Sheep's hearts in plum sauce
To serve 6:
6 lamb's or sheep's hearts
100 g flour
butter for frying
salt and pepper
6 well ripe plums (it doesn't say which kind, but the photo with the recipe shows red plums with yellow flesh - BTW, don't expect to see any such thing when the dish is cooked, since the luscious plum wedges shown in the image are a fiction of food photography)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
100 ml sweet white wine
meat broth (e.g. lamb, chicken or vegetable) or water
2 tbsp cornstarch (or potato starch, or Maizena sauce thickener)
First, here's how I had to compromise on the recipe: The week before I made it, I saw at least three varieties of plums in every food shop I entered and they always seemed to be so ripe as to be on the verge of becoming liquid inside their skins. The day I actually went to buy them all I could find were rock-hard purple plums, the kind which seem to go from hard to spoiled overnight and never really have a nice flavour. I used them anyway and near the end of the cooking time I could hardly taste them at all. I don't know what genius was watching over me but all of a sudden I had the idea of adding a dash of soy sauce. It was done purely to try to improve the rather bland flavour with a bit of salty soyness, but after about 10 minutes more cooking I thickened the sauce and tasted it and found it bursting with a plummy sweetness, well-balanced against a slightly salty note with gamy undertones. I think the MSG in the soy sauce must have brought out the umami flavour in the sauce and amplified the plum flavour. Anyway, you shouldn't have to worry about adding MSG if you use properly ripe plums.
Oh, and I used water and not broth, which may have had some effect as well.
To make the dish:
Trim the fat from the hearts and slice each lengthwise into 6-7 wedges. Wash and then soak under running cold water for 2 hours.
While the hearts soak, chop the onions and remove the stones from the plums and cut each into 6 wedges.
Remove the hearts from the water, pat them dry and dredge the pieces in flour. Brown in hot butter and season with salt and pepper.
Add the plums and the onion and then the wine. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by about 1/3.
Add the broth or water to cover and cook for 1-2 hours (depending on the thickness of the heart pieces and whether they were from an adult sheep or a lamb, or you could just compromise and cook them for 1 1/2 hours).
Make a paste from the cornstarch/potato starch and cold water and stir into the sauce until it is thickened to your liking (Maizena can be poured directly into the liquid to be thickened).
Serve with parsley and fresh vegetables.