Why you should eat lamb hearts
Everybody loves lamb chops, racks of lambs and all other expensive sought-after cuts of meat but you know what goes unnoticed? Lamb flank, liver and heart. Offcuts like these are music to my ears. I love to see what I can do with them and am usually pleasantly surprised by my experimentation. After all, today’s offcut peasant foods are tomorrow’s haute cuisine.
Now, if you have never eaten lamb hearts, you are in for a treat. When slowly braised in the oven, the meat becomes ultra-smooth and oh so tender. It’s loaded with that lamby goodness the way no other cut of lamb is and we are definitely fans of this recipe.
When people think or talk about eating sustainably, they are usually talking about eating exclusively plant-based. While it is true that raising animals for meat consumption is responsible for around 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, I just don’t think it is feasible that people will abstain from meat entirely. So what’s the solution? Well, good news, there are a lot of things you can do. Eat less meat. Eat more sustainable forms of protein. Seek out meat that is NOT factory farmed. AND, of course, use the off-cuts. The parts of the animal that are less in demand but are very tasty.
Back in the day when people lived on farms, nothing went to waste. Raising that animal took a lot of time and money so nothing was thrown away and every part of that animal was put to good use. Using everything seems to be a notion that we have forgotten about in modern times as we hoard chicken breasts and stock up on prime beef steaks that we receive via the mail. We have lost touch with the importance of meat. The care it took to raise and slaughter the animal and what a treat it was to have it on a plate.
So, if you want to be a responsible and sustainability-conscious meat-eater, do what I do and look for those cheaper cuts of meat that nobody seems to want. Trust me, people don’t know what they’re missing and one less part of meat will go to waste.
Lamb hearts stuffed with feta, mint and chives then slow braised in white wine, garlic and fresh herbs. Serve atop couscous and a side of fresh veg for a complete and stunning meal. #lamb #slowcooking #budgetfriendly #cheapeats #dinner
3–4 lamb hearts (about 1 kg/ 2.2 lb)
200g (~7 oz) feta cheese
3 tbsp fresh mint (chopped)
3 tbsp fresh chives (chopped)
1–2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
3 sprigs of fresh oregano
3–5 sprigs of fresh thyme
240 ml / 8 oz white wine
240 ml / 8 oz water
12 cloves of garlic (crushed)
3 tbsp of butter
1/2 tsp sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
150–200 g (5–7 oz) Button mushrooms (optional)
1 mug full of plain couscous (optional)
Parmesan cheese (optional)
Preheat oven to 175 C / 350 F or 150 C / 300 F with fan.
Trim and remove any undesirable bits from the tops of the hearts. If you are like me and prefer it rustic and au natural then keep as is.
In a medium bowl, combine feta cheese, fresh chives and chopped mint together and mix until thoroughly combined. Stuff this cheese mixture into the cavities of the hearts as best as you can. If you are having trouble, take a sharp knife and cut the inside walls of the heart chambers until you have one cavity.
When finished stuffing the hearts, place upright in a casserole dish. I prop up the hearts by placing mushrooms on the bottom to hold the hearts upright and in place, but if you are not using mushrooms, then simply omit them.
In a medium saucepan, combine rosemary, oregano, thyme, garlic, white wine and water together and bring to a boil over high heat. Once at a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and let bubble away for about 5 minutes. When the braising liquid has finished simmering, taste and season with salt and pepper. I recommend 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and a hearty sprinkling of freshly cracked black pepper.
Pour the braising liquid over the lamb hearts in the casserole dish. Cover and cook in the oven for 90 minutes to 2 hours. Let it cook low and slow in the wine to get it tender. Remove cover and let cook uncovered for the last 30 minutes or so to get some color.
After the lamb hearts have finished cooking, remove them and any mushrooms you may have used and transfer them to a plate to rest.
Don’t let that leftover liquid go to waste! Mix a mugful of plain couscous into the leftover braising liquid, cover and let sit for about 5 minutes. Fluff up the couscous with a fork and season with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese and a spritz or two of fresh lemon juice.
To serve, thinly slice up the lamb hearts and place atop a bed of couscous. Drizzle with your favorite basil pesto or mint sauce and enjoy.
- Category: Main, Lamb
- Method: Slow cooking, Braising
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keywords: lamb, lamb hearts, slow cooking, braising, feta, rosemary, oregano, thyme, mint, chives, white wine, garlic, mushrooms, couscous, recipe, dinner, budget friendly, Mediterranean
Indulge in more lamb with these off-cut recipes: