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Now, before you shudder and recoil away in utter horror at the title of this recipe – Urgh, what?! She’s cooking hearts? That’s disgusting, I’m offended! – simmer down, take a step back and just be rational. You eat meat (surely?); this is literally no different. Offal is fabulous – cheap, highly nutritious and, most importantly, utterly delicious when treated properly. People’s objection to offal is purely squeamish; superficial, irrational, unattractive. In the same party as aversion to any fish other than cod, to chardonnay, to unpasteurized cheese. If I am ever in a plane crash and am marooned on a desert island, please god someone shoot me.  Next time, kiddo, consider why you shudder. Write me a length, well reasoned essay presenting me with a case for why my tasty, fully composed luncheon of tongue, liver, heart is any different to any other non-vegetarian meal. Argue for why you recoil. Use logic and I’ll personally gift my own Magi-Mix (Moon of my heart) to you.

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog then you’ve probably already heard me rant evangelical on this topic, tottering on my soap box, but in this matter I am correct

 Anyway, this is a tasty little dish I dreamt up one morning when I was feeling carnivorous. Boudin Noir is the French’s version of black pudding. We won’t talk about what is in it…..It is fantastic; softer in texture than our British variety, unctuous, rich, luxurious to the 9th million’th degree. Its savoury, peppery flavour marries well with the iron, meatiness of the duck hearts. The duck hearts: cook them rare in a garlic butter and make sure you rest them really well, for at least 5 minutes. If you don’t they tend to squirt out blood at high pressure when skewered by your eager fork. That was, admittedly, their function in life – but it does seem to put off the novice offaler for some reason. Quack.
The apple’s sweet juices wash away the meaty richness of the proteins and the glaze is just tart and sticky enough to bind the whole dish together.

So come on, man up and get your teeth into some hearts. You can pretend you’re in twilight or something.

Ingredients (Serves 4 as a starter)

12 duck hearts, prepped (see 5)
3 boudin noir sausages. If you can’t get these just use black pudding.
1 large sour, crisp apple, like a granny smith. Don’t use a floury one – it won’t work at all. If you’re not clued up on your apples (aka aren’t weird, like me) opt for green over red.
1 clove garlic, minced
Balsamic Vinegar, good quality
100 ml red wine
Chilli powder, hot. 1 pinch.
vegetable oil
salt and pepper

1. Chop your boudin noir into 1 inch chunks.
2. Heat a frying pan with some oil in it until it is hot. Gently place the sausage into it and fry on each side for about 2 minutes. Be careful – Boudin Noir is very loose and tends to fall apart quite easily. Take care when flipping each piece over so that it doesn’t explode all over your pan! When cooked remove from the heat and place onto kitchen towel to soak up the oil. Keep warm in an oven until later.
3. Wipe your pan and reheat with a little butter in it.
4. Peel your apple. Slice it into 1 cm circular slices. Place these in the pan with the butter and saute about a minute on each side so that the apple is soft, but still has a bit of bite, and is starting to brown. Remove from the pan, slice into chunky matchsticks and put to one side.
5. To prep your duck hearts: take a sharp knife and cut off about the top 1/8th of the heart which has a thick white crescent of fat around it (the thick end of the heart). See the below picture for guidance. Trim off the remaining white fat so you are left purely with the red meaty flesh.
6. Heat a pan with some butter and oil in it. When hot, throw in the duck hearts and saute, constantly moving them around, for about 4-5 minutes, adding the garlic after about 2 minutes. Season. At this point remove it from the heat and cut in half. They should be still pink in the middle, quite dark red in the very middle quickly fading to pink. Their outsides will be nicely browned. Remove from the heat and leave, covered, to rest for about 5 minutes. In this resting time the loose blood in the hearts will disappear and they will continue to cook evenly throughout.
7. For the glaze: in the same pan as you have cooked the hearts in, throw in the red wine and bubble over high heat for 1 minute, until the alcohol has burned off and it is starting to reduce. Add the balsamic vinegar and the chilli. Simmer until the liquid has reduced and it is just starting to get a bit sticky – don’t take it too far though, you don’t want it to be too sticky. Just so it coats the back of a spoon nicely.
8. Spoon the boudin noir onto a warmed plate. Slice the hearts in two and arrange on top of the boudin noir. Add the apple match sticks. Drizzle the whole thing generously with the glaze. Serve warm and devour.
Yummy fresh duck hearts! Complete with the fat, pre-removal.
I will lose respect for you if you vomit.
Hearts post fat ring removal
Hearts and boudin noir!
Sliced Boudin Noir – How delicious does that look?!
Fry, my babies, fry
sizzling hearts
Apple slices – soft, starting to brown, still with a good bit of bite.
To plate!

1. Plate like this:
1. Skinny rectangular line of boudin noir. 2. Hearts on top. 3. Apple matchsticks leaning over. 4. Drizzle.
2. or like this….(steps one and two):
1. Mound of boudin in a circle in plate centre. 2. Hearts on top. 3. Matchstick apple over.
4. Drizzle.