Chicken hearts with onion, mushroom and peppers

This month’s Nutrition Confidence recipe was done by registered dietitian, Mpho Tshukudu, and is a delicious, cost-effective recipe that incorporates offal.

Offal includes liver, gizzards, heart, kidney, spleen, lung, intestines, hooves, tongue and others. They are usually from poultry, beef, pork, lamb and goat. Use of offal can be influenced by culture, economic status, religion and preference. For some, they are a delicacy and others consider them poverty foods. Offal can be cost-effective compared to meat.

Different offal has been shown to have higher protein, zinc, iron, manganese and vitamins A and Bs than meat.

In the last decade, nose-to-tail eating has been popular and growing. It refers to the consumption of all parts of animals, as a way of respect to them and reducing the cost of food and food waste.

This is how our grandparents used to eat – all parts were used. You can find the delicious recipes in the recipe books from around the 1940s. More recently, some high-end chefs, including South African chefs, do serve offal, with a modern twist.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes


  • 500 g chicken hearts
  •     2 teaspoon olive/avocado  oil
  •     1 teaspoon butter
  •     1 medium onion, sliced
  •     1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  •    1/2 medium bell pepper, julienne – any colour
  •     2 garlic cloves, crushed
  •     1/2 cup chicken stock or more if needed
  •     ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  •     ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  •     Salt to taste


  1. Remove excess fat and cut each heart in half and set aside.
  2. Heat oil and butter in a casserole or pan, over low to medium heat.
  3. Add onions, bell peppers and mushrooms, sauté for 3 minutes
  4. Add crushed garlic and sauté for another 1 minute.
  5. Add chicken hearts. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, until the hearts are brown.
  6. Add chicken stock, black pepper, salt and oregano.
  7. Simmer for 10 minutes with the casserole or pan covered, until the hearts are soft and no longer pink in the centre.

Serve with mashed potato, millet, sorghum or rice.

Nutrition Analysis per portion:

Energy:                      987 KJ

Carbohydrate:           2.8 g

Protein:                      21,3 g

Fats:                           15,4 g

Unsaturated fats:      8,5 g

Saturated fats:          4.4 g

Fibre:                          1,0 g