Chicken Hearts? You bet! Often overlooked, these inexpensive little morsels can make an absolutely fantastic dish with just a little creativity, a little spice, and (of course); a little smoke!
These heart brochettes are marinated before being cold smoked and then finished on the grill. The wild mushroom and beef stock reduction compliments the earthy flavours of the smoked hearts. Served on toasted French loaf on a bed of balsamic bitter greens, this recipe allows you take the lowly chicken heart and wow your guests.
1 lb chicken hearts, rinsed in cold water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Wine vinegar
1 clove garlic minced
Two green onions finely chopped
Sea salt* and cracked pepper
(*If using canned broth omit this salt)
1 cup beef broth
2 Tbsp red wine
½ oz dried mushrooms (I used oyster, but any will do)
Sliced red onion
Cherry Tomatoes halved
50/50 mix of dark balsamic vinegar and good olive oil
– The hearts are rinsed and then placed into a bowl with the marinade ingredients.
– Stir until well coated and allow to marinade for at least an hour (overnight is better) stirring occasionally to ensure even penetration.
– Remove the hearts from the marinade and thread directly onto bamboo skewers which you’ve soaked for a couple of hours.
– Place the brochettes on to a smoker rack and cold-smoke the hearts for 1.5-2 hours over apple Bisquettes.
How to Prepare an Intensely Flavoured Sauce
While the hearts are smoking, you can go ahead and start on the intensely flavoured sauce that will top the brochettes.
– Begin by placing your dried mushrooms into a bowl of beef stock to rehydrate. Although canned concentrated beef broth will work fine, it is better if you have homemade stock. However, you’ll have to eliminate all other salt in the recipe, as the sauce will be more than salty enough.
– Once the mushrooms have plumped, remove them from the stock and set aside for now.
– In a saucepan, bring the stock to a boil and add the red wine.
– Reduce heat and simmer the stock until it has reduced by ¾. Then add the mushrooms back into the sauce and simmer for one more minute.
– Remove from heat and set aside.
– Before pulling the hearts and moving to the grill, take a minute to prepare your plates.
– On each plate, place a small bunch of Arugula, some sliced sweet or red onion and some halved cherry tomatoes.
– In a small bowl, whisk together some balsamic vinegar with an equal part olive oil, and drizzle over the greens.
Back to the heart(s) of the matter
– Preheat your barbecue to medium-high and place the brochettes directly on an oiled grill.
– Cook for about 8 minutes, turning occasionally to ensure even cooking.
– During the last 4 minutes, place slides of French bread on to your grill, away from direct heat and toast it, until it’s a nice golden brown. However, if you have a small grill, you can do this in the broiler … or even the toaster.
Plate and Serve
Put your sauce back on the low heat to warm back up, and then place a slice of bread on the greens, top with a heart brochette. Just before serving, spoon a small amount of the reduction sauce over each brochette, allowing it to run over and soak into the toasted bread. Start sparingly, as the sauce is very intensely flavoured and serve.
Wine Note: Although technically a “poultry” dish , the dark, rich hearts and savory reduction pair better with a merlot or other big, robust red wine, as opposed to the traditional white.