Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Awful Offal

Enticed by the new and untried, I ordered three pounds of kidneys from the butcher. I saw a recipe in Tony Bourdain's Les Halles cookbook for "roignons a la etc.." and decided to try it. Of course in English it would've been "Kidneys in Mustard Sauce" which doesn't sound so cool, but I was intrigued.

The call sounded conspiratorial, like a spy talking in code: "you're kidneys are in". I picked up a big hunk of a package, brought it home, unwrapped it and found several vaccum packed packages of Caravaggio colored little balls of flesh.

They taste like liver. Unless you like liver, I wouldn't mess with kidneys. Of course, it could always be the chef, and not the ingredient. But I think I treated them well enough. I browned a bunch of onions and garlic, set them aside. Dredged the organs in flour and browned then too.
Deglazed the pan with red wine, squeezed in a bit of mustard, stirred it around till there was a nice gooey pan sauce, then put everything back in the pan...

I did eat it all, some inner-50's housemom urging me on in red heels and pearls (so hot) "finish your liver, dear", but I can't say I enjoyed anything but the fact I was actually eating something new that I'd wanted to try for a while. The sauce was great over rice, the meat was okay, nice and pink in the middle of each little ball. A kidney is a cluster of about 6 or 7 little nuggets, all tied together by a strip of fat.

Maybe, I'm discovering, there's a reason you don't see Fergus Henderson clones all over the place serving nose-to-snout menus filled with kidneys, livers, pancreas, tripe, and tongue (ignore that last one, tongue is ALWAYS good.) The kidneys were 3.99 a pound. At the same butchers they had lamb shanks on sale for 4.99. I was really missing those lamb shanks as I toothed those little fists ' o kidney.

Maybe you have prepared kidneys in some delicious way, if so please let me know. I'm sure they're good for you.

I had 2 and a half pounds I had left, and though I debated tossing them out, I made a kidney
stew. With a whole bottle of red wine. I can't bring myself to eat it. My dad might. We have a date to cook kidneys this Saturday. I either have to pretend to be sick or buy some lamb shanks.


POD in France said...

I was struck with horror pondering you consuming 3 pounds of rognons! and was relieved when you got to the part about 2 and a half pounds that you didn't know what to do with! Give em to Mikey (Ed) he'll eat anything. I'm all for experimenting, but when I was served a large plate of rognons on the Ile de St Louis in Paris, I had to send 90% back untouched and wait for the cheese!

jordan winer said...

Yea, i don't really know what a kidney does, biologically, and if you know don't tell me..