Episode 1 recipe: Stuffed Lamb's Hearts
Don't be squeamish! Try your hand at making this delicious Northern staple.
There’s no reason to be squeamish! Just go to the Butcher, take a deep breath and confidently ask for four lamb’s hearts. It’s as easy as that and you’ll be rewarded for your efforts. Heart is, and always has been, a great Northern meal and a staple for many with a family to feed on a budget. Heart is full of protein and has a gorgeous flavour that you won’t fail to appreciate once you’ve tasted it. Accompanied by my smooth creamy Celeriac Mash and smothered in rich gravy, you’ll have a dish that is, quite simply, unrivalled.
For the celeriac mash:
4 King Edward potatoes, peeled and quartered
½ celeriac, peeled and chopped into 2.5cm cubes
2 tsp salted butter
100ml full-fat milk (you might need a bit more with floury potatoes, less with waxy)
Sea salt and ground white pepper
For the lamb's hearts:
1 tbsp beef dripping or butter
3 red onions, peeled and finely chopped
8 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 large glass of red wine
220g stale white bread, crusts off and cubed
10 fresh sage leaves, chopped
4 lamb's hearts
8 rashers of streaky bacon
1 litre chicken stock
In a large saucepan, cover your potato and celeriac with water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender. Drain and return to the pan. Add the butter and cover to let the butter melt. Take off the lid and mash, slowly adding milk to create a creamy consistency. Season and cover.
To make the lamb’s hearts, melt your dripping or butter in a frying pan and add your onion and garlic. Cook gently until translucent, but not coloured. Add the wine and cook until it is reduced by half, then add your bread, a little at a time, to create an unctuous mixture. Season. Continue cooking for 15 minutes. Cool slightly and stir in the sage leaves.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4. Trim the hearts, removing any fatty nodules and sinews so that the flap at the top of the heart can be used to cover the opening later on. Next, use your fingers to scoop out any blood clots at the base of the ventricles. You could ask your butcher to do this.
Press the oniony stuffing into each heart until the chambers are filled right to the top, then bring the flap down to cover the stuffing. Use two rashers of bacon for each heart and form a cross over the top opening to secure. Stand the hearts upright in a deep roasting tray and pour stock around them. Cover with foil and scrunch it down around the edges of the tray to secure. Cook for 2½ hours.
Remove from the oven and lift out the hearts onto a warm serving dish. Stir any stuffing that has escaped into the juices and season to taste. Serve the hearts on top of the mash, and smother with gravy.
The Great Northern Cookbook is available now on Amazon.