I bought a kilo of chicken hearts this week for a silly price.
Half the hearts were marinated and scorched on the grill,
while the other half became a delicious Spanish stew.
I appreciate that many people are turned off by offal, but hearts are low in calories, contain lots of iron, selenium and zinc, along with several types of vitamin B. These B vitamins protect against high blood pressure and reduce cholesterol. On top of this, hearts have a mild flavour and a yielding rubbery texture like squid or octopus. lending themselves to spicy stews and slow cooking.
Corazones de Pollo Guisados (serves 2):
500g chicken hearts
1 large onion (chopped)
6 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 green pepper (chopped)
8 medium mushrooms (chopped)
1 medium tomato (grated)
a level teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon pimetón de la Vera picante
1 teaspoon pimetón de la Vera dulce
a pinch of crushed chipotle chilli
2 bay leaves
a heaped teaspoon of chopped parsley and a little extra for garnish
a squirt of anchovy paste
a teaspoon of cornflour (called cornstarch in America)
1 glass dry white wine
a cup of chicken stock
a splash of sherry vinegar
lashings of extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
Clean the chicken hearts, chop the tops off and brown them in olive oil – while doing so sprinkle with ground cumin and a little salt. When the hearts have taken some colour, remove them to a plate.
Gently poach the onion in the same olive oil – add more if necessary.
When the onion is soft, add the garlic and grate the tomato on top.
Stir in the green pepper and mushrooms.
Return the chicken hearts to the dish.
Mix in the pimentón, a pinch of chipotle or other crushed chilli and a squirt of anchovy paste.
Pour on the stock, wine and sherry vinegar.
Add the bay leaves, sprinkle with parsley and cook for 30 – 40 minutes, until the hearts are tender. Don’t overcook the stew, the hearts won’t thank you for it! When ready, mix a teaspoon of cornflour with 3 or 4 teaspoons of the cooking liquid (in a small cup or bowl) and stir it back into the chicken livers to thicken the sauce.