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Old 07-19-2006, 02:53 PM   #1
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Lamb's kidneys

Over at the "Spanish rice and what?" thread posted by DaCook in the General Cooking Questions forum, Steve A joked about whether I could cook him a plate of Riñones al Jerez. Not my favourite kidney dish but I started looking around on DC for offal or organ meat threads. And I can see they're not universally popular, to say the least! Odd because it would be hard to imagine Spanish or French cuisine without offal. And I can hardly bear to think of the uproar in Italy if offal was banished from menus. In Greece there would be a revolt.

So here's a kidney recipe for Steve A - not in sherry, but a version of a recipe in a book by Antonio Carluccio. He uses calve's kidneys but it's easier to find lamb's kidneys in the UK, for example. Plus I prefer the slight herbiness of the vermouth to the white wine Carluccio recommends. In addition, I personally leave out the parsley that Carluccio uses as I find the texture not quite right in this recipe.

In honour of Steve A, RDG, Urmaniac, the new honorary Italian lulu and any other members from Italy I haven't yet come across, here we have

Lamb's kidneys with garlic and parsley

Enough lamb's kidneys for you and your fellow diners - membrane and core removed. Slice finely into halves or quarters depending on the size.
Flour
Butter
Garlic - amount to your taste, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
White vermouth - dry Martini or Noilly Prat (which I prefer) - quarter of a glass per two people
Chopped parsley - one tablespoon per two people

Dust the kidneys in the flour and fry in the butter for five minutes or so, turning the pieces at frequent intervals. Add the garlic and black pepper and fry very briefly before adding the vermouth. Stir vigorously to scrape up the tasty bits on the bottom of the pan and leave to reduce for a minute or so depending on how much vermouth you added. And that's it. If you're using the parsley, add it just before serving.

I have to be honest at this point and say I'm not a huge kidney fan but I do like this. Don't ask me why this and not kidneys in sherry. In this recipe, the garlic is pungent from being fried so briefly, the kidneys don't have any suspicious niff to them (a smell some people seem alarmed by) and the texture is absolutely perfect.

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Old 07-19-2006, 03:58 PM   #2
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Puss, we like kidneys but never, ever see them for sale in the US.

Would love to find lamb kidneys, but that is not an option.

When we get to England, which we do every year or so, do enjoy them.

They do taste like a mild liver, at least to us.

There is a place in London that at 5 AM we can get a full English breakfast but with a bit of liver and kidney, yum.

Oh yes, and a pint.

Wish we could get the stuff here, but no go.
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Old 07-19-2006, 04:17 PM   #3
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So what happens to all these odd bits and bobs? Do they get used in pet food?

I remember a few years ago coming across some Americans in the big food market on the Ramblas called La Boquería. They were amazed at all the bits of offal and tripe on sale and in particular some of the more gruesome looking items. The thing that most shocked them, however, were all the chicken's feet. Their comment was how poor the people of Barcelona must be to eat all these things.
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Old 07-19-2006, 04:35 PM   #4
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I, too, fondly remember my mom cooking both lamb & beef kidneys for us - & I liked both, even as a child. And while I've never developed a taste for calves liver, I love pork liver - particularly done Italian style with a savory stuffing.

When I lived on Long Island, NY, kidneys & even pork liver were easily found in several of the local supermarkets. Since moving to somewhat rural Virginia 12 years ago, I have yet to see either one. Beef/calves liver, chitterlings, beef tripe, pig trotters - those are in abundance, but anything else - forget it.
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Old 07-19-2006, 05:23 PM   #5
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Got to admit that I don't like kidneys, but I love calves liver - and where would the traditional Scottish haggis be without liver and lights?!!!
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Old 07-19-2006, 05:28 PM   #6
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OK, Izzy, need another English lesson - what exactly are "lights"?
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Old 07-19-2006, 06:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snoop Puss
So what happens to all these odd bits and bobs? Do they get used in pet food?

I remember a few years ago coming across some Americans in the big food market on the Ramblas called La Boquería. They were amazed at all the bits of offal and tripe on sale and in particular some of the more gruesome looking items. The thing that most shocked them, however, were all the chicken's feet. Their comment was how poor the people of Barcelona must be to eat all these things.
Snoop, I suspect a lot of them go into hot dogs, balogna, and other lunchmeats.
I have a friend, a gourmet cook, and wealthy, actually, who lives close to Fall River, Mass. He buys chicken's feet at a Portugese grocery store to add to his chicken stock...says they make a great stock.

You know the old saying about being like a packing house...you don't throw away anthing but the oink.
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Old 07-25-2006, 05:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mudbug
OK, Izzy, need another English lesson - what exactly are "lights"?
LUNGS!!!!!!!!
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Old 07-25-2006, 07:28 AM   #9
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I lived in Andalucia for four years. Al Jerez was the method of preparation in that region. I also lived in Scotland for five years, and yes, I still love haggis.

As for those wondering where you can get kidneys, your best bet is a real butcher. However, it's not likely they're actually going to have them on hand from cutting meat since most places buy primals (large portions) and then cut them to the pieces you buy for home. They might order them for you though.

Barring that, check your grocery store. I occasionally see 'bits and pieces' in my display case. However, since I'm in the south and a very rural area, it isn't all that uncommon and things haven't progressed that far. (A bitter edged sword, that!)

Ciao,
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Old 08-06-2006, 09:27 PM   #10
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We had a whole spit lamb last Christmas, Shane ate the kidneys and loved them but I have never cooked them although they and other variety meats are easily available.
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