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!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks – About Cooking with Offal!
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.😂
🐓About Chicken Hearts
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. 😆
Are Chicken Hearts Healthy?
They are nutrient dense, and loaded with protein, B vitamins (especially B 12), zinc, iron, folate… A 4 ounce serving provides 20 grams of proteins and 126 calories. And, they are cheap! Keep in mind, they do contain a relatively high amount of saturated fat.
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.
For more on chicken hearts, see Chicken Heart Nutrition!
📋 Ingredients You’ll Need
- citrus – I use a combination of orange, lime, and lemon juice to mimic the flavor of sour or “ugly” oranges found in Latin America.
- olive oil
- vinegar – I love Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar, but you can use your preferred vinegar (wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, and apple cider vinegar are good options).
- chipotle – I specify ground chipotle powder, but you can substitute ancho, guajillo, or New Mexico red chile powder. Do not substitute generic “chili powder” as it contains other ingredients. Alternatively, you can use a canned chipotle with a little adobo, but you’ll want to put it in the blender to combine.
- chicken hearts – This recipe is written for chicken hearts, but it’s really good on any chicken parts or pork too.
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- Marinate the chicken hearts – 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.
- Prepare the skewers – Drain the chicken hearts, and make sure to reserve the marinade for sauce. Place on skewers. Heat the grill to medium high.
- Make the sauce – Add the reserved marinade 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 the skewers – Grill 3-4 minutes per side. Overcooked hearts will be chewy. Garnish with fresh cilantro and additional citrus. Serve with dipping sauce. Enjoy!
What kind of citrus should I use?
How much juice should I use?
What can I substitute for ground chipotle powder?
Are the chicken hearts good leftover?
If you have a helper to watch the grill, make a dipping sauce with the remaining marinade while the skewers are on the grill. Reduce by about 2/3.
Try the marinade on pork chops and chicken thighs.
🍷 Pairing Suggestions
Serve the grilled chicken hearts with Mexican Cilantro Rice, Mexican Cauliflower Rice, or Red Rice, a side salad, and a cold beer. A citrus IPA like Ballast Point’s Grapefruit Sculpin IPA would be an outstanding choice.
I do hope you will take a risk and give this recipe a try… If you do, let me know by leaving a comment at the bottom of the post! If you love all things “offal,” this simple Beef heart recipe may be another one you’ll want to try. Chicken and beef hearts are both relatively lean and healthy protein sources.
Mexican Grilled Chicken Hearts With Citrus Marinade
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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
- ⅓ 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!
NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.