The Odd Bits: Beef Heart Stew

I love this blooming, gentle season, with its bright blue days so beautiful they seem like a dream, and skies that are like gazing into the eyes of a beloved. They shift so easily into the pattering, grey days when the slick tree trunks stand out from the blushing green.

Perhaps it is the flowers – i feel like they sing to me from everywhere –  the tops of trees and the garden and the tangled ditches – all shapes and forms,  shedding pollen and sweet smells, dangling and staring, twinkling and frilling and romancing.

All the twittering of busy birds. And babies, too.  And the little green curl of new sprouts in the seed flats for the next garden. There were so many things i felt like i failed with this past season as i was trying to heal – healing my heart and my tired-out self, feeling old and sad and lost.

I love to see what the plants will do with adversity. They are so sensible. To the trees, challenge means extra blossoms, seeds that know the long passage of time. It means deeper roots, and more connections.

Fear and sorrow are isolating, and life thrives on connection.  Everyone is looking towards sterility and isolation right now in the face of a global disease outbreak. But I want to walk the blooming path instead, the green path, the one crowded with friends and allies: Green, winged, multi-legged, and single-celled.

I already had many of the herbs specific against coronavirus on hand, and many of them are wild plants like skullcap, elder (though the leaves and bark, not the delicious berries), bidens, angelica, and kudzu (yes, kudzu).

And then there is nourishment.  Here is a soup to nourish the heart.  It is made from heart, one of those meats that is hardly eaten now, but it is not a strong-flavored organ at all. 

 Ancient warriors, in the days of long-ago, would sometimes eat some of the heart of a noble adversary they finally defeated. Not because they were simply cannabalistic, but because they admired the courage, the strength of their enemy and wanted to hold those qualities in their own heart.

This heart was from one of our bulls. It always feels like a very sacred task to handle the heart of something. I can’t imagine it being called waste. Dr. Tom Cowan writes about how the heart does not actually pump blood. The force of blood is driven by the metabolism creating water. The heart stops the blood, a brief pause. And listens. 

BEEF HEART STEW

I trim the fat off 1 beef heart. You don’t have to, but it is a weird-flavored bite in the soup. Then i cut it into bite-sized chunks. The fat can be put in with other fat to render. 

10 Shitake mushrooms

Butter

1 quart good broth

Salt and pepper

1 onion, chopped
Several garlic chives
A bunch of parsley

A handful of kale, chopped
2-3 good-sized potatoes, diced

Several carrots, cut into rounds

1.  Melt the butter in a soup pot, and brown the chunks of beef heart,  seasoning them with salt and pepper and stirring them as they brown. Add the onion when they are nicely browned and stir fry. 

2. Slice the mushrooms and add to the pot.  Stir fry a minute, then add the broth. 

3. Add the diced potatoes and kale,  the garlic chives and season again with salt and pepper. Simmer for a bit. 

4. When the potatoes are soft, add the parsley, chopped, and let cook just a minute longer. 

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