Sunday, March 30, 2008

Beef Heart, Part Two

Is there anything more romantic than beef heart? I don't think so. In a grand gesture of romance, my lovey love took a bus across town to an unfamiliar grocery store to get me some ground beef heart. He got there and found the beef heart, only to discover that Winco has a 50 pound grinding minimum. Oh. Darn. He bought a whole beef heart anyhow, and then went to New Seasons, which is only about 5 blocks from his house. They also had beef heart and only a two pound grinding minimum, so he ordered me some. The next night he came to my house, whole Winco beef heart in hand, and told me that there would be two pounds of ground beef heart waiting for me the next day at New Seasons. Swoon. I cried, obviously.

My quest for beef heart started when I began reading and cooking from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. She advocates for a diet more like those of traditional cultures, which includes more animal fat and minimally processed foods. This book has made me think long and hard about what is "healthy", and especially about what is healthy for me. She calls for organ meats in many of her recipes--they are a great source of vitamins and good fats. But mostly, they are delicious. They are rich and flavorful and even a small addition will add so much to a dish. I attempted the recipe below without the beef heart and it was good, but with the beef heart it was a whole different story.

My beef heart waited in the freezer all week, and Saturday night we gave the meatloaf another go. Oh my goodness, it was heavenly. Rich and juicy and flavorful. We served it along with a simple salad of purple cabbage, shredded carrots, and French breakfast radishes, and rich and creamy mashed potatoes. Amazing!

This recipe calls for some rich ingredients and you may shy away at first, but please, don't skimp here. And do use high quality, organic ingredients. It is well worth it. We used ground beef for the remainder of the meat, but ground pork, veal, lamb, or some combination, would also be delicious.

Sally Fallon's Spicy Meatloaf

2 pounds ground beef or other red meat
1/2 pound ground beef heart
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups whole grain bread crumbs*
1 cup cream
1 egg
4 tablespoons tomato paste or ketchup

Over medium heat saute onions, carrots, and celery in butter until soft. Add chili flakes, thyme, pepper, and salt and stir. Meanwhile, soak bread crumbs in cream.

Have a 9x13 inch Pyrex pan ready. Using your hands, mix meat with sauteed vegetables, soaked bread, and egg. Form into a loaf and set in pan. Spread ketchup over top of meatloaf. Add about 1/2 cup water to the pan. Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours.

*To make breadcrumbs, whir crust-less bread in a food processor or blender until you have fine crumbs.

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