The cow pool was Friday. We bought one and a half cows this time, 1200 pounds hanging weight and a little over seven hundred pounds of cut & wrapped meat. I was so glad that the farmer, Mr. Green, and one of his friends stayed to help me weigh the shares and carry them all to my car. I will send him a thank-you note this week. We had 25 shareholders this time, including a few people who bought double shares. It was hard and hectic and waiting for those last few pickups is always tense. We finally ate grocery store rotisserie chicken at 9:30. I couldn’t even consider eating beef. I stayed up until almost midnight roasting the last package of soup bones I couldn’t jam into the deep freeze and making beef stock.
One of the “special cuts” we requested this time were hearts. Mr. Green was having several cows slaughtered at the same time and we were the only ones who wanted entrails, so there were several whole beef hearts in the shares. I greedily snagged two of them specifically to try a dish we’ve eaten in restaurants but never tried making at home- anticuchos de corazon.
The challenge here was actually cutting up the heart. I’ve never taken apart a whole heart before, we’ve always gotten them cut in half and pre-trimmed. Start with a very sharp small knife and make sure your cutting board is stable. You have to move the meat around constantly and a slipping cutting board makes it twice as difficult. First trim all of the fat from around the top. Then cut out all of the veins and arteries around the top, removing as much of the connective tissue and fascia as possible. Then imagine you’re cutting slices off of a loaf of gyro meat, making thin slices as you turn the meat. I wasn’t very successful at the “thin” part, but next time will be better.
Anticuchos is simply grilled meat marinated in a vinegar-based marinade spiked with garlic, chile paste and herbs. What makes it uniquely Peruvian is the mixture of herbs and spices in the marinade, so try to find the correct ingredients if you can. If you’re in Gainesville, La Aurora has everything you need! If you don’t have access to heart, try it on any cut of very lean grassfed beef.
Anticuchos de Corazon
Whole beef heart, trimmed and sliced into thin slices
3/4 c red wine vinegar
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 c olive oil
1 tbl achiote powder
1 tbl dried Mexican oregano (this is NOT the same as Italian oregano!)
1 tbl cumin powder
1 tsp salt
1 heaping tbl aji panca paste
2 heaping tbl aji amarillo paste
Pour the vinegar in a large glass or porcelain mixing bowl, add the rest of the ingredients, and whisk. Add the meat and stir the meat into the marinade to make sure each surface is coated. Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge overnight.
The next day, pull the bowl out of the fridge when it’s time to start the coals on the grill so the meat can come to room temperature. If the pieces are big enough not to slip through the grill grate, there’s no need to skewer them. If they’re small, use metal skewers if possible and weave the strips onto the skewers. Grill over high heat, basting regularly with left over marinade, until medium rare. Let rest on a covered platter for a few minutes before serving.
I served the anticuchos with cold boiled boniato tossed with a little mayo & greek yogurt mixed with more aji amarillo paste and lots of chopped fresh cilantro out of my garden, and steamed cabbage and sweet peppers. Delicious!