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Squeamish about eating hearts?
Hearts are actually really very good for you. They're packed with vitamin B12, which is important for energy and mood. Honestly, people go to their doctors to injections of this stuff - you can get it a lot cheaper and tastier by eating more organ meats.
It actually really gets to me how we humans are very happy to cut the breast, legs and wings from a chicken and then chuck away the bones, liver, kidneys and heart of the bird. I've said before that I'd love to be a vegetarian for ethical reasons but I just don't do well on a vegetarian diet. The next best thing for me then, as a meat eater, is to eat as much of that animal as possible, so less goes to waste. The neck is used for gravy, the bones for stock, the liver pan-fried as a cook's treat and the hearts can be cooked in just a few minutes. It's only right.
Back to the chicken hearts.
It was my first time eating them, and I was incredibly surprised. They're not chewy - I imagined them to be full of tendons and valves and stuff - but they were smooth and succulent. They tasted sweet - not gamey like liver or kidney, but similar to the creamy sweetness of a really good pâté. And they take just a few minutes to cook. It's probably one of the easiest dinners you'll ever make. And if you've never eaten hearts before, I'd say chicken is a good place to start.
The hearts came from free-range online butcher Farmer's Choice. I've been cooking with their meats for quite a while and it is always of great quality. And when you're buying things like hearts, liver and kidneys, quality matters.
Pan-Fried Chicken Hearts with Garlic and Herbs
1 tsp mild (unflavoured) coconut oil
3 rashers of streaky, smoked bacon
1 x pack of chicken hearts (260g)
1 clove garlic, grated
2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
1 teaspoon of salted butter (optional - leave out for strict AIP)
First, melt the coconut oil in a small frying pan and chop the bacon into strips. Fry them gently for 3-4 minutes, until the bacon fat renders down and you're left with golden, slightly crisp bacon. Lift out with a slotted spoon onto a nearby plate, leaving the bacony juices in the pan.
Next, quickly cut off the fatty tops of the chicken hearts. Put the pan back on the heat and then add the trimmed hearts, frying for 2 minutes or so, until just sealed and starting to cook. Add the garlic and parsley and continue to stir-fry until the hearts are just cooked. Don't over-cook them. You'll see they're cooked through when you can't see any blood, but cut a couple open just to make sure. Just before serving, add the small teaspoon of salted butter, if using, and melt down to give everything extra richness and flavour.
Serve with a sharply-dressed salad.
This post was supported by Farmer's Choice. Please do go along to their website and find out more.