I refuse to affirm this particular upcoming calendar event as an Actual Holiday by acknowledging it with a full and proper name.
I realized late last night that my post on Orange Flower and Custard Cream Heart Sandwich Cookies (OFCCHSC), while delicious and lovely, might be generating a false impression of me out there in cyberspace.
You should know, I am neither cutesy nor overly sentimental.
Nevertheless, this holiday that glorifies cute sentimentality with pink sparkly cards and chocolates and flowers is out there looming. I thought I'd try to make something that captures my take on the whole ridiculously overblown yet culturally ingrained thing it has become in a more realistic way than heart sandwich cookies.
I should warn you that this post is not suitable for vegans, vegetarians, or those with a delicate temperament. It is definitely carnivorous, and deals with some of the inside bits that most people never, ever see, let alone cook, or eat.
No, not awful, but offal.
To be more precise, Lamb Heart.
See there, how we've arrived at an ironically relevant and and yet vaguely inappropriate topic?
A much more accurate reflection of me, I think, and now I feel better about applications to this whole V-Day theme.
So, if you are still reading after the offal heart thing - and thanks for sticking around, all three of you - let me say that I was expecting it to be, well, gross. Like slasher movie gross.
But you know what?
It looks like meat (but, well, heart-shaped, obviously).
It feels like meat.
It tastes like meat - really, really good steak, actually.
Funnily enough, or perhaps rather predictably, the closest Nigella gets is Devil's Food Cake.
The traditional devilling method is to quickly cook the offal and make a sauce of mustard, heavy cream, and Worchester Sauce. Traditionally, Devilled Kidneys were a Victorian breakfast food. This version is not traditional, in that I gently simmer the heart in red wine and tomato sauce for 2 hours to make it meltingly tender, then add the traditional ingredients.
Also, I suggest you have this for dinner, but if you really have your heart set on eating it for breakfast, who am I to stop you.
I'll wait while you tissue up those tears of laughter.
This version is more of a Red Devilled Heart, I suppose, but it is still rich and meaty and tasty.
If you're already an offal-eating fan, or merely want to give it a try, this Devilled Heart is a delicious way to transition into some nose-to-tail eating.
One heart serves 2 as a light dinner.
1 lamb heart
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup tomato passata or sauce
1 bay leaf
generous grind of black pepper
1/2 tablespoon grainy mustard
1/2 tablespoon paradise jelly or currant jelly
1/2 tablespoon Worchester Sauce
2 tablespoons heavy cream
parsley for garnish
toast to serve
You will also need a small pot with a lid.
Clean the heart and cut away any white connective tissue. Cut the heart in half, and each half into 4 slices.
Melt the butter in a pot and brown the heart pieces, then add the wine, passata, bay leaf and pepper.
Bring to a simmer, then pop on the lid and turn to the lowest setting and very gently bubble for 2 hours, until the heart is tender and yielding. Allow to cool slightly. Remove the heart from the sauce and slice thinly.
Return the pot with the sauce back to the stove and add the mustard, jelly, and Worchester Sauce. Turn the heat to medium and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to melt the jelly and thicken the sauce. Add the heart slices, simmer for a minute or two until warmed, and remove from the heat.
Add the cream, stir, and spoon over toast to help sop up the rich and flavorful sauce.
Garnish with a generous sprinkle of chopped parsley for color and fresh green flavor, and accompany with a robust red wine and a spicy salad such as arugula.