This wonderfully tender and flavorful beef heart stew is made in the slow cooker and seasoned with cumin, garlic powder, paprika, and oregano.
It's an excellent way to enjoy meat that can otherwise be tough and gummy. Slow cooking makes it nice and tender!
I've been making this tasty stew often lately, almost twice a month. It's easy to make and it's so hearty and flavorful.
I like to eat organ meats because I enjoy their flavor and texture, and also because I believe that for meat-eaters, it's a matter of doing the right thing ethically to eat the entire animal, nose-to-tail.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty beef heart recipe. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Cow heart: You can't typically find it in the United States in supermarkets. I either order it online or ask the butcher at Whole Foods to special-order it for me.
Beef stock: Store-bought is fine - just check the ingredients to make sure they look OK.
Kosher salt: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use, or the stew could end up too salty.
Spices: I use garlic powder, cumin, paprika, and oregano.
Butter: I use it to thicken the cooking juices into a rich gravy.
Cornstarch: A small amount to help thicken the cooking liquids.
Chopped parsley: Used purely for garnish. But it does make this brownish dish look prettier.
So how do you cook a beef heart in the slow cooker? The detailed instructions are listed in the recipe card below. Here are the basic steps:
First, you cut the heart into 1-inch cubes and place them in your slow cooker pan. Then you add beef broth and spices.
Now cover and cook on high for 4 hours.
The next step is to strain the cooking liquids into a saucepan and place the meat back in the slow cooker, cover it, and set it to warm.
The final step is to cook the liquids with some butter until they reduce into a rich gravy. You can add cornstarch to speed things up. Serve the stew with the gravy, garnished with parsley.
As you can probably imagine, the heart of a cow works hard and is a tough muscle. To make it edible, you need to either slow cook it as I do here, or you can slice it into "steaks" and flash fry them - no more than 30 seconds per side, keeping the meat rare. If you overcook it, it will be tough and inedible.
In contrast, chicken hearts can be simply pan-fried in olive oil and spices, and they come out tender and delicious.
Although I do occasionally make beef heart steaks, a stew is my favorite way to prepare this cut. It's tender and very flavorful.
Frequently asked questions
Yes! It's edible and very tasty as long as you cook it correctly - either cut it into steaks and quickly grill or fry them or slow-cook it until it's very tender.
It has a gamey flavor and a pleasantly firm texture. Although it is stronger-flavored than muscle meat, its flavor is milder than other organ meats (except perhaps beef tongue which is even milder).
So if you'd like to experiment with eating offal, this recipe is a good place to start.
The heart is a tough muscle. To make it edible, you need to either slow cook it as I do here, or you can slice it into "steaks" and fry them quickly - no more than 30 seconds per side, keeping them rare. If you overcook this meat on high heat, it will be very tough.
Since the USDA recommends cooking organ meats to 160°F, this slow-cooked stew is a good solution if you'd rather not eat your meat cooked rare.
Recommended side dishes
Since it's a saucy dish, I like to serve this stew on top of something that would soak up those yummy juices.
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Reheat them very gently, in the microwave, covered, on 50% power.
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Beef Heart Stew
- 1 beef heart (1.5 lb.)
- 1 cup beef stock
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley for garnish
- If the heart comes with a thick layer of fat, lightly trim it (but don't go nuts about it, you can leave a thin layer of fat).
- Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut the heart into 1-inch cubes. Place them in the slow cooker pan.
- Add the beef stock. Sprinkle the meat with salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, and oregano.
- Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours.
- Use a slotted spoon to temporarily transfer the meat to a plate, and strain the cooking liquids into a saucepan. Return the meat to the slow cooker, cover, and set to warm.
- To the liquids in the saucepan, add 1 tablespoon unsalted butter and 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 2 teaspoons of cold water. Cook over medium heat, whisking often, until the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat as soon as the sauce thickens.*
- Transfer the beef heart to plates. Top with the sauce, garnish with parsley and serve.