Given the many natural/alternative schools of thought I follow, plus my desire to do my bit to help save the planet, many people assume I am a vegetarian or vegan. I have to say I do like the thought if it; it’s cheaper, I don’t have to worry myself on whether my chickpeas were given space to roam and the appropriate natural diet, plus according to various studies it’s the key for living a long and healthy life.
But I just don’t think it’s for everyone.
I personally do not function well without animal products… as much as i’d like to. I have tried, but I very quickly feel bloated, lethargic and generally unsatisfied. I could go into detail about the digestive discomfort too, but i’m British so you can just use your imagination 😉 . And i’m not talking about a diet full of vegan processed or replacement foods either (because they’re not good for anyone). Despite being a happy paleo/primal eater, I’ve tried repeatedly with an unprocessed, made from scratch ‘clean’ vegan or veggie diet… mainly for the planet’s sake. A lot of the book and blogs I read state I should feel energised, clear headed and lean. Erm no..not me i’m afraid. This girl needs meat.
I’m painfully aware of the damage large scale farming practises are having on the planet and I try my best to buy only local, free range, grassfed meat. I also work on an nose-to-tail ethos. I believe if we’re killing an animal for our consumption, we should honour that animal and use every bit of the animal that we can.
Which leads me to this recipe for Ox heart jerky.
So many people I speak to shy away from organ meat and to be honest if i was buying supermarket, mass farmed meat I wouldn’t be so keen to eat it either..after all the organs filter out all the toxins in a body and they can accumulate there. But as I’m sure of the quality and provenance of my meat I know the organs are one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. And for the those who are a bit weirded out by offal.. I challenge you to try this jerky and be able to identify it’s not muscle meat!
Heart meat is a great source of iron, folate, B Vitamins and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). This is an antioxidant and can help treat and prevent certain diseases, particularly heart disease. CoQ10 has been shown to slow down the ageing process and to improve energy levels.
It’s also super super cheap! I bought a whole heart for just £5 from my butcher.. To buy the equivalent amount of lean muscle meat (like Silverside or topside) would have been at least £25!!
So once you’ve got your top quality heart from your butcher, you’ll need to cut it into long strips . This can be a time consuming job as there some fiddly ventricles etc to cut out, but it’s worth spending time on the trimming to make sure you only have the best bits ready to dry.
I then make a marinade/rub with the fairly random amounts of the following ingredients;
Cayenne Pepper/chill powder
You can use your preference to guide you on what to put into the rub, but be brave and don’t scrimp on the ingredients! Rub this all over the meat and then leave in the fridge to marinate, preferably overnight.
In the morning you can then pop this into your dehydrator if you have one, if not, you can lay the strips on a baking tray lined with a baking sheet and put your oven as low as it will go.. ideally around 50 degrees. with the fan to ensure the air is circulating. This will probably take around 12 hours to dry out and you maybe have to do it in batches depending on the size of the heart.
Once it’s fully dry, cut into small strips and keep in an air tight container until you’re ready to chow down on your incredibly nutritious portable snack!