Deer heart

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  • This part of the beast can be a bit of an acquired taste, and is best marinated to flavour of choice (or even pickled) first for at least 24 hours before cooking, as it can taste a bit 'metallic' and be sure to slice quite thinly and avoid cooking to long, which can make the meat rubbery.

    The texture, if cooked correctly, should be like liver, but a tad firmer......enjoy!

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  • I’d trim it down, cut it in half, clean it out, salt and pepper, then flash fry in butter. About a minute on each side, if that. Then slice thinly (5mm or so) and eat.

    It’s obviously a very well developed and lean piece of meat, so it has a distinctive flavour, and a tendency to go dry (and tough) very quickly. I’d serve it with some hollandaise, or an egg... something unctuous and the opposite of “something sharp to cut through the fattiness”. Or maybe cut it (after cooking) into very, very thin slices (wafer thin) and into a bun or bagel with some mustard, or with some pappardelle with some olive oil, olives, peas, a dash of white wine vinegar. Still maybe with an egg cracked over to be cooked by the heat of the pasta?

    For something completely different, if you can get hold of enough duck fat, maybe beef fat, you could confit the thing - cut it into 1cm strips lenthwise. A few garlic cloves in there, some peppercorns, bay leaves... maybe 6-10 hours in an oven at 120C? Might go well with some mash and veg, or replace the duck in something like cassoulet. Some good bacon alongside it would make for a good flavour mix.

    Changing tack again completely, you could mince it, mix with some ground pork, with some onion, chopped coriander, parsley, bit of lemon zest... wrap in caul, grill for about 10 mins over coals, and call it sheftalia. Basically replace the lamb that’s normally used, with heart. Not really the weather for it now, but come summer...

    Or if you just don’t fancy eating it, braise in some low salt stock of some sort, for a couple of hours, cut into appropriately sized bits, and feed to your dogs/cats.

    On further thinking, it would go well on a pizza. Brine it for 24hrs (salt, sugar, coriander, possibly some caraway and fennel), then rinse, slice very thinly and reserve. Stretch out some dough, little bit of tomato, some cheese, into the oven until it’a just short of done, then throw on the heart, some rocket, some tomatoes, maybe some peppadews, a bit of fresh mozzarella, and back in for 30/45 seconds. Grate over some Parmesan once it’s out of the oven, and serve. Note that this would probably only work in a pizza oven, as you’d need the very high heat to cook that quickly.