Since Akemi was attending a party for her ESL (English as a Second Language) class tonight, I thought I’d take advantage of her absence to make something a little atypical for dinner, something she probably wouldn’t enjoy (until she tried it of course) if she was home.  I wanted to make duck hearts.  Now, last weekend , I lamented over the dearth of duck hearts at the local butcher shops (September 22, 2012: Heart of Duckness).  In the interim, I had several people suggest I check out the nearby T&T Chinese supermarket.  Surely, if anyone would have duck hearts, it would be T&T.  And so, this afternoon, after dropping Akemi off at her class, my quest took me to T&T.

Sadly, no duck hearts to be found.  Undaunted, I decided to improvise, picked up some available ingredients and returned home where I combined them with a few pantry items to make a magnificent meal: Chicken Heart Tacos!

First, I unpacked the chicken hearts, rinsed them and trimmed off the fat, cleaning out the ventricles.  I soaked them in water, then split the serving in two.  Half I fried up for the dogs with a little olive.  The other half, I marinated in soy sauce, Pedro Ximenez Solera 1910 (in the likely event that you don’t have any handy, port will do in a pinch), thyme, a couple of smashed garlic cloves, some smashed ginger, some brown sugar, and a sprinkling of smoked serrano pepper for one hour.

Chicken hearts in marinade.

I then diced up a couple of cloves of garlic, a clove of black garlic, and a shallot, and fried them with a little harissa olive oil and thyme until they softened, then transferred them to a side plate.

I’d suggest a medium-low heat. You don’t want the garlic and shallots to brown, just soften.

Next, drop a knob of butter into a hot pan and transfer the hearts (sans marinade) for cooking.  Fry on medium-high heat for about four minutes, then add a couple of tablespoons of chicken stock, some balsamic (I used a fig balsamic), put the garlic/black garlic/shallot mixture back in the pan, and cook for another couple of minutes.

Remove the hearts from the pan, cook down the remaining liquid by half, then pour over the hearts.  Sprinkle with sea salt and chopped parsley and voila!  You’re ready to go!

The dogs were positively green with envy.

I built my taco using a variety of equally atypical ingredients:

I started with a black pepper jam I picked up from Fable Kitchen. It’s intense so just a touch will do.
For added crunch, some delicious crispy pig ear I picked up at T&T.

Top with a padron pepper.
A little guacamole for touch of creaminess.
Then it’s time for the star: the chicken hearts. Don’t skimp!

And I finished by topping it with a tiny spoonful of tomato jam (that I also picked up at Fable Kitchen).

For an improvisation, and variation of Fergus Henderson’s Duck Hearts on Toast recipe from his The Whole Beast cookbook, the results were surprisingly spectacular.

Kids, do try this at home.

Now, where did we last leave off our reminiscing on Atlantis’s fourth season.  Oh, yeah!


This episode was the culmination of about a half dozen ongoing story threads, from Michael and the missing Athosians to Teyla’s pregnancy and Beckett’s mysterious reappearance.  It all dovetailed nicely, setting the stage for one of my favorite Stargate season finales.  Carson’s return is short-lived and, while he’s put on ice at episode’s end, he does return, more or less for good, the following season.  Actress Rachel Luttrell’s pregnancy was a curveball thrown our way at the start of the year, but I thought we did a nice job of embracing the reality and incorporating into the ongoing storyline.  What started as an unexpected complication blossomed into one of the most interesting arcs in Stargate history.  This two parter, by the way, was shot out of sequence and earlier in the production schedule to shoot Rachel out and obviate the need for an emergency standby midwife in the unlikely event she gave birth on set.

22 thoughts on “September 28, 2012: Make your own home made chicken heart tacos! I show you how! Days of Stargate Atlantis past! The Kindred II!

  1. Mr. LJ says chicken hearts are good for catfishing. Hm. Wonder if there’s a catfish/chicken heart recipe…? Whatcha’ think, Joe? Wanna’ give it a try? 😉

    You are awesome and I am, as always, fangirling you from afar!

    ~ LJ

  2. “I unpacked the chicken hearts, rinsed them and trimmed off the fat, cleaning out the ventricles. I soaked them in water, then split the serving in two.”

    La, la, la, la, I can’t heaaar youuu…

  3. That’s just totally gross!! 😛 (With my recent diverticulitis flare-up and the need to go back on antibiotics today, I think I’m swearing off all food for the rest of my life…except Jello. 😛 )

    @ gilder – I grew up on Bill Cosby albums, and Chicken Heart (along with Go Carts) is my favorite of all time! Love classic Cosby. 🙂


  4. Ah, ewww, I agree with ponytail,,la la la ….. but thanks for being adventerous and including pictures. Glad the dogs made out. Did you save any for Akemi or were the pictures enough for her?

  5. Hmm. The chicken hearts and marinade sound good. But all the rest, just too much work. (And I’m not sure where I could find a black garlic clove around here). Still, I may attempt this one day, just for the shock value when I tell unwitting victims what it is.
    Kindred 2 was a nice wrap-up, with another pretty emotional scene. And yes, you did a great job of wrapping up those many threads. Depressing about the Athosians though. Between the Wraith raid that made them ally with our heroes, and Michael’s depredations, they seem pretty much done as a people.
    Hope the weekend goes well for all. The State Fair has opened up in Virginia, and as usual the rain has arrived with it(we have been pretty dry most of the month). Got to love consistency.

  6. noellam: Your comment yesterday Brains and dessert do not belong in the same sentence. Unless you are a zombie.…Hilarious!!!! Thank you for the laugh.

    Chicken hearts? Your cholesterol should be through the roof!

    LJ: Good point. I bet they would make good fishing bait. 😉

    Das: So sorry. I hope you can eat real food again soon.

  7. Crispy pigs ear AND chicken hearts – that’ll teach me to look at today’s blog pictures! Okay, it’s probably time to concentrate on Kindred II. 🙂

    I squeed like a teenage fan at a Justin Bieber concert the first time I watched the clip featuring Carson Beckett’s return to Atlantis! Meaning it’s difficult to express how I feel about this episode in a few paragraphs …

    Carson pushed all his emotional and physical pain to one side in Kindred II, choosing instead to help the people he considered his surrogate family. Heart and soul performance from Paul McGillion – he tugged at my heartstrings!

    Rodney’s protective streak, Sam’s wary attitude, Ronon’s reticence, Teyla’s disbelief and John Sheppard’s unwavering loyalty. It’s a highly emotive episode filled with wonderful team moments throughout!

    I bit my lip during his diagnosis, I willed him on during the mission to find Teyla and I finally started blubbing like a baby as he rose from his wheelchair and hugged his friends whilst bravely accepting having to spend time in stasis.

    How could anyone watch the final scenes without crying? It felt like a raw, emotional farewell for the audience and everyone involved with filming SGA.

    I couldn’t wait to discover what fate/writers had in store for Carson Beckett in Season 5!!!

  8. The Kindred II was an awesome ep. So much going on in it. Carson is back telling a tale of being taken prisoner by Michael. They tell Carson about how he really exploded with a tumor. Dr. Keller determines Carson is a clone, but inside he is dying. Carson needs a weekly shot from Michael. So he needs Michael. Michael needs Teyla’s baby for his plan of world domination. Teyla has found Kannan but he is part wraith now because of Michael, so she is trying to snap him out of his loyalty to Michael. Her people need rescuing before Michael starts experimenting on them. The team is still trying to find Teyla. Dr Keller is trying to find a cure for Beckett. Teyla gets a sonogram with a gross looking wraith device, but the baby is sooo cute! Teyla and Kannan have “the gift” and their baby will too, even stronger, hince Michael’s interest. Carson has a chance to kill Michael but can’t because he needs that shot, so Michael takes Teyla, again. The team rescues Teyla’s people, Carson has a chance this time to say goodbye again until further notice of a cure by Keller (i’m betting she finds one). Carson gets another hug from Ronon (did anybody ship Ronon and Beckett?). Whew! Pretty intense episode, full of suspense and drama. Another good one written by Alan McCullough. And like you say Joe, setting up what should be a big closure epic.

    What was Paul McGillion’s reaction when told he was coming back?

  9. When I was a kid I used to love to eat the hearts (it was always fascinating to pull them apart and look at the different chambers) but now I work with open heart patients they have kind of lost their charm.

    Re The Kindred episodes, I do remember being spoiled about Carson’s return and being really upset at Sci Fi. Michael was an interesting villain, at first I was sympathetic to him but as the arc went on I was much less so.

  10. @Joe: those chicken hearts look tasty, though when I first read through the blog I saw “chicken hearts in marmalade” instead of “chicken hearts in marinade” and it did give me pause.

    @Gilder and das: Bill Cosby. Chicken Heart. Go carts: Nanana nanana naaaaaaah… Oh, yes!

  11. @ Tam Dixon – No worries. Saw my primary yesterday and I had some slight pain and a low-grade fever, so he just wanted to play it safe and put me back on antibiotics. I am eating real food…just milder stuff and less of it, mostly because the antibiotics make everything taste weird. And yes, I am losing weight, so there’s a plus side to this. I have about two weeks until I see the gastroen…gastroenter…ento…the gut doctor. Hopefully then we’ll get to the…ya know…the bottom of this. 😉



  12. >Chicken hearts in marinade

    One word. Eww… Almost enough to make one throw up lol.

  13. Double…maybe even triple EWWWW!!!!

    My mother grew up
    On a chicken farm and the kids always would fight over who received the fried chicken hearts. She always ate them when I was growing up….BUT still….EWWWW!!!!

  14. Sad news to pass onto everyone. My Mum passed away last night. She’d had a fall while I was in Canada and dislocated her elbow. She’d been in hospital a couple of weeks and was re-admitted last week. She was very ill with some infections. She was peaceful when she passed and my brother, who’d flown down from Sydney, was with her. She’s not in any pain anymore.

    She was the best Mum and watched every episode of Stargate with me. She loved it, especially Michael Shanks and David Blue. She also loved hearing what James and Ivon were doing and would excitedly tell me whenever she saw James’ name in the credits.

    She loved hearing the stories of my Canada trips and seeing my photos and hearing about all of the people I met.

    She made the best chicken broth with rice.

    I love you Mum xoxoxox


  15. Ditto to Susan Bowden and Ponytail on “Kindred II.” Well said. I also knew he was returning before seeing the episode, but that didn’t stop me from tearing up anyway. Paul McGillion did a terrific job. The cast’s off-screen chemistry really shone through. Who knew what would really await him in season 5? Fortunately, those episodes were great. 🙂

    But as a girly, name-sake Carson Beckett fan, the only one I want him shipped with is me! 😀

    Das, also sending good wishes for tummy troubles! It’s hard to function when you feel bad. Good that you can eat some solid food!

    Chicken hearts — Had to go listen to Bill Cosby’s “Chicken Heart, pt. 2” on youtube today. It was hysterical. Bent double laughing. Thanks, Gilder, for the suggestion. 😀

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