Hunting season for deer has begun across much of North America, thus this post with an excellent way to prepare the deer heart. You can also make this dish with beef heart, available at many local butcher shops.
Monica King here to talk about one of my favorite places: 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 rural life in United States sixty or more 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.
One lovely 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.
Grilled Deer Heart – Corazon Asado
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 in a shallow curving arch. 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 – pictured above on the cutting board), or use European oregano.
Also season with garlic powder, and optionally some 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.
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.
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 beef heart 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 red, white, and green – the colors of the flag of Mexico.
Finely dice all ingredients, season with salt and squeeze of fresh lime.
White: 1 large Cucumber, peeled, seeded
Red: 4 medium Tomatoes
Green: 2 large green chilies, seeded
1 small jalapeno, seeded
cilantro to taste
White plus Green: 4 scallions, green onions, or the tops of I’itoi onions
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.
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More fun with Monica in: Using Honey in New & Savory Ways (Tierra del Sol Institute Press). Only $7 online – or buy from Monica or Jacqueline in person. This link is to Amazon and if you buy the book there the Horticulture Therapy non-profit Tierra del Sol Institute will get a few pennies at no additional cost to you.
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