Spit-roasting III- A bleeding heart
July 25, 2010
Continuing the rather exclusive theme started by spit-roasting chicken, I was now trying to spit-roast a heart. As stated before, it is my belief that the spits we found from the Viking Ae were mainly used to roast fowl, innards and the like. This particular idea was inspired by the tragic epic about Sigurd the dragonslayer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigurd). In this tragedy spit-roasted hearts are mentioned twice. In the beginning of the story Sigurd kills the great dragon and removes the heart for roasting – (This scene is depicted on a Swedish runic stone http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b6/S%C3%B6_101%2C_Ramsund.jpg). While the heart imparted wisdom to Sigurd, he also took the treasure from the slayed dragon, a treasure that came with a curse. After passing a few hands it came into the possession of king Atli (Attila) through his wife. In the process her brothers were killed by Atli and his wife plotted revenge. So one day she killed their children, mixed their blood into the mead and served their hearts as calves heart with honey. This is not only a delightfully morbid story, but it is actually one of the few instances in which the sagas and stories in which a taste or condiment is mentioned. Though this dish probably would be considered to be somewhat sweet, I would say that it is not a reflection of the everyday food, but rather be an indication of what can be considered a rather exclusive dish. In order to produce a dish that would fit such a description I decided to attempt to make a filling with alpine leek, cowberries/lingonberries, bacon in small pieces and some juniper berries. This mixture were put into the natural cavities of the heart which I then sealed with some wooden skewers. The whole heart, was then fasten upon the large spit and it was roasted next to the fire. While roasting the outside was basted with honey. After about thirty minutes I made a few probing cuts into the heart, which appeared still a bit raw, and the consistency of the meat when pressed by a knife was rather soft..The heart was placed back beside the fire and my basting continued. It would take another thirty minutes before I found it ready enough to be served. The taste was good if somewhat bloody. When I looked upon the heart after a moments distraction I noticed that the meat was red. Still the taste was good, with a slight honey taste to it. The dish would work quite well though sliced thinly as a starter.
Though the heart was considerably smaller than the chicken, it fit quite well onto the spit, there was, however, a need for some extra skewers to keep it turning with the spit. It should probably be possible to fit a few more hearts onto the same spit.