Two of my favorite food-related events: when almost everything on the table is local and organic and when the meal contains something that is traditionally thrown out.
During the summer we (and by we I mean my dad) grow a huge variety of fruit and vegetables in the garden, from apples and strawberries to broccoli and artichokes. Sitting down for dinner knowing that most of the vegetables on the table are from the garden is a wonderful, fulfilling feeling.
Making turkey or beef stock with leftover bones is a great way to use up traditionally overlooked parts of the animal and make your food stretch as far as possible. Eating the less popular cuts of meat is also a great way to make your food, and your money, stretch as far as possible. Organ meat, for example, is super nutrient-dense and often a lot cheaper than the other butcher counter options.
Before you leave this page to go bury yourself in recipes on Pinterest or watch another episode of Breaking Bad, don’t.
I am a self-professed organ meat hater.
Liver and I have gone on more than a few dinner dates, so to speak, and none of them have ended well. Even when bacon came to the party.
So there will be no further mention of liver here.
However, there are other organ meats. One of them is less than half the price of a nice steak at the butcher: beef heart. So I got some, tried it, and decided it was okay. And ‘decided it was okay’ means that it got choked down whilst smothered in garlic cauliflower mash and caramelized onions. The uncooked meat got stuck in the freezer, where it’s been nagging me to be tried again.
To be honest, the heart meat was kind of scary. Putting it in the freezer was more a way to bide time to figure out how to dispose of it without feeling like it was a waste of money than a way to store it until a great recipe popped into my head.
However, a great recipe did emerge. And before you go all “organ meat is gross and I don’t need any anyways and there are way less frightening and odd pieces of meat to eat so go away” on me, seriously, give this a chance.
IT IS SO GOOD. And simple.
You won’t regret this, I promise.
Feeling brave? Here’s what you need:
300 grams of beef heart (it’ll look like a large, smooth steak)
½ tsp garlic powder
1 TBSP olive oil
1 red cabbage*
1 medium carrot
Handful of cilantro
1 clove of garlic
Cut the bottom inch or so off the stem end of the cabbage. This will make it easier to pull the big outer leaves off. Be gentle; this might take some teasing, but it’s not the end of the world if you end up with a few tears. Once you have 4-6 large leaves, put them in a pan with water about an inch deep; cover and simmer until the leaves are tender, about 5-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut ¼ of the cabbage into thin strips. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but cabbage expands once you start cutting it. Take your cabbage strips and put them in a bowl. Grate the carrot over the top and squeeze 1 lime’s worth of juice over the top along with about ¼ tsp salt. Mix everything and set aside. The acid in the lime juice will soften up the cabbage.
Mash the avocado along with the crushed garlic clove, ¼ tsp salt, juice of ½ a lime and 2 TBSP of chopped fresh cilantro. Mix everything up until your desired guacamole consistency is achieved. I like it a little on the chunky side.
Final step: Start heating the olive oil in a pan (make sure not to let is smoke! That’s a sign that the oil is breaking down and releasing toxins). Meanwhile, sprinkle both sides of the beef with salt and garlic powder. Put the beef into the hot pan and cook until rare to medium rare, about 5 minutes on the first side and 3 on the second. Beef heart is better eaten on the rare side; overcooking it will make it extremely tough. Once it’s done, pull it off the heat and let the beef rest for about 5 minutes.
Assembly: Slice the beef into thin strips. Put some of the cabbage/carrot mixture in a cabbage leaf, followed by beef and then a dollop of guac. Garnish with cilantro and lime!
*you can absolutely use large lettuce leaves or green cabbage leaves (or a different cut of beef) for this recipe.