Monica King here to talk about one of my favorite places: a ranch in Sonora, Mexico. Not the border towns, but deeper into the heart where some of the most beautiful people and country exists. Where life is like the United States was – sixty years ago.


Into the Heart of Sonora

Our first stop on our trip to Sonora would be a small town called Cumpas, a two hour drive south of International border. We would stock up on groceries then drive an hour out into the mountains where we would stay in a remote ranch house for a week. To take a hot shower we would have to light a fire under an old tank water heater and then wait twenty minutes. It was heaven. No cell phones, no internet.


We were spoiled because a cook and a cowboy would stay with us. The cowboy would keep logs stocked for the fires and tend the horses, but it was always the cook that held my attention. I wanted to learn local cuisine, so of course I always asked if I could help.


Deer Season

One Autumn day, a deer was harvested. There was a lively discussion over which cut to have for dinner. The Americans wanted the tenderloins, the cowboy insisted it be the heart, liver, and kidneys. The heart was by far my favorite, it tasted like fillet mignon! It was on that day I learned how to make Corazon Asado, or roasted heart.



Grilled Deer Heart – Corazon Asado

Prepare the Heart

Clean and trim the heart of any fat and tough pieces.
With a sharp filet knife, start at one of the ventricles and slice around the heart. The goal is to create a single piece of meat with one long cut.



Sprinkle the meat with dried or freshly diced leaves of Mexican oregano (Aloysia species), or use European oregano.
Also season with garlic salt, and chili powder.
Ideally let this sit and the herbs flavor the meat as you prepare the Salsa de Bandera.
When your side dishes are ready, cook the meat and serve right off the grill.

More about Mexican Oregano in Father Kino’s Herbs: Growing and Using Them Today.

Mexican oregano is a low-water plant that can be grown in Southern Arizona.
Prepare forGrilling

Do not use too hot a fire – especially not one with flames roaring. A good hot bed of coals is what is needed, with a grill or grate warmed nicely to give the meat a nice outer sear.
Place the heart onto the hot grill and turn only once.
This cooks quickly, depending on how thick your filet is made and the grill temperature.
Cooking time is 3-6 minutes.

A simple dish that almost melts in your mouth.

So simple! I have made this for guests at my home since that Autumn night – using deer, elk, and beef heart. Everyone is pleasantly surprised and I have never had anyone not like it. You can find it occasionally at Mexican meat markets or request from a private butcher shop.


Salsa de Bandera

A wonderful side dish to go with roasted heart is “Salsa de Bandera.” This translates to Salsa of the Flag because the ingredient colors are green, white, and red – the colors of the flag of Mexico.


2 large green chilies, seeded
1 small jalapeno, seeded
cilantro to taste

1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded

4 medium Tomatoes

White plus Green:
4 scallions, green onions, or the tops of I’itoi onions

Finely dice all ingredients, season with salt and squeeze of fresh lime.

Lime and cilantro help blend the flavors of this fresh and refreshing salsa.

If I had guests tonight I would also serve some beans, rice, grilled onions, guacamole and fresh flour tortillas but tonight it is just the two of us relaxing, savoring and reliving memories of trips to Sonora.

Buena Salud!

If you live in Southeastern Arizona, visit Savorist Monica King Saturdays at the Arivaca’s Farmers Market for some of our products.  (She will not be wearing the bee veil!)  You can also come to one of Savorist Jacqueline Soule’s free lectures. We try to mention both on our Facebook page. We both have copies of Father Kino’s Herbs: Growing and Using Them Today (Tierra del Sol Institute Press). This link is to Amazon and if you buy the book there we will get a few pennies.
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