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Duck Hearts with Cinnamon Juniper Sauce

Let me explain. No, it is too much! Let me sum up.

I got it into my head that I had to pick up some duck hearts. These things happen.

It turns out that you can buy duck hearts at Ottomanelli’s Meat Market (285 Bleecker Street, NY, NY) in 5 pound bags for something like $3-4/pound. Just order a bag and in a few days you will have infinite duck hearts to play with. Thaw them just enough to separate them into ziplock bags with maybe 1/2 pound duck hearts in each, label the bags with the date and contents, and freeze whatever you don’t cook immediately.

This way, if you want a quick snack of duck hearts in the middle of the week, you can pull out a small portion of them to play with! You never know when the duck heart munchies may hit. INFINITE DUCK HEARTS!

I get these urges sometimes, you see.

My partner, Dave, said that he’s going to have to put a single duck heart in with my lunch every day from now until eternity, and if I’m good he’ll even cook them first.

If you’re in a rush, you can quickly saute the hearts in butter and make a simple pan sauce with chicken stock and balsamic vinegar to pour over them. This takes just a few minutes to throw together and is splendid with toasted english muffins.

But on nights when you have the time to cook something a little more complex, it takes just a few minutes longer to throw together these duck hearts with cinnamon juniper sauce instead. Cinnamon juniper duck is an old Hungarian specialty, according to George Lang, who provided the inspiration (but not the recipe) for this dish.

Don’t worry. This dish was so good, it’s even four-year-old-picky-eater approved.

My grandmother informs me that we did it all wrong, and we should have browned onions in the pan before adding the duck hearts and done it up as a paprikas.

Anyways, duck hearts.

2007: Turkish-Style Burdock Root
2006: Basil Sorbet with Lemon Olive Oil

Duck Hearts with Cinnamon Juniper Sauce
1/2 lb. duck hearts
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
10 juniper berries, finely crushed
1/2 C red wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Thaw the duck hearts. Reserve the blood that melts when they thaw. Remove the fatty tops and cut the hearts into 1/4″ thick rounds.

Brown the onion in butter until it is golden, but not too dark. Add the duck hearts and spices and saute briefly. Remove duck hearts from the pan and set aside when they are almost cooked through.

Add the wine to the pan and boil until slightly syrupy.

Reduce the heat and stir in the duck blood to thicken. Add the hearts back to the pan and simmer, stirring, until heated and cooked through. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

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12 Responses to “Duck Hearts with Cinnamon Juniper Sauce”

  1. Looks yummy! I’m intrigued by this cinnamon juniper combination. Bookmarking this.

  2. Yvo says:

    Hahaha you knew I wouldn’t be able to pass up the Princess Bride reference you snuck in there :) glad to see a post… been a while! Which is good, it means you’re busy with other stuff… good things!

    And ahhh, the promised duck heart post… sounds ‘lish…

  3. The only time I had hearts was at Casa Mono. Let’s just say I wouldn’t trust them to anyone. If you need more recipe ideas, there’s some on the bottom of this page: http://www.gourmet.com/food/2008/02/valentines2008

  4. Helen says:

    Mmmmmm, yummy. I always have trouble resisting duck hearts when they are on a menu. I manage it occasionally. My partner never can. I love that flavour.

  5. brilynn says:

    I’ve never had duck hearts… or seen them on a menu. But then again I don’t eat out that much. I think I need to just so that I get to try things like this.

  6. mr.ed says:

    You might try making a deal with your local Asian grocers who do barbeque/Peking ducks. They could skewer and bbq the hearts. Of course, this would be taking lunch from the employees, but money talks. I buy bbq pork strips here (CLE) for $4-5#. Strangely, ribs are more, though they yield a lot less meat. Maybe ’cause they’re more popular, or come from a more expensive area. A little goes a long way in a soup or stir fry. MMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

  7. robin says:

    I love offal with earthy spices like cinnamon and juniper, though I’ve never had duck heart.

    Now I’ve got an itch for it bad.

  8. Cat says:

    whoa, I want to try that!

  9. Neen says:

    You WHAT?!?!? Okay, first off, “I got it into my head that I had to pick up some duck hearts. These things happen” is one of the best blog post openers of all time. In fact, you could start a book with that. It would sell a million copies, because no one would be able to put the book down after reading that sentence. Really. No one.

    Secondly, WHAT?!?! How on earth did you get a craving for duck hearts? You have just expanded my horizon 500-fold.

    Thirdly, ever hear Bill Cosby’s comic routine, “The Chicken Heart that Ate New York”? If you don’t, go listen to it. Really.

    Thanks for making my day with this post!

  10. Danielle says:

    Neen – That is the story of my life! If I write my memoir someday, I’ll consider opening it with that line. It’s a good emblem for a lot of what I do.

    I’m going to try to find that Bill Cosby bit now, since I’ve never heard it!

  11. I LOOOOOVE YOU!!!!! I love that you made duck hearts! Hearts and gizzards are some of my fav foods.

  12. i’m so curious if the flavor of duck hearts is different than veal or chicken hearts. i feel like anything from a duck HAS to taste awesome. This looks fabulous. I love juniper berries!

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