Beef ♥ Stew with Tomatoes & Black Olives

This is a recipe adapted from Deborah Krasner's beautiful book, Good Meat.  You may be put off by the thought of eating heart, but it's more than likely you've been eating heart in your hamburger for a long time. Not classified organ meat, heart is an extremely lean muscle perfect for a long, slow braise as in this distinctive and flavorful stew.

The original recipe also calls for 1 TBS Herbes do Provence Blend seasoning. I leave it out here because of personal preference and also because when your ingredients are fresh as can be and you know your beef is excellent, I don't like to disguise the flavors with too many flavors. This stew already had plenty going on for my taste, but if you'd like to add the herb blend do it when you add the olives and capers.

If you're not bold enough to try the heart, simply use  your favorite inexpensive beef roast instead.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 grass-fed beef heart (approx 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup Kosher Salt, plus more as needed
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
1 salt packed anchovy fillet, rinsed and cleaned
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large onions, roughly chopped
1/2 cup red wine
1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes
1 cup black olives, pitted (Kalamata are my faves)
1 bay leaf
1 TBS salt-packed capers, drained and rinsed
4 Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled nd cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Wash te heart and trim all visible fat and membranes.  Make a brine with 3 quarts of water and the kosher salt, and let the heart sit in it for 1 hour or so. Remove and rinse, then cut off any other non-steaky bits like silverskin. Blot the meat dry and cut it into 1 - 2 inch cubes. Lightly pepper the meat and tos it in with the flour to coat.

In a frying or braising pan, heat 1 TBS of the olive oil until it thins and becomes fragrant.  Cook the anchovy and garlic together over very low heat, stirring as necessary for about 1 minute. Add the onions and cook them down slowly to limpness.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In a Dutch Oven, add the remaining 1 TBS of olive oil.  When the oil is hot, brown the meat, in batches if needed to prevent crowding and brown on all sides.  Deglaze the pan with the red wine, scraping up any browned bits and reducing the wine to half it's original volume.

Add the onion mixture and add the tomatoes with their juices. Add the herb blend if using, olives, bay leaf, capers, and potatoes.  Simmer very slowly over lowest possible heat, covered for 3 - 4 hours, until the meat is tender.  Taste and adjust for seasonings and serve in bowls.

Note: I did not add any salt as the olives, anchovy and capers tend to be salty.  Adjust seasonings at the end.  Salt added early in the process will intensify as the liquid reduces and a dish you thought was seasoned perfectly will end up too salty.

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