A friend with acreage recently shared some venison he harvested on his property with us. Who doesn’t love tenderloin, burger, and jerky, right? Since we knew he harvested deer annually, we asked about the heart, one of our favorite parts. He seemed a bit surprised, as he didn’t eat it himself, but agreed to save it for us from the next deer he got. Once deer season opened up again, it wasn’t long before he was bringing us a heart.
Why the heart? As a large muscle, it has a uniquely dense texture, and is steak-like. Our favorite way to cook it is in a slow cooker, bathed in cream of mushroom soup. After 8+ hours, it’s like firm pot roast – meaty and delicious. Serve over a baked potato, and you have an easy, very satisfying meal.
Every meat animal has a heart, so why not make the most of it, rather than wasting it? On that note, why is it so difficult to find pastured chicken or duck gizzards? Again, every chicken or duck has one. Sure, it takes effort to properly clean a gizzard prior to cooking, but it is worth it. Gizzards are muscle, too, and really benefit from “low and slow” cooking. Long hours in a slow cooker renders them tender and tasty.
Finally, some people detest liver, but we enjoy it. Simply prepared with onions, it’s like a thin, chewy steak. Out of respect for the animals that provide our meat, we want to try to maximize what’s harvested. There’s really no good reason why we shouldn’t eat organ meats from free-range and pastured animals. Do you have an organ meat recipe you’d like to share?