Ox heart stuffed with mushroom duxelle

  • medium
  • 6
  • 60 minutes
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Regula Ysewijn revisits an old English classic – roasted ox heart – which she updates with a delicious stuffing of kale, bacon and mushrooms. Heart is one of the cheapest cuts of meat available today and makes a fantastic alternative roast dinner.

First published in 2016

Eat your heart out. Let us start with a pun and get it over with! I guarantee you that this will be the most surprising dish you will make this year, plus it is great way to impress your guests. And with Valentine’s Day approaching, what better cut of meat to explore than the heart.

Heart is quite commonly eaten in Peru, but it might surprise some of you that is was also eaten in England for centuries, before it became associated with offal and then neglected. Beef heart is so unpopular that I get mine from a local farm for as little as £3, and fellow Great British Chefs contributor Victoria got hers for £7.50/kg from a posh London butcher. That is great value for a huge piece of meat. In Peru they make kebab-style roasted heart like this recipe from Victoria, in England beef heart was usually stuffed with forcemeat.

To make the dish slightly lighter I opted for a duxelle, which is a mixture of mushrooms, bacon and kale.

The flavour of the heart is very beefy so there will be great flavours in this dish. It is a muscle so it has many similarities with steak, though it contains far more protein. It is actually quite nutritious as it is packed with other vitamins as well. The heart should be a deep brownish red with a large amount of yellow fat on the top. The fat looks a lot like kidney fat – which is suet – although it can not be used in the same way.

In this day and age it becomes ever more important to eat from nose-to-tail. It is not a food fad, it is common sense. So give heart a go. Ask your butcher to trim it for you if you aren’t up to the task, you can always try it yourself when you prepare it next time.




Stuffed ox heart


Begin by prepping the heart. Your butcher might have prepped it already but usually heart comes with muscle fat, arteries and blood vessels. This isn’t something to be scared of, it is actually quite beautiful to see what a heart looks like
Remove the hard fat – don’t worry if you cut away a little of the meat, it is safer to do this than it is to cut into the tough fat
Trim away the 2 flaps on the top of the heart, these used to be known as ‘deaf ears’ and you’ll see why as they look a little like pigs ears
On the outside of the heart you will notice some large arteries and blood vessels, just cut these out
On the inside of the heart, remove the stringy parts shown in the photo. If the heart still has a piece that looks a bit like a windpipe, also remove this.
You should end up with two halves of heart without any hard bits left. There is no need to completely remove all the fat, a little will be fine and will give it flavour
To make the duxelle, blanch the kale in boiling salted water, then refresh in cold water
Fry the bacon until crisp, remove from the pan and set aside. Fry the mushrooms in the bacon fat, adding butter if needed – do not let them get too much colour
Chop the fried bacon into smaller pieces so they are not too much larger then the mushrooms. Chop up the blanched kale into a similar size and mix everything together. Season with pepper, I don't add salt as the bacon is salty but judge for yourself. Leave the mixture to cool
Place 1 half of the heart on a plate. Place butcher’s twine under the heart so you don’t need to move the heart once it is stuffed. Spoon the filling inside the heart, then place the other half of the heart on top and tie it together with twine
Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2
Get a large cast-iron skillet scorching hot, put a generous knob of butter into the pan and a splash of vegetable oil. Carefully place the heart into the pan and fry for about 3 minutes each side, being very gentle when turning it over
Place onto a wire rack set over over a baking tray and transfer to the bottom shelf of the oven. Roast the heart for 40 minutes for medium-rare (as I have) or longer if you like it more well done. Don’t let it roast for too long as the meat does need to be pink
Serve with all the trimmings you would serve for a Sunday roast
First published in 2016

Food photographer, graphic designer and author of Pride and Pudding (Murdoch 2016).

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