Through My Kitchen Window – The Hunter's Wife

Deer heart can be cooked as cutlets with peppers and onions. Photo by Douglas Haase.

Editorís note: The following is a reprint of a December 2011 Through My Kitchen Window column.

My husband is a hunter. He enjoys sitting, or walking, or hanging from trees in the freezing cold. I am a hunterís wife. I enjoy staying under my warm covers on freezing mornings. We have a simple arrangement. He shoots, guts and chops. I bag, freeze, and cook. Itís easy enough.

After half a decade of this process, Iím comfortable with my assorted venison steaks, stroganoffs, chilies, broths, and ragķs. But certain parts of the white-tailed quadruped still unnerve me. Call them what you like, (offal parts, variety meats, internal organs, entrails) Iím just not comfortable cooking them.

My lack of comfort isnít due to personal or cultural taste preferences. It stems from a lack of experience. A lack of know-how. A lack of recipes. But a lack of recipes is easily corrected. The internet is filled with recipes for heart, liver, etc. for a variety of game and domestic animals. My favorite site for game recipes is Honest-Food.net.

Know-how and experience come only by taking those recipes, gathering their listed ingredients, and forging ahead. Or culinary school works too.

If this sounds like a pep talk, be assured it is. As I write, a deer heart sits in my frig. Yesterday I contemplated it. Today I searched for recipes. Tomorrow I will gather my ingredients and forge ahead into the inexperienced. I am a hunterís wife. It comes with the territory.

Seared Heart Cutlets with Peppers and Onions

From Hank Shaw @ Honest-food.net

1 heart from a big game animal, such as a deer heart

Flour for dusting

1 onion, sliced into half-moons

2 green bell peppers, sliced into strips

1 jalapeno or Serrano chili, chopped

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Black pepper

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

Slice the heart into cutlets by cutting it in half, or in broad slices if itís a large one, such as an elk or moose. Place it between two sheets of wax paper and beat it with a mallet, a rolling pin, or a wine bottle. Be careful not to rip the meat or the wax paper. You want the cutlets thin.

In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat and sautť the onions and peppers until the skin on the peppers just barely begins to separate. Salt them well and add the oregano and mix well, then set aside.

Wipe the pan clean and add more olive oil. Salt the heart cutlets well and dust them in flour. Turn the heat up to high until the oil is almost smoking, and then add the cutlets. Sear for 1-3 minutes per side, depending on how thick you make the cutlets. Turn only once.

To serve, put a little of the peppers and onions on the plate and top with the cutlet. Grind some black pepper on top and enjoy! Serves 2-4 as a nice appetizer.

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