Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cuore di Agnello Brasato al Chianti (Lamb Heart Braised in Chianti)

Every once in a while, a local grocery store stocks lamb hearts. I have made lamb hearts once before, as part of my culinary challenge, Around the World in Eighty Dishes.  The dish was Khalyat Alkadba wal Galoob or Fried Heart and Livers, a main dish from Libya.  It was the first time that I cooked with lamb hearts, and, I told myself that I would work with the ingredient again.  

From a nutritional perspective, lamb hearts have their positive and negative attributes.  Lamb hearts are relatively high in cholesterol, which is a definite negative; however, they are also packed with many essential vitamins and minerals.  A serving of lamb hearts, which is about 4/10 of a pound, has a whopping 357% of the daily value of Vitamin B12, along with 134% of Riboflavin, 95% of Protein, 59% of Iron, 42% of Niacin and 22% of Vitamin C.  

Recently, the store stocked locally raised, lamb hearts.  I bought a couple of hearts with a specific recipe in mind.  I decided to braise the lamb hearts in wine, much like a Brasato al Barolo.  I thought about braising the hearts in Barolo wine, but a bottle of Barolo can be very expensive.  For that reason, a brasato is often done with other red wines, such as Chianti.  A good Chianti Riserva is much cheaper than Barolo and it can still produce a great sauce.  

I found a recipe for beef hearts braised in wine, so I used that as a guide.  However, I made a few changes to the recipe, apart from the use of lamb hearts and Chianti wine.  I substituted beef broth with veal stock.  I also added some ingredients, such as a shallot and crushed red pepper.  In the end, my efforts produced a nicely braised dish of lamb hearts coated in a velvety, rich sauce.  I have to say that this is a great success.

(Lamb Heart Braised in Chianti)
Recipe adapted from 
Serves 2 

1 pound of lamb hearts (about two hearts)
1/8 cup of all purpose flour
2 tablespoons of butter
1 carrot, sliced
2 Vidalia bulbs, diced finely
1 shallot diced finely
1 pinch of crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon of dried thyme
1/4 cup of Chianti Riserva
1/4 cup of veal stock
Salt, to taste
Ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of flat leaf parsley, chopped finely

1.  Prepare the hearts.  Wash the hearts and dry them.  Trim the hearts of excess fat and arteries.  Slice the heart in half and then slice the halves in 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices.  

2.  Saute the hearts.  Heat the butter over medium high heat in a deep saute pan.  Coat the heart slices in flour and add to the saute pan.  Cook the heart slices for thirty seconds to one minute.  

3.  Add the vegetables and liquids.  Add the onions, shallots and carrots, along with the crushed red pepper and thyme.  Also add the wine and veal stock.  Cook for fifteen minutes at most. 

4.  Plate the dish.  Spoon the lamb hearts, vegetables and sauce into bowls.  Sprinkle with flat Italian parsley.  You can serve this dish with some mashed potatoes or rice.


Given the lamb hearts are braised in Chianti wine, the most obvious choice for a wine pairing is a Chianti wine.  Any Chianti wine -- Chianti Classico, Chianti Riserva, Chianti Ruffina, etc. -- will do.=  Other Sangiovese wines, including blends like Super Tuscans, will also pair well with this dish.  A couple of wines that I have reviewed, which I think would work well with this dish include:

La Mozza -- Aragone
40% Sangiovese, 25% Alicante, 25% Syrah and 10% Carignan
Tuscany, Italy
Flavors of cherries, raspberries and a little plum

Marchesi Frescobaldi -- Nipozzano Riserva
100% Sangiovese
Chianti, Tuscany, Italy
Flavors of dark cherries, with a little spice


For more about the nutritional value of lamb hearts, check out Self Nutritional Data.

1 comment:

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