This January – I attempted to try different types of meat. In the 1940’s meat was rationed and was hard to find. To combat this – the government attempted to have people use less meat… and when looking at the ration points cost of meat – the unusual cuts of meat require many less points. I felt I needed to do my part and try to eat the unusual cuts of meat to support the war effort. How bad can it really be?
So in that mindset - I went to the story to purchase my first beef heart. I was not sure what I would find when I went shopping. Would there be a blood dripping pile of hearts in the meat case? When I lived in Poland the stores had piles of fresh chicken hearts, livers, and other unidentifiable parts… but never any large animal organs. Could I really ask at the counter, “pardon me, but do you have a heart?”
I was very surprised to find them in the frozen meat area. They did hide them at the top of the freezer and when reaching for a heart I was almost knocked out by a frozen Kidney! I picked out the smallest heart I could find and thought about it for a while. I was surprised that the modern cost of Heart is half the price of ground beef… this might be the cheapest way to eat for a while. I finally talked myself into buying it and went home.
I let it unthaw in the refrigerator, and prepared to cook it. Growing up, I had eaten heart and liver when I went archery deer hunting with my dad. I remember the heart being tender and tasting really good (I hated the liver – yuck all chalky and stuff!). I wasn’t sure how different frozen cow heart would be. I had a recipe to make stuffed cow heart and it looked pretty good.
|Stuffed and ready to go...|
I was not so confident when I took the thawed mess out of the refrigerator. There was a muscle sitting in a bowl of blood. The recipe said to wash out the heart and cut out all the veins and arteries. Humm -- I should have paid more attention in science class. I could not tell where the veins were so I cut out anything that looked hard. I washed out the heart as best as I could then carve out space for the stuffing.
The stuffing was similar to what I put in turkey and smelled good. I stuffed as much stuffing as I could get into the heart then tied it shut with cooking twine. I put it in a roasting pan and cooked it like a roast. It smelled good as it cooked.
|The Heart "Roast" done...|
When it was done – I let it cool and cut medallions of meat and took them to work for lunch. The meat looked weird and kind of smelled like a deer that has been hanging in the garage for a few days before butchering. Even after cooking it still had that smell to it (I think it is the smell of old blood). I ate it for two lunches then found me eating just crusts of bread for supper so I would not have to eat that heart. It was awful!
|The Medallions - I don't know how brave I am to eat it...|
I am starting to realize why women are often shown working a meat grinder in cook books. Theses mystery meats are not bad – but absolutely not good! Next time I make heart – I will grind it up and add it to meatloaf or something to hide the flavor. I can now say that I tried heart but I will stick to meatless Mondays instead. That week – I did not eat any meat (the heart was my meat rations for the week) and I realized that I enjoy eating beans and peanut butter - they are much better then heart.