Grilled Lamb or Goat Heart Skewers / Anticuchos
New to eating heart? Have no fear: this is one of the easiest, most delicious ways to cook heart I know of. Anticuchos peruanos are marinated heart skewers, and a famous Andean dish served all over Peru. This is a great lamb or goat heart recipe for if you’re just starting out cooking with them, or if you love them and are looking for a fun, novel way to prepare them.
In Peru, anticuchos are often served as an appetizer or as a quick street food meal, along with accompaniments like cooked potatoes and corn, depending on where you go and who’s serving it. One thing that doesn’t change, is that the skewers are made of chunks of marinated heart, grilled over an open fire. Typically beef heart is used, but goat or sheep heart is just fine too, and is probably cooked the same way as those animals are well adapted to the hilly terrain of the region.
It’s really an easy dish to make, the hardest part is just finding good skewers, since they make eating and cooking the dish easier. To make the lamb heart anticucho skewers, all you need is some chili powder, a little garlic, salt, and cumin. For the most traditional flavor, most recipes will call for aji panca chili paste. Since I try to keep special-order ingredients to a minimum, I think it’s fine to substitute some good chili powder made from freshly toasted chilies. That being said, if you try the lamb anticuchos here and like them, you might consider ordering some of the real-deal chili paste to try it out.
Other than the ingredient notes, this is really nothing more than grilled, marinated lamb heart skewers that you can serve as an appetizer or entree. As a nod to tradition, I’ve suggested serving them with some cooked sweet potato on the side, but they would really be good alongside whatever you like.
Tips on cooking
I find that people I serve heart to gobble it up the fastest when the heart is cooked a nice rosy pink-definitely not rare or even medium rare. You don’t want to overcook the lamb or goat hearts here since they’ll dry out, being a lean meat, but do try to get them nice pink—hot throughout. The cooking guidelines are pretty trusty below—I’ve found a minute or two on each side is just about perfect. Packing the meat together on the skewer tightly helps to insulate the heart and ensure even cooking.
This recipe is by chef Alan Bergo. A chef from Minnesota, Alan is a culinary industry veteran, former executive chef of acclaimed Lucia’s Restaurant, and the Salt Cellar. Founder of the website Forager Chef, he’s best known as a respected authority on Midwestern foraging. Learn more about Alan and his hunt for mushrooms, wild and obscure foods at Forager Chef.
Looking for grass-fed lamb and goat online? Shepherd Song Farm: Grass to table. We raise lambs & goats traditionally, humanely and sustainably. 100% Grass Fed, Pasture Raised, Never Confined, no Hormones, Grains or Animal Byproducts. Born, raised and processed in the U.S.A. Good for you and good for the environment.
Lamb or Goat Heart Skewers (Anticuchos de Corazon)
- 3 lamb or goat hearts roughly 1 ¼ lbs raw
Marinade / rub
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 1 large clove garlic grated or pressed
- 2 tablespoons chili powder such as ancho or guajillo
- For serving optional
- Cooked potatoes or sweet potatoes
- Fresh cilantro to garnish, optional
- Wedges of fresh lemon optional
Marinate the hearts
- Trim excess fat from the top of each lamb or goat heart, then cut into bite-sized pieces and mix with the ingredients for the marinade/rub. Allow the meat to marinate for at least a few hours and up to 24 hours.
- To cook the heart skewers, thread the marinated chunks of heart onto a skewer, depending on how many people will be eating you might use larger or smaller skewers.
- Heat a grill or griddle, lightly oil it, then cook the skewers for 2 minutes on each side, flipping after each side starts to brown and look slightly charred. You want the finished, cooked heart to be about medium doneness-hot and pink throughout.
- Remove the heart skewers from the grill or griddle and serve with cooked potatoes, cilantro, and wedges of fresh lemon if using.