When I first signed on to try the ketogenic diet (almost one year ago now!), I made some excuses in my head, or more like evasion strategies, in case the diet didn't work out for me. I was totally skeptical. The first was that I was only committed to one month of following the diet strictly; after which, I could continue or not based on how I felt. This quickly changed after the first few weeks when I felt amazing and was committed for life!
The second was that I wouldn't push myself to eat foods that didn't excite me or that I found gross, i.e. organ meats.
Now, as you may have gathered from reading our blog posts and following our Instagram, my husband is a total health nut! If he thinks it's healthy, he'll do it or eat it or suffer through it as long as he thinks it's improving his well-being and longevity. Kudos to him! This also explains why he can stick to an exercise regime like clockwork; whereas, I'm hit or miss.
So, just about a few months ago, we started sourcing our meats from White Oak Pastures as it was becoming increasingly hard for us to consistently find grass fed and finished meats here in humble Santa Fe. We did our research and settled on White Oak Pastures (also available through Thrive Market), and have been most pleased with our purchases.
However, this also opened up a can of worms for me, as they offer a plethora of organ meats and animal products you would never even guess were available for purchase. I love their use-the-whole-animal mission, but we also have dogs and cats to feed over here, right?
Well, for Nic, this was like finding the lost treasure of Atlantis! Nic has slowly been rubbing the idea off on me to try more organ meats with the health benefits, the vitamins, the minerals, and so forth. So we began experimenting with a few organ meats over the last few months. I was at first surprised how much I enjoyed beef heart -- when it's prepared right, it tastes like sirloin steak! And I even have to admit, I am acquiring a taste for beef and chicken liver. I was even craving liver the other day! Who would have thought?
Where things turned south was the first time we tried chicken hearts. In my naiveté, I thought it can't be that different from beef heart, so I prepared the same Anticuchos de Corazon recipe with the chicken hearts. Where I utterly failed is that I did not do my research on how to prepare the chicken hearts. Folks, do your research! Especially when trying something new. I did not butterfly the hearts, clean the inside out or anything. I just figured they were small enough for bite size, and threw them in my spicy sauce. The result: rubbery, gross burst of bloody hearts with chewy aortas. It was rough!
The bad thing about this was that we had bought 2 pounds in our last shipment, leaving 1 pound left in our freezer. I didn't think much about it the next few weeks, until our wondrous supply of ribeye and NY strip steaks began to diminish and it was time, yet again, to stomach those nasty little chicken hearts --so not looking forward to it!
My sweet husband Nic did some recipe research and said that he would try his hand at making the chicken hearts palatable. I remember driving home from work that day so hungry but dreading the hearts. Of all days, this was going to be my dinner? When I came home Nic had butterflied and cleaned out the inside of the hearts (an imperative step apparently) and marinated them in coconut aminos, fresh ginger, apple cider vinegar, and salt. This is my favorite marinade! Then he grilled the chicken hearts on skewers and served me my second ever chicken heart dinner.
I took my first bite with major hesitation, awaiting the bloody and rubbery taste, and found that the heart was not rubbery, that the heart did not taste like blood, but had instead soaked in all the glorious flavors of the marinade. Instead, I found a super tender delicious heart in my mouth! I was astounded! They tasted much like a tender chicken thigh, but even better! I ate both my two skewers filled with hearts and some of Nic's! This is now one of my favorite meals!
Long story short, I'm grateful that Nic has helped open my world to new experiences and my new health track, and it is so important to keep an open mind to new experiences and to try new things. I never would have thought that I would look forward to a dinner of chicken hearts in my life, but now can't wait for our next order from White Oak to grill these babies up again!