Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Adventures in Cooking: Chicken Hearts

Today Roman and I were at the store debating on what to cook for dinner. As a joke, I started grabbing weird items off the shelves and asking his opinion. In the meats section, I held up a package of chicken hearts and smilingly asked, "What do you think, bud? Chicken hearts?" After getting over the initial disbelief that yes, there in fact were real chicken hearts in the package, he emphatically affirmed that yes, he wanted to eat them for dinner. Thinking that he was playing along, I put them back. A few seconds later he looked in the cart, and seeing that they weren't there, asked where they were.
"I thought we were playing, Roman. I'm not really making chicken hearts tonight."
Tears. No bullshit. He was so upset that he cried.
What could I do? As a mother I want my children to try new things, especially foods, and here was my 4 1/2 year old son begging me for chicken hearts. I couldn't quash his adventurous spirit.

So, I bought a package.

And the adventure began.

I've never cooked chicken hearts before (shocking, I know), so I had no idea how to proceed. Thank goodness for Google. I browsed different cooking sights for suggestions, filing good tips away while disregarding those that would not apply today (namely, those that involved grilling. Not possible on a wet, May day at the beach). All the while I tried not to allow visions of giant chicken hearts beating ever closer, growing to enormous sizes, and waiting to devour us all, to invade my subconscious. Honestly, I feared Bill Cosby had ruined the tiny organs for me indefinitely. Had I endangered my children? Was I adequately armed in case of attack? Thankfully, I remained calm enough to decide on a game plan for cooking the tiny, seemingly harmless, ex-blood-pumpers.

Since I had time, I decided to marinate the hearts in olive oil and chopped garlic. 

This was a new food for the kiddos, and new foods are met with suspicion and fear, so I had to have a few back-up side dishes that I knew the kids would eat so they wouldn't starve. 

The plan: sauteed chicken hearts with diced potatoes in bacon and couscous. And of course, wine for me!

I started with cooking the bacon and potato together since they would take the longest. Since I only had two slices of bacon, I also added a little butter to help the potatoes cook. And because you can never have enough fat. I seasoned with pepper and a little bit of salt.

The different colored potatoes looked and smelled delicious!

Then, I prepared the couscous as directed. It would only take 8 minutes total. After the potatoes and bacon were cooked, I used the leftover butter and grease to cook the hearts in. 

Mmmm...I love mixing dinner with science. 

The only extra seasoning I used was fresh ground salt and pepper. They might look a little intimidating, but it actually smelled pretty good!

The big moment: tasting. Evie was pretty unprepared since she wasn't at the store with us, so she met the plate with a mixture of disgust and disbelief. 

Roman was very excited to try, but Evie was less convinced. Still, she gave it a good bite, and declared, "YUCK!" Roman on the other hand...


I was very proud of my little minions for trying something new and weird. Honestly, they mostly tasted like dark meat chicken. 

Next time on adventures in cooking with the Metzgers: gizzards?


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