TMKW: The hunter's wife

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

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 almost a decade of this process, Iím comfortable with my assorted venison steaks, sausages, stroganoffs, chilies, bologna 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 recipe 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 fridge. Yesterday I contemplated it. Today I searched for recipes. Tomorrow I will gather my ingredients and forge ahead into the unexperienced. I am a hunterís wife. It comes with the territory.

Seared Heart Cutlets with Peppers, Mushrooms and Onions

Adapted from Hank Shaw at Honest-Food.net

1 deer heart

Flour for dusting

1 onion, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 green bell peppers, sliced

1 jalapeŮo, chopped

3-5 mushrooms, sliced

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp salt

ľ tsp black pepper

3-4 Tbs olive oil

To make cutlets, slice the heart in half and place it between two sheets of wax paper. Beat it with a mallet or can of beans until itís thin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and dust with flour.

In a large frying pan, sautť the onions, garlic, peppers and mushrooms in the olive oil. Add the salt, pepper and oregano. Scoop onto a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Add more olive oil to the pan. Sear the cutlets over high heat for 1-3 minutes per side, depending on how thick you pounded them. Turn only once. Serve the cutlets on top of the veggies. Serves two.