I hope that everybody has had a great weekend full of grilled and/or smoked food! I'm wrapping up the weekend with a nice little nose-to-tail dish: Marinated Lamb Heart Kabobs with a Cucumber Mint Raita sauce.
The connective tissue on a lamb heart isn't as tough as on a beef heart, so I don't spend as much time trimming it. I basically just take the whole heart (minus the top fat cap), and cut it into cubes.
I do trim away the chordae tendineae, which are the tough white string-like bits of connective tissue attached to the heart valves. Otherwise I leave the heart alone. Here is my cubed lamb heart (with chordae tendineae trimmed away).
I use a marinade which goes as follows for 1 lb of cubed lamb meat. Scale up or down as required.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
2 chopped garlic cloves
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground allspice
6 or so sprigs of parsley
Let the lamb heart marinate for at least 6 hours, better if you can go 8-12 hours.
1 lamb heart makes about 2 skewers of kabobs. I like to have leftovers for lunches, so I also cubed up a 2 lb boneless lamb shoulder and marinated it using the same marinade.
While the lamb was marinating, I made up some Cucumber Mint Raita to go with it. You want to make the raita a couple of hours before dinner so that the flavors have time to meld. The recipe I followed called for 1 cup of full fat yogurt, 1/2 large cucumber peeled and coarsely grated, 2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint, 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, a healthy pinch of cayenne pepper (more to taste), and S&P to taste.
The grated cucumber needs to have the water squeezed out of it so that the raita doesn't get too runny, so put it inside a few paper towels and give it a good squeeze. Then mix in all the rest of the ingredients. Put it into the refrigerator to meld.
About a half hour before you want to thread your skewers, start soaking the bamboo skewers in water. I like to use bamboo skewers for this rather than metal skewers because I don't want the inside of the lamb to get overcooked. Metal skewers would get hot and cook the lamb cubes from the inside-out as well as the outside-in from the heat of the grill.
Here are the lamb heart cubes on the skewers.
And here is the whole batch of kabobs ready to go, lamb heart skewers on the right.
On the grill. We use medium high direct heat for about 6 minutes, turning the skewers every couple of minutes. We were targeting for medium rare, but overshot a little. But the acidic marinade buys you some margin on this because it tenderizes the lamb, so the lamb doesn't get as tough as it typically would if you overshoot on the cooking.
Off the grill.
And here it is on the plate. The lamb heart skewer is on the left, lamb shoulder on the right. Only the cook would know which is which. An unwitting family member would have no idea that they were just given a kabob of organ meat. Here is a simple plate with steamed rice, sliced cucumber, and the Cucumber Mint Raita.
Here is a close-up shot of a piece of the lamb heart with some raita. Still nice and pink in the center. The marinade has a great flavor, and really does tenderize the lamb. Although both the lamb shoulder kabobs and the lamb heart kabobs were very tasty, the lamb heart was our favorite because it had a better (i.e. less chewy) texture. The lamb heart had no absolutely no liver-y or off taste, just a great flavor from the marinade. The cucumber mint raita complimented the marinated lamb kabobs really well.
This was a delicious way to prepare lamb heart, and I think it would go over well even with folks who haven't eaten heart before.
Thank you so much for checking out my post, and hope everyone has a great week!