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