February 11, 2013
cœur d’agneau
(lamb heart)
When I first saw him—I would later learn that his name was Larry—he was hanging from a tree by his Achilles tendons. His body was still quite warm. He had only been dead for about an hour. His carcass had been stripped of its viscera, and the main organs lay a few yards away in a metal bucket. Larry’s head was propped beside the bucket. His skin, with the wool still attached, lay in a pile against the same tree. Yellow jackets were swarming over what remained of Larry’s body. I wrapped a black, plastic bag around Larry’s neck and chest, and lifted his whole carcass up to release it from the hooks in the metal bar that had spread his legs shortly after a 25‑caliber bullet‑to‑the‑brain had ended his life. I inserted the bag‑covered portion of his body into my car trunk so that I could place another bag over his still exposed remains. I transferred his kidneys, liver, and heart to a plastic bucket in my trunk. As I closed the trunk lid, I could hear the complaints of some yellow jackets trapped in the plastic bags. Thus began my relationship with Larry the lamb.
I drove the hour it took to get from Larry’s hanging tree to his final destination. By the time I arrived at the walk‑in refrigerator that was to chill the carcass to below 4 °C (40 °F), rigor mortis was beginning to set in. Larry would be an untouchable for the 24 hours it would take for rigor to pass. It turned out that three days would go by before Larry would be turned into cuts, trim, bones, and waste.
After hanging Larry in the refrigerator, I headed home with his heart, kidneys, and liver. The kidneys went into what would be multiple changes of water and a few days later, my breakfast. Some of the liver was eaten that night for dinner, and some was turned into a mousse.
The heart was cooked right away. I butterflied the organ. The inside was rigorously washed under cold water to remove the blood clots hiding in the various crevasses. Some of the more grisly parts were removed. I placed it into a small saucepan along with a diced onion and enough beef broth to cover it. The saucepan was placed over low heat, and the heart was simmered for about 4 hours. The liquid never boiled. I determined the heart was properly cooked when a carving fork was easily inserted.
When it was cooked, I took the Larry’s heart out of its bubble bath, and set it into the refrigerator to chill. The cooking liquid was reduced to a nice sauce. The next day, since I wasn’t expecting guests for a while, both were placed in separate containers and frozen. They would sit in the freezer for a whole year before the appropriate meal arrived.
After defrosting, to serve the heart, I cut it into serving squares. These were reheated in the sauce. A little seasoning was added to the sauce. Each guest was served a glass with a square of heart.

© 2013 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.