Beef heart is often overlooked as a food option, but it is actually a delicious and nutritious organ meat that deserves more attention.
In this article, we will explore the benefits of beef heart, how to prepare and cook it, and some of the best beef heart recipes from different cultures.
|Beef heart is a lean and tender organ meat that is rich in protein, iron, zinc, selenium, and B vitamins.
|Beef heart can be cooked in various ways, such as grilling, stewing, braising, or frying.
|Beef heart dishes are popular in many cuisines around the world, such as Peruvian anticuchos, Moroccan tagine, or French confit.
|Beef heart is a budget-friendly and sustainable way to eat nose-to-tail and enjoy the benefits of organ meats.
What is Beef Heart and Why Should You Eat It?
Beef heart is the heart of a cow, which is usually sold as a whole organ or sliced into steaks.
It is classified as an organ meat, but it is also a muscle meat, which means it has a similar texture and flavor to other cuts of beef.
However, beef heart is much leaner than most cuts of beef, with only 4 grams of fat per 3-ounce serving1. It is also higher in protein than most cuts of beef, with 24 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving1.
Beef heart is not only low in fat and high in protein, but it is also packed with many essential nutrients that are good for your health. Some of the nutrients found in beef heart are:
- Iron: Beef heart is an excellent source of iron, which is vital for transporting oxygen in your blood and preventing anemia. A 3-ounce serving of beef heart provides 68% of the daily value (DV) for iron1.
- Zinc: Beef heart is also an excellent source of zinc, which is important for your immune system, wound healing, and metabolism. A 3-ounce serving of beef heart provides 17% of the DV for zinc1.
- Selenium: Beef heart is a good source of selenium, which is an antioxidant that protects your cells from damage and supports your thyroid function. A 3-ounce serving of beef heart provides 22% of the DV for selenium1.
- B vitamins: Beef heart is rich in several B vitamins, such as riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), and cobalamin (B12). These vitamins are essential for your energy production, nervous system function, and red blood cell formation. A 3-ounce serving of beef heart provides 17% of the DV for riboflavin, 11% of the DV for niacin, 8% of the DV for pantothenic acid, and a whopping 383% of the DV for cobalamin1.
- Coenzyme Q10: Beef heart is one of the best sources of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which is a compound that helps your cells produce energy and protects them from oxidative stress. CoQ10 is especially beneficial for your heart health, as it supports your cardiac function and prevents cardiovascular diseases2.
As you can see, beef heart is a nutrient-dense food that can boost your health in many ways. It is also a budget-friendly and sustainable way to eat nose-to-tail and reduce food waste.
By eating beef heart, you are honoring the whole animal and making use of every part.
How to Prepare and Cook Beef Heart
Before you cook beef heart, you need to do some preparation work to make it more palatable. Here are some steps to follow:
- Rinse the beef heart thoroughly with cold water to remove any blood or impurities.
- Trim off any excess fat and membranes on the outside of the beef heart.
- Cut the beef heart diagonally to separate the four chambers.
- Remove any valves, tendons, or other tough parts inside the chambers.
- Rinse the beef heart again and pat it dry with paper towels.
- Slice or dice the beef heart into smaller pieces according to your recipe.
Once you have prepared the beef heart, you can cook it in various ways. Here are some of the most common methods:
Grilling is a quick and easy way to cook beef heart steaks or skewers. You can marinate the beef heart beforehand to add more flavor and tenderness. Then grill it over high heat for about 2 minutes per side or until medium-rare. Rest it for 5 minutes before serving.
Stewing is a great way to make beef heart tender and juicy. You can brown the beef heart pieces in a Dutch oven or a large pot over medium-high heat. Then add some broth, wine, herbs, and vegetables and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 to 3 hours or until the beef heart is fork-tender. Serve it over noodles or mashed potatoes.
Braising is similar to stewing, but it uses less liquid and cooks the beef heart in the oven. You can sear the beef heart pieces in a skillet over high heat. Then transfer them to a baking dish and add some broth, wine, herbs, and vegetables. Cover with foil and bake in a preheated oven at 325°F for 2 to 3 hours or until the beef heart is tender. Serve it with bread or rice.
Frying is another quick and easy way to cook beef heart. You can dredge the beef heart slices in flour and season them with salt and pepper. Then fry them in a large skillet over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds per side or until golden. Serve them with a sauce of your choice.
Best Beef Heart Recipes from Around the World
Beef heart dishes are popular in many cuisines around the world, as they showcase the versatility and flavor of this organ meat. Here are some of the best beef heart recipes from different cultures:
- Peruvian Anticuchos: Anticuchos are grilled beef heart skewers that are marinated in a spicy sauce made with aji panca paste, garlic, vinegar, and oregano. They are a street food staple in Peru and are often served with boiled potatoes, corn, and salsa3.
- Moroccan Beef Heart Tagine: Tagine is a slow-cooked stew that is named after the earthenware pot it is cooked in. It usually contains meat, vegetables, spices, and dried fruits. Beef heart tagine is a hearty and flavorful dish that is cooked with onions, carrots, tomatoes, olives, raisins, cinnamon, cumin, and turmeric4.
- French Beef Heart Confit: Confit is a method of preserving meat by cooking it in its own fat. It results in tender and succulent meat that can be stored for a long time. Beef heart confit is made by simmering beef heart pieces in duck fat with garlic, thyme, bay leaves, salt, and pepper5.
- Chinese Beef Heart Stir-Fry: Stir-fry is a fast and easy way to cook beef heart with vegetables and seasonings. You can slice the beef heart thinly and marinate it in soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, and ginger. Then stir-fry it in a wok or a skillet with oil, garlic, green onions, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, and oyster sauce6.
- Hungarian Beef Heart Goulash: Goulash is a thick soup or stew that originated in Hungary. It typically contains beef, paprika, onions, potatoes, carrots, and other vegetables. Beef heart goulash is a hearty and warming dish that is cooked with beef broth, red wine vinegar, tomato paste, bay leaves, caraway seeds, and sour cream7.
Beef heart is an organ meat that deserves more recognition for its nutritional value and culinary potential. It is lean, tender, and rich in protein, iron, zinc, selenium, B vitamins, and coenzyme Q10. It can be cooked in various ways, such as grilling, stewing, braising, or frying. It can also be enjoyed in different dishes from around the world, such as Peruvian anticuchos, Moroccan tagine, French confit, Chinese stir-fry, or Hungarian goulash.
If you are looking for a budget-friendly and sustainable way to eat nose-to-tail and reap the benefits of organ meats, give beef heart a try. You might be surprised by how delicious and satisfying it is.
Is beef heart good for you?
Yes, beef heart is good for you. It is low in fat & high in protein. It also contains many essential nutrients that are beneficial for your health.
How do you make beef heart tender?
You can make beef heart tender by marinating it before cooking or by cooking it slowly over low heat.
What does beef heart taste like?
Where can you buy beef heart?
You can buy beef heart from or your local butcher shop or online from grass-fed meat suppliers such as Steak Club.