Thursday, January 8, 2015

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Lamb Heart Chili

In the interest of both budget and nutrition, I make a huge effort to feed my family organ meats regularly. Luckily since moving to Ireland, worrying about finding "grass-fed" meat and dairy is not really an issue. Phew. However, I still go out of my way to find meat that is free-range and organic. This is something I am even more serious about when it comes to organ meats.

On Saturday, I was at my local Natural Food Market trying to get as much nutrition as possible for my limited food budget. Along with some ground beef and chicken carcasses (for bone broth), I also picked up very reasonable lambs liver and lamb hearts.

I know my kids will eat the liver pan-fried (just don't tell them it's liver please) but I knew I would have to do something to disguise the hearts. I have made the PaleoMom's pumpkin chili before and really liked the flavor. So, I decided to do something similar, using ingredients I had on hand. I can't say this was a huge hit with my kids (they thought it was "too spicy") but I really loved it and they ate it at least. Sometimes they need to try something a few times before they come around, but even if they don't, this is a recipe I would make again just because I like it so much. I also suppose I could tone down the spice and see what they think. Anyway, it was fab and a great way to incorporate organ meats into your diet.

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Lamb Heart Chili

1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
3 small onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 lamb hearts, chopped small (I remove the very obvious ventricles)
2 tbsp dripping or tallow or oil
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp mild curry powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cocoa powder
1 jar of tomato passata
1 tsp salt

Heat oven to 350F or 180C.
1. Roast the butternut and sweet potato pieces in the oven for 25 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, sautee the onions, garlic and heart pieces in 2 tsp dripping til onions are translucent and heart pieces are nicely brown.
3. Add the chili powder, curry powder, cinnamon and nutmeg to the sautee pan, toss everything around to combine and then transfer these a crock pot.
4. Remove half the squash/potato pieces from the oven after 25 minutes and transfer to crockpot.
5. Keep cooking the rest of the  squash/ potato for 20 more minutes, til soft.
6. Add bay leaves, tomato passata and salt to slow cooker.
7. When the squash/potato pieces are done and soft, use a stick blender or food processor to puree.
8. Add puree to the crock pot.
9. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3. (This will depend a bit on your crock pot. The one I had in the US seemed to cook at much lower temps than the one I have here in Ireland. This one always has stuff bubbling! Not sure I like that.)

So, that's a very simple organ meat dish, that I find quite delicious. We ate it over rice, but you could easily have it with cauliflower rice or on its own. I am also thinking it might be a nice savory filling for my einkorn crepes. It might also be nice with beans added to the mix (if you eat beans).

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