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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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heart an organ which is in almost all instances an edible part of an animal. Among the various sorts of offal, it is unusual in that it consists almost entirely of muscle. Moreover, the nature of the organ is such that the muscles are in constant use, pumping blood around the body, while the animal is alive; and hearts of older animals are therefore likely to be tough and to need marinating before being cooked. Hearts also have to be trimmed of fat and ‘pipes’ beforehand.

Large ox hearts may be sliced and then grilled (broiled) if they are sufficiently tender; or, as more commonly happens, subjected to slow moist cooking, e.g. braising or stewing. Smaller ones are suitable for stuffing and then being baked. In peru, ox heart is marinaded in vinegar, skewered, grilled over charcoal and brushed with a hot sauce of chilli and ground annatto. There are innumerable composite dishes relying on mixed offal including the heart such haggis, haslet, sonofabitch stew, or the Filipino blood stew dinuguan. The smallest hearts of all, such as rabbits’, are apt to turn up with the edible meat in a casserole dish or the like.