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Venison Heart Ceviche – Apache de Corazón de Venado

venison heart ceviche

Warning: Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.

This recipe was inspired by the Mexican dish apache, which is basically raw beef ceviche, or tartare. 

I used venison heart in mine though which is a delicious lean meat that works wonderfully in this preparation. The acid of the lime juice works to “cook” the meat, denaturing the proteins and causing them to change colour and become opaque. This isn’t true cooking though; the finished product is still raw in essence. 

There is some risk to eating raw food. I happily take that risk, but you may want to think twice about serving it to people who are higher at risk for food related illnesses. To maximize safety, you could always put the heart in the deep freeze for several days before eating it. This helps kill off any potential nasties. 

Serve the apache on tostadas, in tacos, or in lettuce wraps. Don’t forget the Mexican hot sauce! 

  • Prep Time20 min
  • Ready in2-12 Hrs
  • Yield4 servings
  • Serving Size1 large tostada


  • 1/2 venison heart
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) fresh lime juice (about 4 limes)
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 white or red onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 canned chipotles + 1 teaspoon (5ml) adobo sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Radishes (more than one variety if possible) for garnish
  • 1/4 cup (4g) fresh cilantro for garnish 
  • 4-8 tostadas or tacos



Trim and clean the heart by removing all visible veins, ventricles, arteries, fat, and tough bits until you end up with solid meat. 

Cut the heart in half and save one of the halves for future use. 

Slice the heart very thinly into flat strips.

Turn the strips over and slice lengthwise into ribbons. 

Stack the ribbons and cut them into tiny cubes. Scrape them all up into a pile and run the knife through it a few times, chopping everything up. 


Transfer the chopped heart to a bowl and pour in the lime juice. Mix well, cover, then put into the fridge for 2-12 hours. Try to aim towards a longer time. 

Halfway through its marinating time, give it a toss to redistribute the juices. 

The acid will, in essence, cook the meat, much like in a ceviche. 


Take the heart out of the fridge, give it another mix and let it come to room temperature. 

Add the tomato, onion, and garlic to the heart. 

Mince the chipotle peppers (de-seed if you want it less spicy) and add them and a teaspoon of the adobo sauce to the heart. 

Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well, then give it a taste. Add more salt or chipotles if necessary to achieve the flavour and spice level you want. 


To serve, pile onto tacos or tostadas and garnish with radishes and fresh cilantro. Serve with hot sauce. Enjoy!

venison heart ceviche

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