Recipes I've found online for beef heart often recommend to remove valves and to rinse away excess blood with water before cooking. Why are these steps necessary? What are the valves made of? Not edible? Even if slow cooked for 8+ hours? I'm guessing even so, they wouldn't be dangerous, right? Just spit them out like bones? What about the blood? Wouldn't cooking make any of the blood safe to consume? Wouldn't both the valves and blood be potential sources of nutrients?
asked byMike_T_1 (9402)
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on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM
Valves remain tough and unpleasant after long period of cooking. If you want to brown the meat of the heart before braising it, it is advisable, as with any meat product, to dry off any excess liquid. I see this advice as contributing to the palatability and enjoyment of heart.
on June 24, 2012
at 11:27 PM
Wow... What a deep question...
Biological valves are typically cartilage and tissue, or muscular. They can be rendered for their composite "fatty" parts, but that's not what's at issue with heart meat. Typical heart valves in mammals are made of reticulin, elastin, and collegin, the latter of which provides the "thicken when cooled" properties of our broths. (My spelling of the components may be off...)
Vascularlly, the heart valves perform what is known as "check-valve" duty within the body. They generally (absent some disease or genetic defect) prevent blood from flowing the wrong way. The removal of the valves is for no other reason than to make the heart cook "properly"; no trapped blood or other internal fluid that might, potentially, support a pathogen.
Cooking anything over 140-degrees Fahrenheit for eight will eliminate pretty much any bacteriological pathogen, but it cannot defend against prions. Removing the valves allows circulation of the cooking liquid through the organ in ways that the organ wasn't designed to deal with, thereby thoroughly cooking it. Discard the liquid and you're good (most likely).
Discard the cooking liquid after a long braise, and enjoy your prepared hearts!
on June 26, 2012
at 12:33 PM
I haven't tried slow cooking to see how it affects the texture, but I know for a quick-cooking sear, the valves and fascia are very chewy. The heart has a much better texture when it is trimmed well for this cooking method. I save the scraps and grind them.
Also, heart makes wonderful jerky since it is so lean.