Snow White still lives, fairest in the land. ‘Tis the heart of a pig you hold in your hand.
Although we frequently use the term “Disney-fied” to indicate a story has been neutered, scrubbed up, teeth pulled, and generally made as palatable as unseasoned oatmeal, Walt Disney certainly kept the strong thread of terror running through much of their early features. Cinderella did away with the bloody slipper (and the death of the evil stepmother), but by Crom, the scene where they strip of her homemade finery is terrifying. Snow White‘s similarly stripped of gore, but he kept the terror.
The scenes where Snow White runs through the forest are directly inspired by expressionist films Nosferatu and Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. The Evil Queen cackles to herself over the idea of the young princess being buried alive. And of course, the Evil Queen still demands that the Huntsman returns Snow White’s heart in a jeweled box. (In both versions the Huntsman returns with an animal’s heart after telling the young girl to run away.)
In the original, the Queen eats the heart raw, because of course she does.
We’re going to be slightly more civilized and cook the lamb’s heart.
Hearts are hard working muscles and they have to be cooked either low and slow or superfast and superhot. Cow hearts are big enough that they can be sliced thin and grilled and chicken hearts are small enough to be quickly sauteed. For a moderately sized heart like lamb, braising is a better choice.
I’m only making one heart in this recipe (Colin is not fond of offal), but this could very easily be scaled up.
The heart you get may not be all nicely trimmed like this. You may need to trim away excess fat and cut off the uhm . . . “tubes”. Since they are very tough it would be easiest just to slice them away with some of the meat on the top of the heart.
Mine also arrived already split open, so it was easy to stuff the ventricles. If you do this you will need to use kitchen twine to tie the heart shut again. You can also just shove the stuffing in through where the tubes were.
Now, on to the cookery!
Stuffed Braised Lamb Heart
Procs: 1 serving per heart
Difficulty: Getting over the fact you’re preparing a heart is the hardest part
Equipment: Casserole dish with lid (or aluminum foil)
Time: About an hour of cook time, 15 minutes of prep time if you already have stuffing
- Lamb Heart
- Stuffing (pick your favorite – I used duxelles)
- Sage and onion
- Sausage stuffing
- Your favorite stuffing (although I would not recommend oyster stuffing)
- Carrot, peeled and chunked
- Two cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
- 3-4 sprigs of thyme
- Red wine, enough to come 2/3 of the way up the heart. (About 8 oz for this dish)
- Set oven to 300F.
- After cleaning your heart, stuff it. You can do this by cutting through one side and stuffing the cavity that way. Or you can shove it in through the space where the arteries were.
- If necessary, tie the heart together so it stays intact and the stuffing stays in.
- Make a little bed with the carrots, thyme, and garlic in the casserole dish. (Some chunked onion and celery would also be nice if you have it.)
- Add the heart and wine.
- Cover the casserole dish and place it in the oven. After about a half and hour turn the heart.
- When the heart is tender after another half hour or so, then it is done cooking.
- Remove the heart to rest, about 5 minutes
- Slice and serve.