Wednesday, 3 July 2013
Pigs Heart Ragu
I know a lot of people turn their nose up at offal dishes. But think about this, when you eat a nice bit of topside of beef, you're eating a cow's butt cheeks. If you're going to eat meat, you really should ALL the animal. In these days when we are tightening our belts, offal dishes make a brilliant, tasty and above all cheap alternative to more traditional cuts of meat. Consider that this dish, when served with polenta, probably cost somewhere in the region of £2.00 per serving, for a dish which I think was easily tasty and unusual enough to be the equal of many more expensive dishes.
Plus there's a badge of honour to be won by eating offal (and I suspect that this plays no small part in my love for heart, liver, kidneys, tongue and tripe) by watching more squeamish people's faces either squirm at the thought of eating it, or be impressed by your culinary daring. Even if it's the same thing their grandparents ate without even considering it.
And if all this still hasn't made you at least consider eating more offal - it's cheap and easy to find in every butchers and supermarket - then you really are missing out on a world of tasty excitement! Feel free, by the way, to tell me your non-offal-eating excuses in the comments...
Also, I served the ragu with polenta, mostly because my potatoes were of a rather elderly vintage and starting to sprout, but also because I've only had it once before, and we bought a 2kg bag, which goes a looooooong way. It was rather a revelation, quick to make and tasty - possibly because I put a weekend amount* of butter in it, so it was creamy and rich.
*i.e. the amount you put in when you are treating yourself, as opposed to a weekday amount when you are still kidding yourself you are sticking to your diet plans...
500g Pigs Heart
1 Large Onion
3 Stalks Celery
1 Tin Tomatoes
75ml Red Wine
2 Bay Leaves
1tsp Fresh Thyme
Salt and Pepper
1. Remove any excess fat from the hearts and cut into 2cm wide strips. Wash under cold water and then pat dry with a kitchen towel.
2. Put some seasoned flour into a bowl and toss the meat in it until its all covered.
3. Heat some oil in a large, heavy pan. Put the floured meat in and fry until the heart starts to brown. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
4. Add the finely chopped vegetables to the oil (adding a little more if needed) and gently fry until softened and starting to colour.
5. Add the tomatoes, wine, thyme, bay and the heart to the pan and bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a low simmer.
6. Let the ragu cook for 2-3 hours, stirring regularly, and topping up with a little water if the pan looks like its too dry.
7. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve with polenta or pasta. Enjoy!