Since reading a blog post on Marks Daily Apple several months ago, we’ve been discussing the possibility of trying offal. Since I haven’t eaten many organ meats (besides vague memories of having to try liver and onions as a kid), I was tentative, to say the least. However, Mark suggested mixing the organ meat with ground beef and making meatballs from them as an introduction to offal.
After talking about it for months, we finally went to the Farmer’s Market with the intention of buying a beef heart. They were out of them when we arrived. So we tried again the following week when they first opened. There was one other customer, so I quietly asked for the beef heart and ignored the other customer’s disgusted looks. The market vendors were excited we were trying it. I bought one heart, which was 1.3 lbs, and had a layer of fat on top. I was surprised by that (it is completely grass-fed beef), but apparently fat is normal and what you should look for in a heart. It costs $6 per pound, which is inexpensive for grass-fed beef in the Bay Area.
I don’t know why I thought it would be a good idea to use the new stick blender (we had worn out our old one) to mix together the beef and whole heart. The motor started smoking and was hot for several hours after it finally dawned on me that it was not the correct tool for the job. (Happily I did not ruin the new blender.)
So, that mistake aside, I put two pounds of ground beef and a little over one pound of beef heart in the food processor, along with an egg and some Italian spices and garlic. The food processor worked beautifully. By this time, it was getting pretty late for dinner, and I was in a rush and sliced my finger on the food processor blade while trying to remove it.
Greer had to take over after bandaging my finger. He formed 1″ meatballs and placed them on parchment paper-covered baking sheets. Then we baked them for 20 minutes at 400*.
Verdict: Wow! After my few mishaps along the way, I did not expect to actually like the meatballs. But they were a huge success. They tasted like meat balls, but even more so. Extra meaty. And not weird at all. The offal was not awful… in fact, we liked it!