Lamb Kidneys

The butchering season is upon us here in New England, and I’ve been out a lot with my farm-butcher mentor Chet and his son Nick. Yesterday we slaughtered 9 lambs and one beef, and I came home with a bucket overflowing with gleaned treats. From the lambs: liver, heart, kidneys, and nearly all the caul fat.  From the one beef we butchered, a gorgeous chocolate-brown Devon, I had time to harvest one fat cheek.

Kidneys are a favorite, and I wanted to try roasting the little nuggets encased in their own flare fat, as Jane Grigson suggests for pork liver. Which, essentially, is confit’d lamb kidneys! So, minimal work –just a good rinse in cold water, into a roasting pan, and into a moderately hot oven, which I guesstimated at 400°F.

Roasting lamb kidneys encased in their fine fat

Roasting lamb kidneys encased in their fine fat

In the photo above, there are a half-dozen kidneys still enrobed in their fat jackets on the left, and on the right are some of the fat jackets which I’ve gently peeled off the kidneys, and all of it is nearly submerged in the fat which rendered out. This rendered fat is equivalent to what in pork is called leaf lard, and it has a similarly fine character, though with a faint but distinct fragrance of lamb. I’m hoping to do some neat stuff with this rendered lamb lard once I’ve strained it.

So last night’s dinner (oh I was tired) was this:

Confit kidneys, boiled, parslied & buttered aspargagus potatoes, and a carrot salad.

Confit kidneys, boiled, parslied & buttered asparagus potatoes, and a carrot salad.

The carrot salad was especially delicious: shredded carrot tossed with dried cherries, crushed pistachios, toasted cumin seed, fresh-squeezed juice of half a Valencia orange, a bit of Dijon mustard, and a bit of Greek honey, salt, and pepper. And parsley. Bright and sweet and sharp, complementing the dense richness of the confit’d kidneys.

And then a favorite Danish breakfast, very hearty as I’m off to butcher pigs shortly: biksemad, essentially the same as a hash here in the states, I think. I used sliced leftover kidneys, chopped red onion, leftover boiled potatoes, chopped, and a big handful of chopped parsley. It would have been nice with a fried egg on top, but I’m hurrying, so just a bright squeeze of ketchup, a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce, and a few pickled baby beets. Otherwise known as YUM!

Confit kidney hash, or as we Danes call it: Biksemad. With pickled baby beets :-)

Confit kidney hash, or as we Danes call it: Biksemad. With pickled baby beets 🙂

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About mosaica

Ugly & fabulous, warm & obsessive, brilliant & dorkmeisterish: striving to be a warrior in her little context.
This entry was posted in kidneys, lamb, nose-to-tail, offal, recipe, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Lamb Kidneys

  1. MrBelm says:

    Make sure you try stuffed lamb hearts, Fergus Henderson’s recipe (http://blog.belm.com/2011/04/29/stuffed-lambs-hearts/) is simple and tasty.

    • mosaica says:

      I was just thinking of stuffed heart this afternoon (I got two nice pig’s hearts this morning), and my mom keeps telling me how she loved her mom’s version. Thanks 🙂

  2. birthemor says:

    So beautiful and tempting, I must try to make this very soon. The pictures are also very good, you should do the photo work for cookbooks. Thanks for sharing with me, mor

  3. This looks delicious. I just took a lamb butchery class and have two kidneys wrapped in their fat and one on it’s own. I at the one on it’s own to taste the flavor profile. The two wrapped in fat will go in the oven confit style. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • mosaica says:

      Thank you George! Honest, kidneys are my current obsession in the kitchen, and I keep trying new ways to cook & eat them. My favorite right now is from Jane Grigson’s book Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery: rognons de pork au vin blanc (kidneys in white wine sauce). So seriously good. I know it would be good with any kidney; Hannibal had his with a glass of Chablis, I have mine in Chablis 🙂

  4. vtbee says:

    it’s been such a long time since i enjoyed the smooth delicacy of kidneys! and thank you for the visual delights.
    salivating, b

    • mosaica says:

      Oh, right, it was YOU! I had this bonanza of kidneys, and I was trying to recall with whom I had recently been raving about their deliciousness, and it was you. Next harvest, I’ll invite you for yummy lunch 🙂

  5. Wesam Masoud says:

    Stumbled upon your blog when researching Beef cheek. Stayed for the truly excellent honest food you’ve been creating and recording for the blog, and I’m looking forward to more adventures in charcuterie!

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