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.
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:
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!