Fried sheep's hearts

Slaughter season is in full swing in Iceland. This means that besides lowered prices for fresh unfrozen lamb, mutton and horse meat, you can also get fresh offal, which is not only cheap, but also nutritious and often quite yummy. While it is generally possible to get these products fresh year round now, it is more usual to find them frozen and when fresh they tend to cost more off season because there is less supply. This is also the only time of the year when you can get fresh sheep's blood to make blood sausages.

In the next week or so I am going to revisit some offal recipes I have published here in the past, but I am going to start with a recipe I haven't published before: Fried sheep's hearts.

2-3 sheep's hearts, or 1-2 pig's hearts
1 bunch parsley
1 tbs butter or margarine
50 g margarine or butter
1 tsp salt
300 ml water or milk
2 tbs flour
100 ml cold water

Wash the hearts well under cold running water until there is no blood left in them. Soak in cold water for a while. Dry inside and out with a cloth. Chop the parsley and mix well with the 50 g of butter and stuff the hearts with this mixture. Melt the 1 tsp. of butter and brown the hearts in it. Put the hearts in a cooking pot, add milk or water and salt. Cook for 30 to 60 minutes. Small hearts need less cooking and if the hearts come from an old sheep they need longer cooking.

Remove the hearts. Make a paste out of flour and cold water and use it to make gravy from the cooking liquid.

To make gravy, strain the cooking liquid into a small saucepan and bring it to the boil. When it is boiling, you add the flour paste, stirring constantly. It takes a bit of experience to know when to stop adding the paste – just pour it in slowly and stir the gravy with a whisk and when you feel it getting thicker, you stop pouring the paste. Then cook it for a couple of minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste, and adjust the flavour with salt and spices and if you think it looks too pale, add a couple of drops of gravy colouring.

Slice the hearts and arrange on a serving dish. Pour a little of the gravy over them. Serve with cooked or mashed potatoes and cooked vegetables with the sauce on the side.

The hearts can also be stuffed with prunes and dried apples or browned mushrooms, in which case they need to be sewn closed, OR they can be cut into 6-8 strips, in which case they only need 30 minutes of cooking.


Anonymous said...

This recipe sounds really yummy where in the usa can someone get sheep hearts? And how do you make the gravy?

Bibliophile said...

How to get sheep’s hearts in the USA? That can be problematic if you don’t live in a big city where you can get anything. If there is a Middle-Eastern butcher shop near you, you could try that, as mutton is just as popular as beef in Middle-Eastern cooking.

You can substitute pig hearts – I think they should be a bit easier to get. They are bigger, so for three sheep hearts you would use 2 pig hearts. A butcher shop would be the best place to ask - I doubt you can get specialty meats from regular US supermarkets.

I've added gravy-making instructions to the recipe.

Hope this helps :-)