It is a long time since I saw heart in the ordinary butcher’s shop. It is even longer since I saw it on a restaurant menu. Come to think of it, I don’t remember ever seeing heart on a restaurant menu. I am certain, however, that much heart is eaten, the eater being unaware because it is hidden in sausages, burgers, pies, meatloaves, and other useful aids to devious manufacturers and cooks.
No so long ago, in times when waste was abhorred and folk less squeamish, there was no sense of any need to disguise this admirable meat. I give you a fine selection of recipes for heart from
The family save-all, a system of secondary cookery (1861) by Robert Kemp Philp. The author does refer to heart as “unmanageable,” this seems to be because it requires some effort in trimming and preparing for cooking. I would be interested to know if any of you are tempted to source and try any of these dishes.
Various ways of Cooking and re-Cooking that unmanageable dish, Ox-heart.
181. Trim and clean the Heart, and wipe it dry; fill the cavities with a stuffing made thus:— Crumbs of bread (the quantity must depend upon the size of the heart), chopped suet or butter, say about two ounces, parsley and sweet marjoram, chopped lemon-peel grated, pepper, salt, and nutmeg, with the yolk of an egg; mix, and fill the cavities of the heart. Serve it with gravy, melted butter, and currant jelly. Prepared in this way, it may be either baked or roasted, and will require a quarter of an hour for each pound weight.
182. Or, clean and cut the Heart in large pieces lengthwise. Put these into a stew-pot with cold water and salt, and carefully skim away the blood, which will rise in large quantities; parboil; take up the parboiled pieces, and carve them into mouthsful; strain the liquor, and return the cut meat, with plenty of shred onion, a shred head or two of celery, pepper, and allspice, and a dozen or more peeled potatoes, or some sliced carrots, This is a nourishing and economical Stew-soup, and half a full-sized bullock's heart will be sufficient to make it.
183. Or, cut into pieces lengthwise, the pieces not being thicker than half an inch; Broil, with a piece of fat or bacon, for ten minutes; serve with a little currant jelly and butter, under the slices.
184. Or, wash in several waters, cut it into pieces lengthwise; take a baking dish, and lay some slices of potatoes at the bottom, then a few slices of bacon, then the pieces of heart, another layer of bacon; season each layer to liking, and fill up the spaces with veal stuffing made into balls; add water, and Bake about an hour.
185. Kidney and Heart may be mixed, or the flesh of Cow-heel be mixed with either heart or kidney.
186. Calf’s Heart may be dressed in the same way, or be stuffed with veal stuffing, and Baked upon potatoes.
187. Or, Bullock's Heart, stuffed as for baking, may be Boiled. Small hearts, as of Sheep, Lambs, &c., may be stuffed, enclosed in paste, with a bit of fat bacon wrapped round them, and Baked, like Savoury Dumplings.
188. Cold Heart may be Hashed the same as Beef or Hare, the stuffing being mixed with the gravy, and accompanied by Currant Jelly.