Meli-Melo of Organs

Rate this recipe

Preparation info

  • For


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Food of the Sun: A Fresh Look at Mediterranean Cooking

Food of the Sun

By Alastair Little and Richard Whittington

Published 1995

  • About

In Greece, Turkey and Arab countries, butchers are rather more open about the relationship between what they sell and the animals which provide it. Lungs on hooks, mounds of organs - and the intestines most of us prefer to forget - await the unwary foreign shopper, trained by supermarkets to think that meat comes neatly cling-wrapped on polystyrene trays. Greece has a sort of transplant feast called enthostia lathorigani, which includes intestines, sweetbreads, spleen, heart and kidneys. This is pretty unattractive and grey, with everything cut into bits and cooked in the oven in a rather basic fashion.

Having first checked with your guests that they are of the adventurous sort, who will not be squeamish about viscera on the plate, try this organ special. It is really quite a conversation-piece and will be particularly appropriate when you are having a surgeon to dinner. The key to getting the dish right is cooking every element separately to the right degree of doneness and only amalgamating them immediately prior to serving.


  • 3 lambs’ hearts
  • 4 tbsp malt vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ bottle (400 ml/14 fl oz) of red wine
  • 1.1 litres/2 pt chicken stock
  • 3 lambskidneys
  • 1 lemon
  • 450 g/1 lb lambs’ liver
  • 900 g/2 lb onions
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • handful of flat-leaf parsley
  • 85 g/3 oz flour
  • salt and pepper

For the Beurre Manié

  • 30 g/1 oz butter
  • 30 g/1 oz flour



Cut open the lambs’ hearts, rinse under running water and put to soak for 2 hours in water you have acidulated with the malt vinegar.

Drain the hearts, put in a pan with the bay leaf and cover with the red wine and chicken stock. Bring to the boil, skim, lower the heat and simmer gently for 1½-2 hours until tender. Remove the hearts and reserve.

Turn up the heat and boil the broth rapidly to reduce by two-thirds.

While the hearts are cooking, skin the kidneys and cut them in half lengthwise. Cut out the fatty core and any tubes. Put to marinate in the juice from the lemon for about 30 minutes, stirring from time to time. Cut the liver into thin slices.

Peel and slice the onions and fry in 4 tablespoons of olive oil until brown. Transfer to a roasting tin and keep warm. Peel, smash and chop the garlic. Destalk the parsley and chop the leaves.

Cut the cooked hearts into bite-size pieces, giving tubes to the borzoi.

Make the beurre manié by kneading the butter and flour together to make a paste and reserve.

Drain the marinated kidneys and pat dry.

Preheat a hot grill and heat 2 large frying pans on the hob.


Brush the kidneys with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and put to grill. Dip the slices of liver in the flour seasoned with 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper to coat.

Put a spoonful of oil into each of the pans. When smoking hot, add the garlic to one of them and immediately lay the liver in it.

Put the onions and heart pieces into the other pan, stir and toss. Lower the heat.

Cook the liver for 2 minutes and turn.

Turn the kidneys under the grill.

Cook the liver for a further minute and transfer to a warmed serving dish, arranging the slices overlapping at one end.

Remove the kidneys after 3 minutes and arrange at the other end of the dish. (Both kidneys and liver should be pink in the middle.)

Whisk small pieces of beurre manié into the reduced broth to thicken. Taste and season if needed.


Mound the onions and heart in the centre of the serving dish. Pour the sauce over the kidneys and liver. Scatter parsley over all. Serve hot with crusty bread.

Part of