiest of dishes, but would I make it again? Sure, if I happened across a bunch of lamb hearts, but I won’t be going out of my way to find them.
One down, one hundred and eight to go.