Cook This: Serve up Literal Heart on a Taco Shell with a Spicy Hot Sauce

February 10, 2017
This recipe is part of a 4-course Stages of Love series for Valentines day.

Things are really starting to heat up in the relationship. Once you’ve passed the cheesy courting phase of the relationship, you go over the edge and fall head over heels in love… or something like it anyway. You are at that point in the relationship where using and hearing the word “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” makes your heart do a happy-dance. And the time is ripe for you to hit that seratonin-inducing milestone: declaring your love.

And what can be a more romantic way than to give them your heart. Literally. (Well, it’s literally your heart in that you bought it at the grocery store. You get what we mean.) This super-hot recipe has fiery salsa to ignite the passions, red tomato slices to inspire romance with the color of love, a juicy beef heart that declares your affections, all wrapped up lovingly in a tortilla that says together, we are whole.

Take care not to overcook the beef heart as it could turn as rubbery as a slipper. After cooking, the inside should have a pink hue. Otherwise, do not be daunted by the many parts that compose this dish. Though it takes some preparation and patience, the steps can be managed by even the most novice of home cooks with these straightforward instructions. If executed well, its spicy result will get your Valentines date hot and bothered so that you can take your relationship to the next stage and ideally, the next room (wink).

Beef Heart Tacos

YIELD: 15 tacos
 1 day


  • 1 kg beef heart
  • 3 pcs chili, dried
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp annatto
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 pcs bird’s eye chili (sili labuyo), finely minced
  • 2 pcs garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 tsp cumin powder


  • 15 pcs chili, dried
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 pcs garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 pc onion, quartered
  • 3 pcs finger chili (sili pangsigang)
  • 5 pcs native tomato, quartered
  • 4 pcs bird’s eye chili (sili labuyo), red
  • 2 tbsp canola oil


  • 2 pcs onion, minced
  • 6 pcs native tomato, diced into 1cm squares
  • ⅛ bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp cumin powder
  • salt, to taste


  • 15 pcs soft tortilla (or 30 pcs for double-layer taco)
  • 2 pcs limes, cut into 16 wedges
  • 100g Monterey jack cheese, grated
  • cilantro, as needed


  1. Clean the beef heart and remove any excess connective tissue, veins, valves and excess fat.
  2. Cut the heart into more manageable pieces about the size of a steak.
  3. Butterfly each steak and set aside in fridge.
  4. Heat up a pan and toast dried chilis until a smoky aroma starts to come off the pan. The chili should darken as well.
  5. Add the olive oil to the pan and bring up the heat until the chilis start frying. Remove from heat and place annatto. Stir and let steep for an hour.
  6. Meanwhile, mix vinegar, salt, garlic, sili labuyo and cumin together in a bowl. Taste and season according to preference.
  7. After an hour has passed, remove toasted chili from oil and place in vinegar mixture. Strain oil into vinegar mixture and whisk well.  Discard annatto seeds.
  8. Let marinade cool down. Toss beef heart in it and let it marinate at least overnight.


  1. Preheat oven to highest level.
  2. Toast dried chilis in a hot pan. When it starts to give off its aroma and change color, remove from heat, and place in a bowl.
  3. Cover toasted chilis with vinegar, water, and salt, and stir. Let steep for at least an hour.
  4. While toasted chilis are soaking, mix all remaining ingredients together, and place in hot oven. Let roast till there is a charred layer formed on the vegetables.
  5. Remove from oven and add to the vinegar and chili mixture.
  6. Mix and let all ingredients sit for another hour.
  7. Blend and store in a squeeze bottle.
  8. There will be more hot sauce than you need for the tacos but you can store and use in place of your favorite hot sauce.

PROCEDURE: Salsa Cruda

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Taste and adjust seasoning to preference.


  1. Heat up pan and add some oil. Wait for it to start smoking.
  2. Remove heart from marinade and pat dry.
  3. Add to hot pan and sear till a nice brown crust forms on one side. Turn and repeat.
  4. Remove heart from heat. Cook until medium rare and no more, otherwise it will be rubbery.
  5. In another pan, toast tortillas till pliable.
  6. Slice the beef thinly and toss in some hot sauce (depending on the heat level you like).
  7. Place beef on tortilla, and top with a tablespoon of salsa cruda.
  8. Sprinkle grated cheese and garnish with cilantro.
  9. Serve with lime.
Bea Osmeña SEE AUTHOR Bea Osmeña

Bea Osmeña is a healthy-ish eater who is just as likely to take you to a vegan joint as she is to consume a whole cheese pie to herself. A former picky eater, Bea has discovered the joys of savory fruit dishes, but still refuses to accept pineapples on her pizza. On the rare occasion you catch her without food in her mouth, you are likely to find her looking at books she can't afford, hugging trees, or talking to strange animals on the street.

2 comments in this post SHOW

2 responses to “Cook This: Serve up Literal Heart on a Taco Shell with a Spicy Hot Sauce”

  1. Jenni says:

    Hi Bea, this is a good article. I am looking for a writer. I hope we can have a quick chat. 🙂


  2. Jenni says:

    By the way, I am one of the owners of Le Don’s Garden.
    I hope you can check it out soon. We grow some organic vegetables like kale, arugula, lettuce, celery, parsley and culinary herbs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Keep on