_I'm not one of those intrepid culinary explorers who'd eat virtually anything. I can't see myself ever feasting on bull's penis, seal, rat, or tarantula for example. We are all squeamish, to varying degrees. But if you think about it, if you've made the decision to kill and eat a particular animal it is rather illogical not to then try and use all of it.
In August of last year, the Guardian featured an A-Z of offal. I was shamefaced to see that I had scored a paltry 11 out of 23, namely blood, caul, feet, giblets, head, kidney, liver, marrow, sweetbreads, tail and tongue. The others were brains, cocks' combs, ears, eyes, hearts, intestines, lungs, palates, spleen, testicles (fries), tripe and udder. Now I can cross two more off the list and move on to the next. I think eyes, palates and udders may be beyond me though.
I have a vague childhood memory of being force-fed tripe and onions in a chilling but commonplace example of northern parenting skills, but I don't feel I can really count that. Although the ingredients of tripe and onions are only tripe, onions, flour, butter and milk, these can prove formidable tools in the hands of a casually sadistic culinary incompetent. I'm reminded of a quote from Tony Hancock: 'I thought my mother was a bad cook, but at least her gravy used to move around a bit.'
The lamb's heart recipe is from, who else, Fergus Henderson. It's in his 'Nose To Tail Eating'. I've adapted it to serve two (his is for six). I've been meaning to try it for ages and I'm so very glad that I finally got around to it.
The tripe recipe is a traditional Peckham dish eaten by families on the occasion of the Feast of Saint Rio of Ferdinand, following a candlelit mass held in Primark.
The two lamb's hearts and the 400g of tripe cost me a total of £3.71.
stuffed lamb's hearts
This was truly scrumptious. The only problem you'll have with this recipe is finding an oven dish small enough for two heart's (rather than the original six) to fit snugly into. I guess one of those tiny Le Crueset casseroles would be ideal, but I've not got one. But I do have a small soufflé dish, so used that, then strained the juice into a small pan to reduce.
I also think that you really need home-made chicken stock for this.
2 lamb's hearts (make sure they're intact, with a hole only at the top)
6 rashers of streaky bacon
about 400ml chicken stock, just simmering
1 onion, sliced (the original recipe calls for red onion)
1 large garlic clove, peeled and chopped
125ml red wine
80g stale white bread, cubed
1 tbsp chopped sage (the original recipe calls for half a bunch of sage, which is a bit difficult to divide by three. This seemed about right, and worked out fine)
salt + black pepper (there's no seasoning mentioned in the original recipe)
First make the stuffing. Sauté the onion and garlic gently in butter until soft but not browned. Add the wine, let this reduce by half, then add the bread and cook together very gently for 10 minutes; if it appears too dry add a splash more wine. Season, cool, then add the sage and mix in.
Meanwhile trim the hearts of any excess fat nodules at their openings and any obvious sinews, and the flap at the top. Finally, with your finger, scoop out any blood clots at the base of the ventricles.
With your hands and fingers, press the stuffing into the heart, and level off the opening at the top. Then drape 3 rashers of bacon over the exposed stuffing in a star fashion forming a lid and secure with string.
Find an oven dish into which the hearts will fit snugly; stand them upright. Pour stock over - they do not need to be completely covered. Cover with tinfoil and place in an oven at 190C/170C fan for 2 hours 15 minutes (the original recipe says 2½ hours, but I reduced it a bit because of having only two heart's). When cooked, remove and keep warm. Strain the juice and then reduce by half to make a sauce and spoon off all the fat. Untie the hearts and serve with:
400g swede, chopped
1 tbsp butter
salt + black pepper
1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
Boil the swede in salted water until cooked. Mash (don't worry about lumps), add the butter, stir in and season. Add the parsley and stir.
trippa alla peckham
_Beef tripe, in this country, is usually made from only the first three chambers of a cow's stomach: the rumen (blanket/flat/smooth tripe), the reticulum (honeycomb and pocket tripe), and the omasum (book/bible/leaf tripe). Well, that's what Wikipedia says, anyway. The fourth,Abomasum (reed) tripe, is the basis of the famous Florentine lampredotto sandwich. I bought honeycomb and, using the method below, it took just under an hour of simmering to achieve near melting softness. I'd check though after 45 minutes.
The tripe retains a memory of pungency, which you may or may not like. I do.
400g cleaned tripe
a couple of garlic cloves
a few peppercorns
a pinch of chilli flakes
a pinch of fennel seeds
a couple of splashes of balsamic or red wine vinegar
2 tbsps olive oil
½ onion, chopped
½ carrot, chopped
½ celery stick, chopped
60ml white wine
1 400g tin of really good italian tomatoes, drained and squashed up with your hand, juice reserved
1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
a handful of grated parmesan
salt + black pepper
Wash the tripe and boil for 10 minutes in a large pan of water. Drain. Refill the pan with water, bring to the boil, then add the tripe, garlic, peppercorns, chilli flakes,fennel seeds and vinegar. Simmer gently until soft (see introduction). Drain the tripe and cut into strips.
Sauté the onion, carrot and celery until softened. Turn up the heat, add the tripe and sauté for a couple of minutes Add the wine and let it bubble away to almost nothing, scraping up any sticky bits. Add the drained, mashed tomatoes and stir. Simmer for about 25 minutes. If, during this time, it's looking a little dry, add some of the reserved juice.
After 25 minutes, taste and season. Throw in the parmesan and parsley, stir and serve with a good rustic bread and a little gem salad.
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