16 Apr2012

Awfully Offaly… Is that good or bad? That’s entirely up to you… I was never fond of kidneys, nor liver or gizzards… but with this blog I have made it a point to try a lot more stuff, and to try and set preconceived biases aside. Some spectacular looking young lamb’s kidneys from S&L Fine Foods was the starting point. The kidneys LOOKED appealing… clean, a healthy looking deep red/burgundy, no overpowering smell and without any fat or muck surrounding each smooth and characteristically kidney shaped kidney. :) If you are curious about the origins of the word kidney, click here, and yes, the kidney apparently came before the kidney bean, namewise…

A kidney’s main function is to filter or clean waste products from an animal’s blood… and discards those unwanted compounds/chemicals/evil stuff through the urine. Eeew is right. But then again we eat bull’s balls and other appendages, intestines (hello, what goes through that??), marrow, etc., so this shouldn’t be an issue AT ALL. Sometimes kidneys can smell funky, but these, thankfully did not. We just rinsed them under cool water…

…sliced them in half and remove this hard (and what looked like a) chewy core and they were ready to cook. If they still have a thin film of (skin?) on them you need to remove that as well.

I used a copper fish pan for good heat conduction/distribution over medium high heat, and added several tablespoons of butter… A few seconds later, added the kidney halves (from 4 kidneys) and sauteed for a minute or two, flipping to “color” the kidneys all over. This is a delicate meat, so be careful not to overcook, in fact, err on undercooking if possible. Next, I added a couple of teaspoons of dijon mustard, a tablespoon or more of red wine vinegar, about a teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves and seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper. I added a few tablespoons of good cream towards the end of cooking, stirred to mix it all up, and took the kidneys off the flames. While, as with Footloose, the concept of a “rare” kidney can be a bit frightening personally, the kidneys are best enjoyed with the centers still pink… so they remain tender at the core. I tasted one of these while still in the kitchen, and while I still had the involuntary reaction to the flavor of the kidney, it wasn’t bad. The sauce was really quite nice, and meant to both cover the “worst” attributes of a kidney and “enhance” the unique flavor of the kidneys. The texture was quite tender, not rubbery at all. The sauce didn’t overpower, but nor was it overpowered. We had at least one guest for dinner who was a kidney fan, and he wolfed them down with great gusto. Others, like myself, had just one piece, and while they finished the kidney, they weren’t instant converts. :)

 

COMMENTS:

  1. proteinshake says:

    Looks delish !!! Maybe if you soaked them in milk (like I am sure you have done with some other offal ), it would cut the strong taste and make them milder for those that are sqeamish.

    Apr 16, 2012 | 5:28 am

     
  2. josephine says:

    Now you really are getting quite kinky MM. I will eat almost anything, I’ve taught myself in old age to like sea urchins, the other day I really enjoyed a dish of sweetbreads
    ( pancreas, anyone?) but kidneys, naaahh, despite trying, and living with a husband who likes them, hence proximity. But then again maybe I’ve never had them in the right place, dish or context. Footloose, have you ever eaten liver in Venice?

    Apr 16, 2012 | 6:29 am

     
  3. Footloose says:

    The English simply fry them for breakfast and its whiff of strong chèvre seems to be regarded as a feature. Never eaten them that way though. I prefer them instead in steak and kidney pie.

    No, Josephine. Can’t take any animal tissue just slightly cooked. That’s how I end up with unchewable liver.

    Apr 16, 2012 | 7:10 am

     
  4. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Looks offaly delicious!!! Sorry, couldn’t help it ;-)

    Apr 16, 2012 | 7:28 am

     
  5. millet says:

    never had these before..am a bit icky about kidneys. before i saw the title, i thought i was seeing giant cashew nuts!

    Artisan Chocolatier, hahaha…looks like you’re having some pun!

    Apr 16, 2012 | 8:35 am

     
  6. Debbie says:

    MM, just curious, when we cook pork kidneys, we remove not only the chewy core but also the whitish portion inside, leaving just the outer part of the kidney.

    Apr 16, 2012 | 8:40 am

     
  7. millet says:

    liver, yes. kidneys, no. but am thinking, maybe i could do your recipe with cleaned boiled tripe, similar to tripes a la mode.

    Apr 16, 2012 | 8:42 am

     
  8. Betchay says:

    Like Millet, I also thought they were giant cashew nuts! I dont think I can eat kidneys but the sauce looks good!

    Apr 16, 2012 | 1:46 pm

     
  9. Footloose says:

    There is a Tagalog pork kidney soup called bachoy that also calls for liver and clotted blood. All visible collector tracts are carefully removed from the kidneys and the ginger sauteed with garlic plus the chopped green onions and sprig of cilantro on top all tend to mitigate the lingering barnyard flavor.

    Apr 16, 2012 | 6:22 pm

     
  10. Marketman says:

    Footloose, you are reading my mind… post on Visayan batchoy coming up next week or so… it too, has liver, gizzards, etc. :)

    Apr 16, 2012 | 7:03 pm

     
  11. Mary Lee says:

    Ewww. Sorry, but I just can’t handle cooking the nether parts of an animal. I do love to eat liver and do so often in restaurants, but I still don’t like to handle it at home. Looks too much like an episode of Greys’ Anatomy. Only time I ever dealt with kidneys was when I cooked especially for V & D. How’d you get rid of the smell?

    Apr 16, 2012 | 9:40 pm

     
  12. natie says:

    Why does Hannibal Lecter come to mind?? ALthough I do love liver, dishes with cooked blood and sweetbreads…Haven’t tried Kidney…

    Apr 17, 2012 | 3:30 am

     
  13. PITS, MANILA says:

    Not really fond of the parts posted, but we do use them for pasta sauce (boiled, chopped) and for kilawin as well.

    Apr 17, 2012 | 7:51 am

     
  14. Risa says:

    MM, Footloose, that is the batchoy I know. Like dinuguan without the dugo plus ginger. I miss that!

    Apr 17, 2012 | 1:31 pm

     
  15. Footloose says:

    @Risa, for the squeamish and the weak of heart, there is a similar beef picadillo soup with diced potatoes that is cooked the same way as follows:

    For Tagalog bachoy, boil coarsely minced beef or pork until tender. Clean kidneys by halving them, then yanking out the visible tracts carefully. Boil water with a flattened piece of ginger and use this to blanch the kidney and liver pieces, drain. Add this and the tenderized meat in the boiling liquid to the sautéed garlic, ginger and onions. Add clotted blood cubes, if desired. Garnish with chopped green onions and a sprig of cilantro. Season with black pepper. In Bulacan they add misua. I don’t because the misua I get here is absolutely salty.

    Apr 17, 2012 | 11:26 pm

     
  16. jenalyn says:

    here in UK, we usually cook lamb kidneys with redwine, chestnut mushrooms and chipolatas. It’s really good!

    Dec 16, 2013 | 12:49 am

     
 

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