STUFFED LAMB HEARTS
If you’ve read this far I’m assuming that you’re not one of the many who are squeamish about the concept of offal. I made this dish because, having had two lambs slaughtered, I had two lamb hearts and in the spirit of nose-to-tail eating I wanted to make use of them. As far as cuts of meat go, heart is pretty literal – it looks exactly as you’d expect a heart to. But properly trimmed, prepared and slow-cooked it’s a tender piece of meat with a vague textural resemblance to kidney. Unsurprisingly, it’s not the most popular cut, which is why a leg of lamb will cost you about £35 while two lambs hearts cost £1.50. And no, that’s not a typo – £1.50.
Inspiration for this recipe came from Hugh F-W’s Shin of Beef with Ginger and Soy and Food Urchin’s Braised Stuffed Lamb Hearts.
Preheat oven to 140°c / 275°f
2 lamb hearts
1 good-quality butchers sausage of your choice
6 slices of prosciutto
3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3-inch piece of fresh ginger, scraped and thinly sliced
1 small fat red chilli
75ml light soy sauce
3tbsp redcurrant jelly
450ml lamb or beef stock
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1. Thoroughly rinse the hearts, ensuring you remove all blood from the chambers, then pat dry. Trim off as much as possible of the external fat, along with any tubes and grisly bits.
2. Remove the skin from the sausage and stuff as much as possible into the chearts. Wrap each heart in three slices of prosciutto and tie into neat parcels with string.
3. Heat a splash of oil in an oven-proof pan and brown the hearts well on all sides. Remove and set aside. Add the ginger and garlic to the pan, cooking for a couple of minutes until just starting to colour. Add the jelly and soy sauce, stirring until the jelly has melted. Return the hearts to the pan along with the stock and vinegar. Make sure the hearts are at least 2/3 covered with liquid, adding more stock if not.
4. Cover the pan and put into the oven for 2 hours, turning the hearts halfway through.
5. Take the hearts out of the liquid and keep them warm. Remove and discard the chilli, ginger and garlic then return the pan to the heat and boil briskly for about 3 minutes until slightly reduced – keep an eye on it, you don’t want it thick and caramelly.
6. Slice the hearts, drizzling over the thickened sauce. Serve with a simple risotto or mash and greens.