ALWAYS, have an adult helping you in the kitchen.
Far nicer than a bush-tucker challenge!
My dad grew up around animals on a farm & understands how important it is to look after an animal well & also to try things other people might make a fuss about because good food is really precious, these days we rarely try more than a few traditional cuts of meat, meaning a lot of a good animal is wasted, unlike a few short generations ago, when food was harder to come by & supermarkets didn't exist.
So today i'm going to tell you about a fantastic steak meat I have eaten & enjoyed from local animals raised by butchers ( Johnsons of Oldhurst) from Ostrich, Lamb, & OX, as well as from Tesco's (Lamb).
I'm talking about heart, ..& it's actually really nice meat that some people squirm about & make a fuss (but there are also people in the world who would find our drinking of milk quite disgusting), ...so it just go's to show what a crazy mixed up world we live in!
Heart is a hard working muscle, as a result has very little fat around it (known as lean meat).
as one of the hardest working muscles in the body, so it is one of the fullest flavoured.
But unlike other hard-working muscles like, say, leg meat, the muscle fibres in a heart are extremely short, so it still manages to be tender & easy to cut through with a steak knife & chew.
Compare heart's combination of features (meaty flavor, no fat, short fibres) to that of a Sunday roast (meaty flavour, lots of fat, long fibres) to that of a cut on the leg (meaty flavour, almost no fat, long fibres), and it becomes clear why it's one of the tastiest, and most versatile cuts on the animal.
Leg meat can quickly turn tough in the kitchen: leg has neither the short fibres of heart to keep it naturally tender, nor the fat of brisket to keep it moist. Cooking heart, on the other hand, you can choose the methods you'd use on leg meat—hot and fast—or on brisket—low and slow.
Why Heart? ..because it's as good as some of the best fillet steak & is a very cheap under-used part of an animal.
If we get an OX heart from Johnsons it's very BIG & can weigh around 6-8lb's in weight.
Stuffed Lamb hearts can be found in Tesco (often 2 in a pack) for around £1.25 & are a lovely simple meal cooked slowly (casseroled) in a pyrex dish with some simple rice to go with it.
Ostrich heart is interesting because it's what we call a "bi-valve" animal (meaning two chambers) & is quite amazing, it cuts into little "medallions" & is one of the best I've tried ...the butcher gave us it as he didn't know what to do with it! ...being food explorers we were keen to try!
My mum & dad used to despair because I didn't eat meat! (i was very fussy & didn't eat properly as a baby, in fact I pretty much survived by living off chocolate buttons for the first four years of my life) ..nowadays i'll try any type of meat or veg!
If you are up for trying heart then the easiest way is to get a butcher to slice it into steaks about 3/4 of an inch thick, rub them with a bit of oil, salt, and pepper, then get a grown up to sear them in a super hot skillet.
REMEMBER that they have almost no fat, which means that they'll cook much faster than a normal steak will, and that anything beyond medium-rare will turn them dry and tough!
Heart is also really tastey in sausages, recently Tesco started selling them, in "blind" taste tests people preferred them to other sausages, proving that if we aren't daft about food we can often surprise ourselves...
Try some & surprise yourself & your family, go on be a food explorer!, heart is a "forgotten cut" but very juicy tender & tastey, Morrisons is a good place to try some of the forgotten favourites, ..if you are scared of trying heart, perhaps try "pigs cheek" instead, (they come ready prepared & just need to be casseroled or hammered to tenderise them (fun, but do it with an adult helping you) & can be cooked on a grill, very tender with only a tiny bit of fat.
As i've come back from a holiday in Crete recently I was trying lots of different food & vegetables cooked in a different way, & once again my dad found he really enjoyed some vegetables he's insisted he didn't like, & gobbled them all up off his plate then asked for more!
Be a food explorer & simply TRY one new food this week, you might surprise yourself!