Brazilian Chicken Hearts on Skewers, Churrasco Style

If you’ve ever been to one of those Brazilian restaurants where the meat is paraded around, fully cooked but attached to swords or skewers, you’ll get the idea.  In Brazil, they also do this with chicken hearts, but I’ve not seen this in restaurants in Florida, Connecticut or Illinois — the three locations I’ve investigated to date.  (I wonder if one can leave a special request with the wait staff…)

Brazilian, offal, chicken heart, Churrasco

Brazilian Chicken Heart Currasco with Grape Tomato

Anyhow, the proper name for this method of cooking is churrasco, and a churrascaria is the place where these meats are cooked or grilled.

And, Warning:  there’s  a chicken heart closeup-macro photo at the bottom of this post.  (It’s better than looking at a hot dog… well, considering… )

The heart, just like the legs and the breasts of the bird, is also a muscle.  This is a differentiation from many other organ meats.  It is a hard-working one, too.  You want not to over cook it; but of course coming from chicken, you don’t want to under cook it, either.  At any rate, you don’t want this tiny little morsel of nutrition to escape you!  As a child, I begged for the chicken heart from any whole chicken we prepared.  (Dad was my only serious competition for it…)  I can’t remotely comprehend being intimidated by it!

I took the liberty in this recipe of adding grape tomatoes to the skewers.  It’s not traditional, but the two items are of similar size.  AND I like ’em, and they were looking at me from the fridge, so hey…

Oh, by the way, chicken heart yakatori is found in Japan — another version of chicken hearts on a skewer.  Next time I lay my hands on some quality chicken hearts, I’ll give that recipe a try!

Prep Time:  15 minutes active, plus at least an hour to marinate.
Cook Time:  7 – 8 minutes on a hot grill.
Rest Time:  About 5 minutes, but mainly for the sake of cooling down those grape tomatoes!
Serves:  As an appetizer, consider somewhere between half a skewer to a full skewer per person.  
Special equipment:  Bamboo skewers.  (You could use the metal skewers, but be careful of your fingers – the metal will retain the heat!)

Brazilian Charrasco-Style Chicken Hearts

 Marinate:

* Juice from 1/4 – 1/3rd lemon
* 1/4 teaspoon ground sea salt
* 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
* 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
* 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper.

In addition:

* about 1/2 pound chicken hearts, cleaned up (see below).  This was actually 23 individual hearts for this meal.
* about 10 grape tomatoes
Combine all the marinate ingredients together in a bowl.  Set aside.
Wash the hearts, squeezing out any blood (that’s the black stuff) that might be there.  Usually I don’t find any.  Using kitchen scissors, remove any fat from the top of the hearts and discard.
Toss the hearts in the marinate, and mix around.  You can lightly prick the hearts two or three times to enhance absorption of marinate if you desire.  Place in fridge for at least an hour, but you can go overnight if you desire.
 At least an hour before grilling, put your bamboo skewers in water to cover.  This will prevent them from igniting while cooking.
You can use your regular grill (charcoal or propane), or an electric grill such as the George Foreman.   Get it heated up and ready.  You can add the hearts and tomatoes to the skewers, making sure you keep along as much garlic as possible for the ride…  When you are ready, add the skewers over high heat, but away from any potential flare-ups.  On a Foreman, flip the skewers over after about 3 minutes — you may need to wait a minute longer on the more traditional grills.  A Foreman will heat from the top as well, but this won’t be even, so flip anyway.
Cook a minute less on the other side, and if you are on an outdoor traditional grill, pierce a heart with a toothpick that is further from the flames.  If the juices run clear, you are ready to go.
Chicken hearts, Churrasco, offal, Brazilian

Note I started putting the hearts and tomatoes on the center skewer  lengthwise, first — lengthwise was going to mean I’d run out of the 3 skewers I’d soaked before all the items got placed.  

Very yummers.  I am looking forward to trying that Japanese version later this fall!

This Brazilian creation was made LATE last April, but then for posting I was focusing on providing for Cinco de Mayo.  So, this, and the photos… they sat a bit.

Brazilian, chicken heart, offal, Churrasco

Just a close-up.  With a little mince of garlic.

 Oh, and yes:   this post is being shared at Tell ‘Em Tuesday, and Fiesta Friday!  
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About goatsandgreens

The foodie me: Low/no gluten, low sugars, lots of ethnic variety of foods. Seafood, offal, veggies. Farmers' markets. Cooking from scratch, and largely local. The "future" me: Building a log home in rural western Massachusetts. Will be raising chickens and goats/sheep. Raising veggies and going solar.
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8 Responses to Brazilian Chicken Hearts on Skewers, Churrasco Style

  1. I love chicken hearts. I love chicken liver and gizzards too. Yum!

  2. Oh my! I just love learning about different cuisines around the world. This is a new one to a good ole fashioned American. Don’t forget to link to Fiesta Friday and thanks for sharing with us 🙂

  3. Pingback: Chicken Heart Yakatori | Of Goats and Greens

  4. J.M. says:

    Where do you buy chicken hearts?

    • I’ve gotten them from a few sources — the best source has been H-Mart, a Korean supermarket, and they do have several stores. I don’t know where you are located, but if in the greater NYC area, they have at least three stores. You may try other largish Asian markets.

      I have also found them in a small store in western Massachusetts — Otis Poultry Farm.

      And, once or twice, my farmers’ market will carry them (a vender carrying chicken).

      I have no idea if you can find them on-line, but if you do they’d probably be quite pricey. I’d put a word in with your local butcher if sources related to the ones I’ve listed don’t pan out.

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