When I think of Valentine’s Day, like most people thoughts of hearts and chocolate flood my brain. While I like to think of myself as a romantic, I tend to lean more towards reality. And sometimes my sweet gestures might come with a bit of my sarcasm. Like Valentine’s Dinner. When we ordered our quarter cow from Lewis Waite Farm, we were fortunate enough to choose our own cuts. We went with a lot of steaks, an average amount of ground beef, and some smaller roasts for 2 or 4. My husband INSISTED on throwing in some organ cuts–liver, kidney, oxtail and heart. He said HE would cook it. Yeah right. I love my husband dearly, but his advanced culinary skills include dishes like (boxed) mac & cheese, tacos and meatloaf that he’s made several dozen times but still relies on the recipe. I’ve tried to introduce him to easy cooking tools, like the slow cooker, with little success. Needless to say, those organs have been buried in the bottom of our chest freezer for close to a year. So I decided on this day of hearts and chocolate, it was best appropriate to serve him a little heart for dinner.
I’ve never cooked organ meat before. I hardly eat it, with the exception of some occasional liver and oxtail. So I was a bit worried. A lengthy Google search revealed heart to be a cheaper alternative to steak. I should note this heart, like our other beef, is grass fed, meaning leaner and faster cooking. I have enough trouble cooking a steak perfectly (generally it’s RARE or well done), so I wasn’t about to grill anything. When all else fails, I tend to stick stuff in the slow cooker. So that was my plan. And to add the second Valentine ingredient, chocolate, I figured I’d cook it in a bit of mole.
My husband’s big into craft beer (as am I, but I’d still prefer my LI Wines), so meals for him, like Valentines Day tend to be beer-centric. In our well loved The Best of American Beer and Food cookbook, I found a recipe for mole sauce with beer. I made that last night, and today, cubed the heart, poured a little mole over it, and set it to cook. So this is a bit of an incomplete recipe. I know the mole sauce is good (and SPICY) but I won’t know if the meal is a success until dinner tonight. But I figured it was most appropriate to share the menu today. So below, the UNTESTED heart and mole recipe, plus an idea of what the rest of the meal will look like. Complete details and recipes coming soon!
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Valentines Day Dinner 2013
Beef Heart in Dark Lager Mole Sauce with Soft Polenta
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Heart with Dark Lager Mole Sauce (Adapted from The Best of American Beer and Food)
- 2 dried ancho chilies
- 2 dried negro chilies
- 2 dried chipotle chilies (feel free to sub the chilies if needed)
- 4 c chicken stock
- 4 chilies in adobo, plus 2 tbsp sauce
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 1/4 c sesame seeds
- 3/4 c pepitas
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- few turns of black pepper mill
- 1 tsp cumin seed
- 1 tsp coriander seed
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 c chopped yellow onion
- 1 c peeled and chopped tomatillos (or tomatoes)
- 3 tbsp minced garlic
- 3 small corn tortillas, broiled until brown and crushed
- 6 oz chopped Mexican chocolate
- 12 oz dark lager
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 2 lb beef heart
Note: The mole sauce makes about 6 cups. You will only need 2 cups so you can make the entire batch and freeze the extra (best option) or just cut the recipe by 1/3.
THE NIGHT BEFORE: In a medium dutch oven, bring broth to a boil. Place dried chilies in large skillet and toast over medium heat for 1 minute until fragrant. Scrape chilies into stock and set skillet aside. Simmer mixture until chilies are tender. Add chiles in adobo with sauce, mix well and remove from heat. Allow to cool until luke warm.
In reserved skillet add sesame seeds, pepitas, red pepper flakes, black pepper, cumin and coriander. Toast until sesame seeds brown. Add 1 cup adobo broth and simmer for 2 minutes. In a blender, puree spice mixture and softened chilies until thick and smooth. Add additional adobo broth of necessary. Reserve extra adobo broth and wipe dutch oven clean.
Heat canola oil in dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, tomatillos and garlic and saute for 5 minutes until onions soften. Add crushed tortillas and chocolate, cooking until chocolate is melted. Add in chili spice puree and dark lager. Mix until well blended then puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Add additional adobo broth to achieve desired consistency. Stir in lime juice. Refrigerate mole sauce until morning.
THE NEXT DAY: Cut heart into cubes, removing any extra tendons or fat. (Note: A grass fed fat is MUCH less fatty; a good visual as to what a healthy heart looks like vs one that’s been fed a poor diet–just saying). Add diced heart to crockpot and pour 2 cups of mole sauce over meat, making sure fully covered. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve heart and sauce with tortillas or over polenta.
- On Valentines, celebrate the love of chocolate and beer (gazette.com)
- Serving Up Hot & Spicy Vodka Sauce and Pasta (simplysophisticatedcooking.wordpress.com)
- Chicken with Puebla-Style Mole Sauce (thebittenword.com)