Well, I haven’t reported on any odd edibles lately, so I figure I should go ahead and add one. Welcome to a continuing but periodical collection of “nose to tail” (or should today we say, “beak to tailfeather”?) eating.
Poached Poultry Hearts and Kale
One of the poultry breeders around here sells ducks, quail, and chickens, from whom I occasionally buy a duck or something. They’re GOOD (that’s where the duck came from I’ve written about before).
He knows I use the entire bird with the exception of the quack, so he handed me a bag, no charge, of leftover hearts, livers and necks (from both ducks and chickens, but mostly chicken).
The livers I am freezing to accumulate for a future pate, and the necks were frozen to add to the pot when I render down the carcass from the duck itself. The hearts I simply poached this morning for breakfast, along with kale.
Growing up, the parents would buy whole chickens, and the giblets would always be inside, and they would always cook them along with the rest of the bird. I wasn’t too eager for the liver then, but I’d nail the heart every time I could. I didn’t mind the gizzard, either, but the heart made my own soar. Nowadays in the supermarket, everyone seems to buy “parts”, and boneless “parts” at that, so that when you do see a whole chicken, seldom are there any giblets inside. I guess they all become pet food or something.
The recipe is easy — the below serves one person as a side:
6 Poultry hearts (chicken or duck) — six is what he gave me. 12 would have made a second side…
1.5 ounces kale, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
salt and ground pepper to taste
Set the hearts into water, you don’t need to fill the pot especially if you wish to concentrate the flavors in the liquid and perhaps reserve for your future duck stock-making venture. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to a rapid simmer — medium hot — and allow to cook about 15 minutes, turning the hearts occasionally if the water isn’t covering them.
Then, drop the garlic and the kale in, stirring to wilt down the kale.
Cook another 3-4 minutes, and either retrieve everything with a slotted spoon, or drain through a sieve.
Serve and enjoy.
Frankly, if you think you are intimidated by the heart, give it a test drive anyway. It’s a good solid muscle meat, and from a healthy animal, it is definitely nutritious.
And if you luck into turkey or goose hearts — just cook them longer (or better yet, cut them in half).
Another option is to poach them in a nutritious broth (veggie or chicken) instead of water.