A simple and delicious way to serve meaty, iron-rich hearts… Mexican Grilled Chicken Hearts With Citrus Marinade soaks in Mexican spices and orange, lime, and lemon juices, and spends only a few minutes on the grill!
Why Chicken Hearts? Eeeeuw!
I am guessing this recipe is a “hard sell.” Am I right? When I googled “grilled chicken hearts,” I was a little surprised at the low number of hits. I felt conflicted. On the one hand, what is the point of a food blogger churning out recipes that everyone else is doing? On the other hand, maybe my readers won’t make it past the title of the recipe… What is your reaction?
I grew up thinking organ meats (offal) are perfectly delicious and cheap proteins. My Dad was a graduate student until I was 7, and we were poor. Both of my parents cooked, we didn’t waste food, and we didn’t turn up our noses at less-common or desirable animal parts.
So, I have been eating food like this all of my 57 years. Last year, I posted recipes for beef tongue (lengua) – Provençal Beef Tongue Sandwiches and Lengua Tacos With Salsa Verde and Caramelized Onions. I have to admit, they never really took off! Here I am with another risky recipe… My son suggested I call it “Eat Your Heart Out,” and I had planned to post it on Valentine’s Day. I chickened out. Pardon my pun.
First, let me tell you a little bit about chicken hearts. Given that the heart is a hard working muscle, they have a firm texture, and a flavor that is a bit like chicken thigh. They do NOT taste like liver. 😆 They are nutrient dense, and loaded with protein, B vitamins (especially B 12), zinc, iron… And, they are cheap! I prefer the all natural chicken hearts that eat a natural diet to their factory/farm raised counterparts that have probably been fed antibiotics. The choice is yours to make.
Making Mexican Grilled Chicken Hearts With Citrus Marinade
Here in the Rio Grande Valley, we enjoy an abundance of citrus this time of year. I enjoy playing with Mexican flavors, and combining them in new ways. Any combination of citrus will work well in this recipe. I’ve been using blood orange, lime, and lemon. We also have tangerines, pummelo, grapefruit, meyer lemon, etc.
You want about 1 cup of juice +/-. The zest intensifies the flavor, so I use that as well. Chipotle powder is part of my well-stocked pantry, and its smokiness adds complexity to the marinade. Of course, we know ground cumin and Mexican oregano are required, right?
Whisk together the marinade ingredients, pour it into a zip bag, and add the rinsed and drained chicken hearts. Let them soak 1 hour to overnight.
Drain the chicken hearts and thread them on skewers. They cook quickly – about 3 to 4 minutes per side. If you have a helper to watch the grill, make a dipping sauce with the remaining marinade.
I do hope you will take a risk and give this recipe a try! Serve it with Mexican Cilantro Rice, a side salad, and a cold beer. A citrus IPA like Ballast Point’s Grapefruit Sculpin IPA would be an outstanding choice. Please let me know how this works out for you…
Chicken Hearts and Marinade
- 1 orange, zest and juice
- 1 lime, juice and zest
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon mild vinegar, I love Trader Joe's Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar
- 1-2 teaspoons chipotle powder
- 2 pounds chicken hearts
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- fresh ground pepper
- strained marinade
- 1/3 cup chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar
- 2 teaspoons mild vinegar, (see notes)
- fresh cilantro, chopped
- citrus wedges
- Combine marinade ingredients in a zip bag.
- Trim any membrane or fat from the chicken hearts. Add them to the marinade. Seal the bag, and marinate in the refrigerator 1 hour to overnight.
- Drain the chicken hearts. Place on skewers. Heat the grill to medium high.
- Strain the marinade, and add to a small sauce pan with chicken broth, agave nectar, and mild vinegar. Boil vigorously to reduce by about half.
- Taste for seasoning, and keep warm until serving chicken hearts.
- Grill 3-4 minutes per side. Overcooked hearts will be chewy. Garnish with fresh cilantro and additional citrus. Serve with dipping sauce. Enjoy!
Mexican Grilled Chicken Hearts With Citrus Marinade makes a great appetizer - if your guests are adventuresome. 😀 Simply reduce the portion size.
The chicken hearts pair well with my Mexican Cilantro Rice. A fruit or green salad makes a complete meal.
Macronutrients (estimate from MyFitnessPal): 179 calories; 27 g protein; 6 g carbohydrates; 6 g fats
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 179 Total Fat: 6g Carbohydrates: 6g Protein: 27g