My foray into the woods at o’dark thirty yesterday morning paid off in the form of a whitetail buck that went into my cooler. With the tenderloins and backstraps already in the freezer, the remainder of the meat is off at my favorite wild game processor being transformed into delicious little dry-cured snack sausages (I haven’t cracked their recipe yet, so I’m still happy to pay them to do the work). Two delicacies I always bring home are the heart and the liver, the former being bacon-wrapped and oven-roasted, and the latter made into venison pâtê. I’m still going to make the pâtê, but I’m contemplating the possibility of using SV to cook the liver, as well doing something SV with the heart.
Has anyone here ever used SV for these particular tid-bits? If so, what did you do…and what were your results?
I cook beef heart quite often, but haven’t tried sous vide yet. I found this in my searches, which looks promising:
I normally do beef heart in a raw (unglazed) clay pot (Römertopf). That works well, but the heart can still come out a bit chewy. I’m thinking of doing the sous vide thing on the heart first, for maybe twelve hours or so (with minimal seasoning), and then pretend that it’s still raw and use my usual recipe in the clay pot. The idea is that it should come out more tender that way.
Thanks, that sounds interesting. Since it’s venison heart I’d need to use something like bacon fat (which I have plenty of), but that will taste better anyway. I’ve always oven-roasted hearts (except for chicken and squirrel hearts…yes, I said squirrel hearts…which get pan-sauteed) and have never had one turn out what I would call “tough”, though it does have a bit of chew to it. So I’m hoping SV will make it even more tender.
I’m out of town this weekend (trying to put even more venison and/or wild pork in the freezer) so I won’t be able to try this until next weekend, at which point I’ll give a report on the results…assuming I find my way out of the woods.
I just did the beef heart thing. Cut up a kilo of beef heart into five chunks. Vacuum sealed them with some rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, and a tablespoon of beef drippings. Into the sous vide at 70 ºC for 24 hours.
Then diced up the cooked heart and prepared it as I normally would in a Römertopf, using onion, tomato, mushrooms, smoked speck, salt and pepper, sour cream, and a dash of red wine, plus the juices from the sous vide bag. Into the oven at 220 ºC for about 100 minutes.
Upshot was that the dish came out tasting very much like it always does, but the heart had melt-in-the-mouth texture. It’s a big improvement over just cooking heart in a Römertopf for two hours. I’ll definitely continue with that method. In effect, sous vide is just a pre-cooking step, and all the other things are exactly the same. And the meat is oh so very much more tender…
Excellent. After just over a month and a half I received notification from the state that the tissue sample they took from my deer tested negative for CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease…I won’t bore you with the details on that, you can read about it here if interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronic_wasting_disease), so I can finally pull the heart and liver out of the freezer this weekend and do something with them. As luck would have it I received a Brevia smoking gun for Christmas that I plan to try out on the liver as I turn it into pâté.
Well, life intruded on my plans and I wasn’t able to get around to doing something with the heart and liver until this past Saturday. I also changed up my plans and decided to only sous vide the heart, as I wanted to smoke the liver to put a twist on the pâté, which would thoroughly cook the liver and eliminate the need for SV. So, I unrolled and cleaned up the heart, then salted it and put it in a 24 hour bath at 157ºF. I have to say that the result was a bit disappointing. It was as tasty as it usually is, but was no more tender than if I’d oven roasted it (my usual method). Perhaps I need to try a longer cook and/or higher temp next time.
Sorry to hear that it was a disappointment. For me, with beef heart, after 24 hours at 70 ºC, the meat was very tender when I cut it up after the sous vide was done. How long do you normally oven roast it? My standard time was two hours in a Römertopf, which may have been a bit too short, seeing that you have to put the clay pot into a cold oven. (That shortens the effective cooking time because the pot and contents will take probably close to 30 minutes to really warm up.)
Maybe I’ve just not been roasting my heart long enough previously? At any rate, the sous vide version I made recently was definitely better than my previous efforts in terms of tenderness.
Don’t get me wrong…it was as tender and tasty as it usually is, so I still enjoyed it. It just doesn’t seem to have benefited from the SV treatment. Normally I roast it wrapped in bacon for an hour or so…though I’ll have to check my recipe when I get home to refresh my memory on the exact time and temp.