Much offal is recycled or disposed of, but it’s delicious and nutritious, as well as cheap: surprise yourself with these ox heart kebabs
When the magnitude of global food waste started hitting the headlines 10 years ago, I co-created a roaming restaurant called The Forgotten Feast to help tackle the issue. It’s a food collective that supports the ugly, the unwanted and the unloved, and concentrates on the use of wild and seasonal food, surplus food and foods that are forgotten or ignored by the modern world.
One of our first events was a Valentine’s Day banquet for lovers, friends and singles alike, with all proceeds going towards tackling food poverty. Our most adventurous dish that evening, ox heart kebab, turned out to be the most popular, too. Ox heart is an overlooked ingredient, as is most offal, which tends to be treated like waste at the abattoir, where it’s recycled or just disposed of. That’s crazy, because it’s both delicious and affordable: lean and with a clean flavour.
This dish is inspired by anticuchos, a popular Peruvian street food in which heart is marinaded in vinegar, chilli and oregano, then skewered and grilled over charcoal.
Ox heart kebabs
These are absolutely delicious – not gamey, as you might expect, but lean and satisfyingly rich. For a superior flavour, marinade the meat overnight, but give it at least an hour. Serve them pink, so they’re tender, and serve with sliced and fried boiled potatoes reheated in the leftover marinade until the sauce goes thick and sticky, and dressed with fresh coriander.
400g ox heart, trimmed and cleaned weight (if need be, ask your butcher to do this for you)
1 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted
1 tsp dried oregano
6 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large red chilli, chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp chipotle sauce (or Tabasco)
100ml red-wine, white-wine or cider vinegar
Cut the trimmed heart meat into 2cm cubes.
To make the marinade, grind the cumin, oregano and two teaspoons of salt in a mortar, add the garlic and chilli, and grind to a paste.
Stir in the tomato puree, chipotle sauce and vinegar, then toss the diced heart through the marinade and leave, ideally overnight and for at least an hour.
Skewer the meat on to eight sticks, barbecue or griddle on a high heat for a minute on each side, and serve pink.