By Andrea Cullen
August 3rd 2014
I have to admit I was sceptical about eating hearts and now that I have cooked and tasted heart I am converted; it tastes amazing. I mean close to if not better than steak! As heart is lean it does well slow cooked, marinated, or in dishes such as casseroles, chilies, and curries.
This recipe is a result of an e-book that I have written for clients all about frugal eating, organ meats and offal, and come with a good dose of education as I will always do! Email me on email@example.com if you would like a copy.
This is a very flexible recipe and I have added some options that you may like to try using additional ingredients; this leads to deviation from the more traditional Bolognese but does add further nutritional clout from added vegetables or beans.
If you prefer you can choose not to braise/ brown the meat and just chuck the other ingredients all together in layers in a casserole dish to cut back on unnecessary oils. Browning the meat and onions etc. will however add greater depth of flavour.
This dish will work very well in a slow cooker also known as a crock pot.
– Glug of extra virgin olive oil or even better coconut oil
– 1 large or 2 small onions – finely chopped
– 1 to 2 cloves of garlic depending on how garlicky you would like this – finely chopped, minced, or pushed through a garlic press
– 2 to 3 lambs hearts depending on how meaty you would like this – ask your butcher to remove the hard strip in the middle – cubed small or into bitier sizes as you prefer. If you have a mincer or meat grinder you may like to mince this for a truer Bolognese consistency.
– ½ pound of lean mince or whatever you have handy to add further bite and texture
– 1-2 carrots – grated
– 1 large or 2 small courgettes – grated
– 1 small tin tomato puree or 1/2 glass jar tomato puree
– 2 x 400g/ 14 oz can chopped tomatoes or 1 large glass jar of tomatoes or tomato passata
It is preferable to choose tomato products that are packaged in glass or non-BPA containing cans to reduce endocrine disrupting chemical exposure. Due to the acidic nature of tomatoes these are especially vulnerable to absorbing BPA from can linings containing this substance. There are a few brands of tomatoes that are packed in cans free from BPA available; if not locally then on iherb or amazon.
– Herbs – your choice of mixed herbs, Italian herbs, or fresh herbs. Suggested herbs include oregano, thyme, and bay leaf; I used herbes de Provence and oregano generously and fresh thyme.
– Red wine – decent glug (or Port; whatever you have handy)
– Optional half to one msg-free good quality stock cube or homemade stock
– Salt and pepper
– Fresh parsley – shredded or torn
– Optional and recommended 1 teaspoon castor sugar to bring out the flavours
Optional ingredients include the following:
– Celery – diced
– Cherry tomatoes
– Butternut squash – diced
1. Warm a glug of olive oil or coconut oil in a large sauce pan and sauté the onions and garlic until transparent.
2. Add the hearts and mince and brown briefly using a wooden spoon to turn frequently for even browning while breaking up any larger chunks of mince.
3. Add your herbs, tomato puree, and tomatoes and a glug of red wine.
4. Add the grated carrots and courgette and stir together.
5. I suggest that you add a flat teaspoon of sugar as this makes all the difference to the Bolognese flavours. This is a neat trick for most tomato based dishes 🙂
6. Mix and transfer to a Pyrex or casserole dish with a lid.
7. Transfer to the oven and bake at 180 C/ 350 F for approximately 60-90 minutes (this may be cooked in a slow cooker if you prefer). I really let this one cook on the slow (for 90 minutes) and then for another 20 minutes took the heat up to 220 C/ 430 F.
8. Add further stock or filtered water as necessary to keep the dish moist; keep the dish covered with a lid or foil to prevent excess browning or drying.
9. In other words keep an eye on your dish and add further liquids as required to create a tasty juicy dish.
10. Options: If adding celery, butternut squash or cherry tomatoes these may be added at the point when you add the carrots.
11. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. I am a fan of Irish Atlantic sea salt.
12. Add torn parsley before serving.
13. Serve on roasted Portobello or large field mushrooms, spaghetti, steamed broccoli, potato, or spiralized vegetables.
This dish lasts well improving over time and makes for wonderful leftovers. A few suggestions for leftovers include:
filling for baked potatoes
cold or warmed filling in cabbage leaves or vine leaves
cold or warmed filling in sushi wraps; see here for an example:
Enjoy; as ever comments and feedback are welcomed.
This recipe will freeze well.