Yummy Peruvian brochettes of heart! This was a recipe request by a girl in Peru.
Anticuchos de corazón is one of the most popular traditional Peruvian recipes. This recipe is even mentioned in the French Larousse Gastronomique as being one of the finest of all heart recipes.
Heart of beef or veal can be used to make this recipe. I used a veal heart to make the anticuchos in the pictures. Most people say that a cow heart is best for this recipe. The Peruvian girl who requested this recipe had stated that brahma bull heart is preferred in her area.
I must admit, veal heart may not have as much flavor as brahma bull heart, but it is must easy to work with. I have only butchered a few hearts during my career. Offals like heart are not commonplace in American fine dining restaurants. Heart is one of the healthiest cuts of beef that there is. The heart is so lean, that it must be marinated for at least 12 hours or the meat will be very tough and chewy.
The chile peppers that are required for this recipe can be difficult to find. Aji panca is a dark red dried Peruvian chile pepper that has a very mild spicy heat. Aji panca has a very nice deep berry fruit flavor and a nice rich red chile flavor. Aji panca is used for the marinade. A good substitute for aji panca is chile puya. Both of these mild chiles have a nice fruity flavor.
Aji amarillo Peruvian peppers are simply a yellow colored aji panca chile pepper. In Peruvian market places, different colors of aji panca powder are sold for specific recipes. The yellow aji amarillo chile powder is used for seasoning the brochettes as they grill. If you cannot find ground aji amarillo in your area, then a good substitute is chile arbol powder or chile cascabel powder. Another good substitute is ground yellow orange chile habanero powder. I only suggest yellow habanero powder for those who like very spicy hot food, because habaneros are the hottest peppers that there is!
Both aji panca and aji amarillo can be found at the International Market and some Mexican markets in Las Vegas. Any gourmet food item can be found in the Las Vegas valley!
Manzano peppers can also be dried and ground, then used to season the brochettes. Roasted or fried whole manzano is commonly used as a garnish in Peru, because it looks pretty on the plate and it has a great spicy chile flavor. Manzano peppers are called globe peppers in America.
Beef or Veal Heart Preparation:
Veal heart is young enough that no major blood clots or broken blood vessels have occurred. An older beef heart usually has a few blood clots that must be removed.
It is best to use a razor sharp boning knife to remove the thin membrane of smooth muscle shielding on the heart. Removing the smooth outside and inside surface will allow the marinade to penetrate all the better. However, removing the membrane is not necessary. Lots of tiny holes can be poked through the smooth membrane
Any heart valve or connective tissue must be removed.
Slicing the sections of a heart is as easy as separating the ventricles and chambers. After the heart is butchered into sections, you will have a couple of 1/2" thick pieces of absolutely lean healthy beef!
When slicing the cleaned and sectioned beef heart into brochette slices, it is very important to slice the meat at a very narrow angle across the grain of the meat. Simply press one end of a heart section with your finger tips and hold the knife at a 30 degree angle with the blade facing away from your fingers. Slice the beef heart section into thin slices that are less than 1/4" thick. Try to cut the slices so they are all the same size.
One veal heart is more than enough to make 6 to 8 brochettes. A beef hear will make a few more brochettes. For the brochettes, 3 thin slices of heart per skewer is good.
Any scrap heart meat can be finely minced to make New York Coney Island Hot Dog Chili Topping or another recipe of your choice. The original New York chili hot dog topping was made with beef heart. That is why the New York coney chile is so lean and fat free. The original New York hot dog chili is healthier than Cincinnati Coney Dog chili. It is spring and hot dog season is here! Thats why I mentioned this recipe idea for the beef heart scraps.
Anticuchos de Corazón Preparation:
Use 1 veal or beef heart for this recipe. The yield depends on the size of the heart. About 8 to 14 brochettes is plenty to share.
After butchering, place the beef or veal heart slices into a container that can be sealed.
Add 3 cloves of minced garlic.
Add sea salt and black pepper.
Add 1 teaspoon of cumin.
Add 2 tablespoons of ground aji panca chile powder. (Ground chile puya is a good substitute.)
Add 1/3 cup of rice vinegar or red wine vinegar.
Add 1/3 cup of water.
Add 2 tablespoons of blended olive oil.
Toss the ingredients together.
Cover the container.
Allow the heart slices to marinate for at least 12 hours.
Soak 8 to 14 bamboo skewers in water for ten minutes.
Place 3 slices of the marinated heart on each skewer, one slice at a time, from side to side, so the marinated heart slices are flat on the skewer. For thin slices, weave the skewer through the slice of heart.
Aji Amarillo Basting Sauce:
Place 1/3 cup of blended olive oil in a small mixing bowl.
Add 1 tablespoon of aji amarillo chile powder. (Ground chile arbol, chile cascabel or yellow chile habanero are good substitutes.)
Stir the chile powder and oil together to make the basting oil.
Heat 6" of vegetable frying oil in a high sided pot to 360º.
Cut a washed unpeeled russet potato in half lengthwise. (A 7 to 9 ounce potato is a fair portion.)
Cut the potato into long 3/8" thick french fry shapes.
Fry the french fries for a few minutes, till they just start to become tender and so they are still white in color.
Use a fryer net to place the fries on a wire screen roasting rack.
Let the french fries cool.
Fry the french fries a second time, till they become golden brown and crisp.
Use a fryer net to place the fries on the wire screen roasting rack to drain off any excess oil.
Season the fries with sea salt.
Keep the french fries warm on a stove top.
Fried Manzano Pepper:
Poke a tiny steam vent hole in 1 manzano pepper.
While the french fry oil is still hot, fry the orange manzano, till it becomes tender.
Set the fried manzano aside.
Anticuchos de Corazón:
Anticuchos de corazón is traditionally cooked on a cast iron steak griddle, rather than over an open flame char grill. A low temperature char grill can be used.
Heat a cast iron ribbed steak griddle over medium heat.
Brush the hot cast iron ribbed steak griddle with a little bit of plain vegetable oil to season it, so the meat does not stick to the hot iron.
Brush the brochettes with the chile oil.
Grill a few brochettes at a time.
Use a pastry brush to baste the brochettes with the chile oil as they cook.
The brochettes will cook very quickly because the heart meat has no fat. Be careful not to grill the brochettes for too much time, so the meat does not dry out.
Grill each brochette till the heart meat is fully cooked and lightly caramelized.
Anticuchos de corazón brochettes are usually served over a bed of boiled potato slices or french fries. I chose fresh russet potato french fries for the anticuchos in the pictures.
Place a ramekin of hot chile sauce on the plate.
Place the fried manzano pepper on the plate.
Place some corn on the cob pieces on the plate.
Note: Corn on the cob is traditionally served with anticuchos de corazón. The local whole ears of corn were of low quality when this recipe was cooked, so none are on the plate in the pictures.
Garnish the plate with Italian parsley sprigs or cilantro sprigs.
Anticuchos de corazón are delicious! The heart meat is so very lean and healthy. The marinated meat is very tender and it has a very nice flavor. These heart brochettes are a great tasting entree, snack or tapas.
This is Peruvian street vendor tapas style food! Street vendor food is popular with top Las Vegas chefs these days, but I have yet to see any Las Vegas chef try to market anticuchos de corazón as a gourmet street food item. I guess that I am the first Las Vegas chef to break the ice!
I would not recommend this recipe if it was not great tasting. Heart is one of the most economical healthy cuts of beef that there is. It simply tastes like good lean beef! So spicy yummy! ... Shawna