Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Nutrient-Dense Chicken Hearts Added to My Diet

For several reasons, I do not care how much fat, calories and cholesterol exist in my food. Instead, I focus on consuming foods that are nutrient-dense.

One food that I've started eating much more of recently is chicken heart, a very good source of protein, the B vitamins (especially B12), riboflavin, zinc, selenium and iron. Chicken hearts also provide folate, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and copper.

But, as I repeat ad nauseam, the
source of the food we eat helps determine its nutritional profile (and flavor). There is a huge difference between a chicken heart from a chicken raised on a factory farm, administered antibiotics and fed genetically-engineered and pesticide-laden corn and soy and a chicken heart from a chicken free to roam on pasture where it eats its natural diet (insects, worms, grubs, etc.). These two chickens are not the same animal.

(The same p
rinciple, I believe, holds for strawberries, butter, chocolate chip cookies, carrots, etc.)

I buy my chicken hearts at a local farmers' market from Grazin' Angus Acres, an elite farm that produces superior (nutrition and flavor) grass-fed beef, pastured chicken, pastured pork, milk and eggs.

Chicken hear
ts have a mild chicken flavor and do not taste or smell anything like liver, which many people find off-putting. My grandmother (born 1901 in the Old Country) fed chicken hearts to a family of six for $0.25, my mother claims. Needless to say, high-quality chicken hearts are now a little more expensive.

To cook the chicken hearts, I simply sauté them in—depending on my mood—butter, olive oil, coconut oil or rendered chicken fat (photo, above). Two or three minutes per side is all they need since they are small. I'll then season with a little unrefined sea salt, fresh ground pepper and sometimes a squirt of fresh lemon juice.

Since Grazin' Angus Acres only raises chickens from June through October, I've started buying extra, which I am freezing (photo, left) for use during the winter. No Perdue or Tyson chicken hearts for me!

20 comments:

Matt said...

Rob, how many of them do you eat in a week or in a sitting? I would think 4oz/week would be plenty, and that this could probably serve the purpose of a multivitamin.

Chef Rob said...

Matt,

I just weighed one and they are about a 1/2 pound each. I eat them roughly once per week and I have 6 to 8 in a sitting, so I eat in the 3 to 4 ounce range each week.

Anonymous said...

I love chicken hearts, my problem is eating them all in one sitting!

Chef Rob said...

Is that a problem?!?!

Milan said...

Those days I'm eating grilled chicken hearths. Awesome. Cheers!

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Anonymous said...

hey Rob..I usually cook chicken hearts with lemongrass, turmeric, onion garlic, whole pepper, a touch of chilli,bay leaves, ginger, etc. just thought you might want to give a try

Elizabeth J. Neal said...

There is a huge difference between a chicken heart from a chicken raised on a factory farm, Three Week Diet

david said...

My problem is finding chicken hearts. I'm in Memphis and can't find them locally. I thought Kroger might have some from the chickens they rotiserie, but am told they get those chickens separately and heart-free. Any ideas.

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Anonymous said...

If you are following a no-carbo diet like me who likes to remain at 66 kgs (I am 175 cm tall) this is one of the best options. I marinate them for a few hours with apple vinegar, mustard, curry, garlic and oregano, then I cook them in air oven. Marinating does not only make them delicious but can keep them in fridge (not deep frost) for 1-2 days more since the standard portion sold in super-markets here (I live in Moscow) is a big too much for 1 person.

Unknown said...

You might have some luck checking out the Asian supermarkets. Any respectable store will be stocked up on offal .

Unknown said...

You might have some luck checking out the Asian supermarkets. Any respectable store will be stocked up on offal .

Brandy said...

I Love chicken hearts! I'm glad to see that they contain selenium. I wish I could find some local organically grown chicken hearts. I have left a request with a local chicken farmer so maybe I will have some soon.

BTW- if you want a real treat, after you have melted some butter in the pan, slice up some onion and throw it in with the diced chicken hearts and sauté until you see the onions caramelize. Add plenty of unrefined sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. It's basically my favorite food in the world. (I enjoy liver in the mix too, but I doubt everyone would - I think that may have come form being anemic as a child.)

dooli1981 said...

Hi Rob,

I noticed in the picture above where you talk about freezing the chicken hearts you have them on a tray with baking paper underneath. I was wondering do you freeze them like that as they are on the tray or do you cover it in some way? Currently I bag each separate piece of meat I want to freeze in its own little freezer bag, but think that a) it's wasteful and b) don't like the idea of these plastic bags touching my food.

eterpe1 said...

*half ounce each, not half pound

Joe Rielly said...

Try the parmesan flavored shake 'n' bake with them... you'll never stop eating them.

Joe Rielly said...

Try the parmesan flavored shake 'n' bake with them... you'll never stop eating them.

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