Have A Heart

Love at first bite


Yes folks, this is in fact not the perfect Valentine’s Day message for everyone, but let’s face it, hearts can be delicious -- and I’m not talking about cupcakes and chocolates here folks. I’m talking about the beating heart!

Now you might think I’m crazy, but I love eating hearts. From chicken to beef, heart meat is an integral part of many regional cuisines, and an oft-neglected protein on our own shores. That can probably be attributed to our tendency towards squeamishness. It seems that many people like meat, as long as they don’t know what it is and can’t tell from looking at it! Perhaps the texture is also responsible for some of this tendency, though it shouldn’t surprise that the most used muscle in the body can be, well, a little muscular.

So, what is it about heart meat that’s appealing, and how to use it?

Chicken hearts

Now chicken hearts get a bad rap just by being chicken hearts. There’s something vaguely derogatory about the name chicken hearts but what can you do about it? In actuality not too much: just grill those little suckers and enjoy them.

Chicken hearts are relatively tender for such a well worked muscle, though like all meats they can toughen with over cooking. In general, chicken hearts tend to be simply prepared and enjoyed for their rich chicken flavor, accented with a bit of iron and the faint musky undertone endemic to organ meats. Wood-grilling really adds nice flavors of char and smoke that work well to complement the heart’s flavor.

It can’t be surprising to learn that chicken hearts are enjoyed around the world. In cultures as diverse as those found in the Philippines to the Middle East, Brazil, and Sweden, chicken hearts have been consumed, as much out of necessity as flavor. What may be surprising to some is that more than 50 years ago none other than one of the original Top Chefs, James Beard, was advising people on how to prepare Grilled Chicken Hearts.

His recipe is a classic and well worth following as one’s first foray into the world of chicken hearts. While chicken hearts can be fatty, though can be easily trimmed of most of the fat, they are good sources of protein, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. They’re also not low in cholesterol, so enjoy them in moderation!

Click for a 1956 James Beard recipe for Grilled Chicken Hearts

Go to page 2 for Beef Hearts and A Simple Recipe for Veal Hearts

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Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: ig1942
    312076 5

    Anticuchos anybody?

    Feb 14, 2011 at 5:23 PM

  • Snooth User: ig1942
    312076 5

    Sorry, guys! That is not a recipe for anticuchos: these are beef (I hope) hearts, cut into cubes, marinated, skewered and then grilled. A simple and very tasteful dish, one that you can taste in the street olf Lima, Peru...
    Very simple to make...

    Feb 14, 2011 at 5:26 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 238,748

    Sorry you are confused but there are two recipes on this page. One for Anticucjos which is marked as "Click for a great Anticuchos recipe", as well as a simple recipe Veal hearts.

    Feb 14, 2011 at 6:01 PM

  • Snooth User: Lenagel
    384904 4

    In the southwest of France, Pau exactly (on the racecourse), they sell duck's heart kebab and it's absolutely delicious. They is also a version with Duck breast and apples cooked with foie gras, ahhh just thinking about it....

    Feb 15, 2011 at 3:53 AM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 238,748

    Duck heart kebob. That is a fascinating treat for a racecourse!

    Feb 15, 2011 at 8:44 AM

  • Time to get out the cutlery set and the butcher block... thanks for the reminder on how tasty these meaty "throw-outs" are really delicious turn-outs.

    May 28, 2013 at 3:31 PM

  • Snooth User: tml61748
    1329380 29

    Deer Heart are divine with wine! Absolutely to die for. The best meal ever on a cold morning!!!!!!

    Oct 22, 2013 at 6:29 PM

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