Tag Archives: Africa

Stir-fried Veal Heart – Nose to Tail Fortnight Day 6

5 May

Now we moved more towards the middle of the animal, things are going to get cooked in a less linear order. This is because I am defrosting a lot of the offal now (there was a freezer accumulation) and it all depends on what I pull out.

Now we are in the innards of the animal, and pretty much all we’ll eat over the next couple of days will be organ-licious. The variety, however is hugely surprising.

Before we get to the veal heart of the matter – a word about lunch. Today we double offalled. Oh yes. Two organs, one day. All the win. For lunch we chicken liver curry. This was one of the first things I cooked with offal and because I live in the curry-capital that is Leeds, spicy chicken livers are on a lot of menus. Today we had a curry that channelled a bit of Africa as I used again some of the spices that I got sent in my first foodie penpals package. Today I used the Hot Chilli Pepper (it is super hot) and some Cameroon Pepper (which tastes a bit smoky). These along with ginger, chilli flakes and garlic made something pretty hot (but not too hot for me). I didn’t take a picture because for me now, it’s a pretty normal thing to cook and I’m sure I’ve made it and not blogged about it. It was good. It looked like a typical tomato-based curry, but with chicken livers in.

For supper, the Beautiful Man and I were slightly more adventurous and chose to make a couple of meals out of our de-frosted veal heart (from the lovely Heaves Farm Veal). So there’ll be another post about the Grand Plan tomorrow. I’ve cooked heart before (it was 2 for 1 when I got the hearts) so this time I had an idea of what I was meant to be doing. The heart has several chambers and for dinner tonight I was taking out the meat that makes the walls of the heart and chopping it up for stir fry. Most hearts you buy (I am led to believe) are already slit so the abattoir vetenery officer can check the animals health. This makes our job easier. Key to understanding where to cut is handling the organ, understanding where the chambers are and where you need to cut. Again, like the testicles, it’s quite intuitive.

Once you’ve cut the chamber walls out, slice them fairly thinly, bite-sized pieces I think. Then I marinaded the meat. I think this helped to tenderise it.

For the marinade:

1 tsp minced ginger, 1 tsp ras el hanout, 1 tsp harissa, 3 tbsp orange juice, 1 wedge of lemon squeezed in.

Mix all these together with the heart in a bowl. Leave to stand for twenty minutes.

All there was then left to do was make some egg-fried rice (this was incidentally the first time me or the Wondrous Male had made egg-fried rice – all the experiementation) and stir-fry on a high heat the heart for five minute or less.

So there you go. The exciting thing that I’m taking away from this is that heart can be lovely if you just cook it fast. After Valentine’s Day (which was good) I felt like I’d lost a bit of my heart confidence. But it’s back now! So, next time you’re making stir-fry and shopping in Morrisons put up a pack of heart there.

Just so you haven’t lost track of our pace along the animal – here is my up-to-date diagram again:

As you can tell, I’m not a graphic designer, or any sort of artist. The green bits are testicles. (The lady cow is now a gentleman cow btw. I don’t think that’s because too much offal was eaten. That was BSE.) There’s an extra species listed type listed too! Hurrah!

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Quick Chicken Liver and Tamarind Curry

22 Feb

If you’ve ever lived with me, you’ll know that I have a penchant for suddenly making “curries” out of pretty much whatever is in the fridge. Kipper and swede curry, surprisingly good; curried bechamel parsnip lasagna, quite the disgusting disaster. Tonight however, with some defrosted chicken livers winking at me, I’m game for a new curry.

Chicken livers are fast to cook and well delicious. I first had them a few years ago fried with balsamic vinegar and wilted spinach salad, or something along those lines, balsamic was definitely involved. However, even though I know I like them, I really don’t ever cook with them. Time to rectify this!

At the start of January (the same day I bought my kidneys) I bought a packet of Sainsburys chicken livers in a fit of enthusiasm. I then realised I didn’t have time to eat them, so froze them. With the old offal, especially the organs you can only freeze things for a month, so the other night I combined unorthodox currying with my defrosted livers.

A while ago I made a tamarind stew which was super delicious (it may or may not have involved oxtail) and I thought the tamarind’s sour notes would be a good foil for the chicken liver richness. There is also an amazing chicken liver curry that you can get from Shabab’s that is spicy and delicious. With chicken livers, you can, I believe cook them until they’re slightly pink, but because these ones had been frozen I gave them a good cooking. This didn’t mean they were tough though. It’s all to do with cooking times. Like so much of cooking.

What I wanted was to get loads of flavour going in those livers, so I marinated them for half an hour or so, basically while I cooked the vegetable part of the curry.

I have a rice cooker, so before I did any of the following I put the rice cooker on with some brown rice in!

What you need is:

1 packet chicken livers;

1 onion chopped; 1 medium sweet potato roughly chopped; squirt garlic puree; 1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 tsp tamarind paste; 1/2 tsp ground ginger; 1 teaspoon madras curry powder; 1 tsp chillies chopped in oil; 1 tsp cumin seeds.

First of all mix together all the spices. It will go to a dark loose paste. A teacup and a teaspoon are good tools.

Secondly, take half of the mixture and put in a bowl with the chicken livers. Mix this well. It is now marinading.

Thirdly, start to fry the onion, then add garlic, then the sweet potato. Cook this for a few minutes on a medium heat, then add the other half of the spice mix. Keep stirring. Add the tinned tomatoes. Keep it moving. The chicken livers take very little time to cook, so you want the sweet potato to be cooked through. This seemed to take about twenty minutes.I added the blood from the liver carton to the sauce too.

Fourthly, put the curried veg mix to one side in a bowl, and using the same pan add some oil and fry the chicken livers, along with their accompanying marinade. They need a couple of minutes each side on a higher heat than the vegetables did.

Don’t worry if they start to look a bit breadcrumby because the liver is full of blood and bits come off and make it all look a bit scruffy. You can see that below. Don’t worry.

I cooked them so there was still a tiny bit of pink in the middle, mostly because I knew there would be residual heat that cooked them further whilst I plated up rice, made drinks and faffed around. Also, you want to avoid cooking-the-shit-out-of-it-itis. By the time you eat it, the pink is pretty much gone.

Fifthly, add the vegetables back into the pan and combine them and the livers together. The crumby bits of liver will now combine in the sauce.

Get a plate, put some carbs on it, then add your curry. DELICIOUS!