Deviled Duck Hearts

5 from 7 votes
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Deviled duck heart recipe
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

This duck heart recipe is an adaptation from a recipe for deviled kidneys in English chef Fergus Henderson’s The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating. It’s a tasty and easy way to cook the hearts of really any small animal you happen to be hunting or raising at the moment; ducks are my default because I hunt them eagerly every winter.

No matter who’s heart you are cooking, make sure to trim the top above the little white ring fat, which mostly arterial gunk. You can either leave the hearts whole, halve them or do both if you have an assortment: Little teal hearts should be left whole, goose hearts should be sliced.

What is a deviled heart? Well, deviled whatever is a centuries-old British term for anything a bit zippy: You most often see deviled eggs these days, which are “deviled” from mustard and/or cayenne. Anytime you see the combination of mustard and cayenne it could legitimately be called “deviled.” Thus this recipe.

Fear not. It’s not blow-your-head-off spicy. This is a British dish, after all. It’s nicely seasoned, and the addition of the acidic, savory Worcestershire, a bit of broth to loosen things up and some finely grated onion for flavor and you have a snack, appetizer, lunch or first course fit for anyone.

The hearts stay very tender and pink in the middle, and this whole shebang works really well as an open-faced sandwich as well as a salad.

Deviled duck hearts
5 from 7 votes

Deviled Duck Hearts

I list this as a duck recipe because that is the sort of heart I tend to amass in quantity. But any small heart will do: Chickens, pheasants, grouse, quail, turkeys --- even rabbits and hares. And frankly, you could make this with small pieces of a larger heart, such as venison or boar. You can also make it saucier by doubling the amount of broth. Don't skimp on the green things, even if you can't find watercress, arugula or frisee. Use those baby leaf lettuce mixes you see in the market, or spinach or whatever.
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: British
Servings: 4 people
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 12 to 24 duck hearts
  • 1/4 cup flour for dusting
  • 1 heaping teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup duck fat or butter
  • 1/2 small onion grated, about 1/3 cup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup duck or chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • Watercress or arugula or frisee
  • Crusty bread to serve

Instructions 

  • Mix the salt, cayenne, dry mustard and flour together. Dust the hearts with it. Heat the duck fat in a pan over medium-high heat.
  • When it's hot, drop the hearts into the pan and saute them for 3 to 4 minutes, shaking the pan and letting the little hearts roll around a bit.
  • Add the grated onion, Worcestershire sauce and broth into the pan and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Swirl everything around so the hearts get coated. Let the sauce reduce to a glaze, about 3 minutes or so over high heat. Mix in the parsley and serve with watecress and crusty bread.

Nutrition

Calories: 189kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 1297mg | Potassium: 110mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 273IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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8 Comments

  1. We only had 4 black ducks so used the hearts, livers and one breast sliced thinly and this recipe was very nice! Our 3 year old also enjoyed it on some toast! Will definitely be making this again!

  2. This recipe exceeded all expectations and I can’t wait to prepare it again!

    I prepared this deviled duck heart recipe with 12 chicken hearts from some broilers we processed, placed them over a bed of arugula and baby spinach, and served with slices of toasted baguette.

    At first, I was leery about adding the “heaping teaspoon” of cayenne over concerns about it being too spicy (despite Hank’s warning that it would not be). However, I dutifully added the heaping teaspoon and trusted the process and it was perfectly appropriate. The dusting on the hearts made them flavorful but not overly spicy. I would confidently serve these to my most spice/heat-averse family members.

    This dish was prepared as an appetizer due to the quantity of hearts we had available, but I would happily eat this as a main course with a slightly larger salad and some extra sauce.

    I sliced some chicken hearts in half and cooked some whole. Both turned out perfectly cooked and tender. However, I preferred the presentation of the halves as felt more appropriate for bite size apps.

    Overall, I highly recommend this recipe. Thanks Hank!

  3. excellent timing! i have about 30-40 duck hearts (and gizzards and liver) which i have been diligently dissecting and yet to pick a recipe.

    question: Do duck hearts from Ducks with questionable fat taste good??

    most of my ducks this year (lots of widgeon, btw) have good looking fat, but I saved a few ring necks and some other species with weird looking fat (got a friggin 10lb mallard, that was bright orange – full of Doritos im guessing). got a few gadwall the other day, and they were a tinge orange.

  4. Good post Hank. Anyone lacking hearts needs to do to a good Asian market. There are hearts available for almost anything walking or flying out world!!

  5. Hank,
    Since my hunting season is closed and I have no duck hearts I am considering alternative meat to use.my first thought was to cut up some skinless mallard breast. I’m wondering though if they will be over cooked by the time I’m done. Is there a difference in the way heart cooks and other meats cook in regards to cooking time and teaching the dreadful over cooked duck stage?

    I have beef heart but domestic beef seems a shame to use unless there is a reason.

  6. The hearts look delicious. Another great recipe, I can’t wait to try it. Unfortunately here in San Joaquin Valley we still are not seeing much as far as ducks migrating yet, I hope it picks up soon, so can start amassing some hearts to try. I like skewering my small dove hearts onto rosemary stem skewers and grilling them on the BBQ for appetizers, perfect finger food. Thanks for the Post Hank.