Beef Kidney Recipes (aka Got Kidneys?)

I was thawing out something from the freezer labeled Beef, but it didn’t say what cut of beef it was.  I figured it must be brisket, because it was about that shape and heft.  A very large brisket, but I could cook it up for multiple meals.

Nope.  Beef kidney.  Two of them, as a matter of fact.  From a grass fed local farmer back in Connecticut (whose business name, Blue Slope, was on the package).

Mind you, I’ve had and really like lamb kidney, but those puppies were small.  This particular mammalian filtration system is LARGE.

recipe, beef, kidney, steak and kidney pie, potato, breakfast, offal, dinner, mushroom

A steak and kidney pie, prior to placing the pastry crust over the top. One of four recipes here. (The other three are gluten-free.)

Since I’m not really certain how much my readership WANTS several posts on beef kidney recipes, I decided to combine them all into one big post of a few beef kidney recipes.  Feel free to move along… I’ll post something innocuous and less offal next week!

Yes, I could make the kidney into one big recipe and eat off it for several days, but I’m rather curious about different prep methods, so, why not explore that?

Kidney, and many other organ meats, are high in nutrients, vitamins and minerals, especially if you get your kidney from a responsible farmer.  After all, the kidney is a filtration unit, and I prefer to eat something that hasn’t been filtering out pesticides and other dreck.

One thing you will have to do is clean your kidney.  There’s this very thick, hard, white connective tissue that connects the various nobs of kidney to the rest of the kidney, and that has to go.  It is too tough and obnoxious to consider eating.  Use a SHARP paring knife.  Discard.  Even your dog won’t want this!  (Well, maybe he thinks he will…)  You may also sometimes find a membrane around the outer kidney itself… discard this, too. It pulls off very easily.

The Recipes:  (Color coded labels and photo text below)

A Paleo Potato Kidney Pie
Breakfast:  Kidney and Eggs
Kidney Stewed in Wine with Mushrooms and a Cream Sauce
Steak and Kidney Pie

 

For all the recipes, after you clean your kidney of that white hard stuff, rinse thoroughly until water runs clear, and then a bit more.  I did it by pouring it from a bowl using cold running water, and pouring it through a sieve, several times.

Just as a note, my kidneys came two in a pack.  One of mine weighed 850 grams before cleaning, 700 grams post cleaning.  I didn’t try to save every last speck of kidney, so in this case my loss was 150 grams.  Prep time for this stage (not included in the times below) is 5-10 minutes.  (My scale does read in both metric and the old British system, but it is much easier to read the metric.)

PS:  If you have gout, limit your servings of kidney (and of many other organ meats).

A Paleo Potato Kidney Pie

kidney, recipe, potato, paleo, pie, Whole 30

A serving of kidney potato pie

 

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes 
Cook Time:  1 hour
Rest Time:  5 minutes
Serves:  4

A Paleo Potato Kidney Pie

Source recipe:  http://www.bawarchi.com/recipe/the-original-kidney-pie-oes hvITajagfai.html

kidney, recipe, potato, paleo, pie, Whole 30

What’s left in the pan…

  • 500 grams / 1.1 pounds of beef kidney once cleaned up, see preparation method above.
  • 2  onions, chopped
  • 2 large potatoes, bad spots removed, and optionally peeled, cut into thin rounds.  I use, as nearly always, Yukon golds.
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning.  Save a little more for sprinkling over at the end.  
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup / 120 mL of water (or broth).
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt is to taste, adjust at the end.

Pre-heat oven to 425 F / 218 C.

Take the beef kidney and clean out the white connective hard fatty stuff, discarding that part.  Chop up the remaining kidney.  (Reserve anything over the 500 grams for another recipe… yes, to follow…)

Rinse several times in water, draining through a sieve, until the water runs clear, and then once or twice more.

Line an oven-ready buttered, ghee-d,  or oiled pan with a layer of sliced potatoes.

Melt the butter or ghee in a large skillet, medium temperature.

Add the kidney, onions, salt, pepper and tomatoes and mix well.  If you have that elusive mint powder, add this at the same time.  (And report back to me!)

Add 1/2 cup of water and simmer on low heat for 30 to 35 minutes.

Line an oven proof dish that you’ve wiped down with melted butter or cooking oil, with a layer of the sliced potatoes.

Transfer the cooked kidneys and their skillet compatriots onto to this layer of potato slices, using a slotted spoon. Cover the top with the remaining potato slices.  Reserve the leftover liquid…

Using some more butter or ghee… add dabs of this around on top of the potato slices.

Add a dash more Italian seasonings and salt as you wish.  Optional!

Bake for 20 minutes or until the that visible potato layer goes golden brown.

Serve, and top with some of that leftover liquid.

Allegedly, this is the original kidney pie.  It turns out to be gluten-free, and Paleo besides, so I figured to make this. Use ghee instead of butter for that Whole 30 effect.  I don’t have mint powder, but if you do and you make this, do let me know how that turns out.

kidney, recipe, potato, paleo, pie, Whole 30

Sauce


 

Breakfast:  Kidney and Eggs

Breakfast, beef kidney, kidney, onion, egg, omelet, recipe
The omelet is folded, with onion, broccolini, Gouda, and ground pepper inside. The kidney is chopped with onion, ground pepper, ancho chili pepper, and a little salt.
Breakfast, beef kidney, kidney, onion, egg, omelet, recipe

Kidney close-up.

Prep Time:  10 minutes.
Cook Time: 20, max.  
Rest Time: Not needed. 
Serves:  1

Breakfast:  Kidney and Eggs

Source:  I was thinking Steak and Eggs… why not Kidney and Eggs?

  • 100 grams / 0.45 pounds of beef kidney once cleaned up, see preparation method above.
  • 2 ounces / 57 grams of diced onion.  Add another ounce or 25 or so grams  if you plan to have onion in your omelet
  • 1/4 cup / 60 mL beef broth, low sodium.  
  • 2 eggs
  • Whatever else you want in your omelet:  I chose the aforementioned onion, some broccolini bits, chopped fine, and Gouda cheese, about half an ounce (not measured).
  • Avocado oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ancho chili pepper powder (or another mild/medium chili powder)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Chop up the kidney finely, aim for about 1/4 inch fragments.  This will cook faster for a breakfast.  I find a scissors works better than a knife for this.

Cook the onion in a little oil in the skillet until just beginning to brown around some edges, about 10 minutes or so.  Remove any that you plan to put inside your omelet and set aside.

Add the kidney to the skillet with the onion, along with the seasonings.  Add the broth.  Stir occasionally for ten more minutes.  Remove from the skillet (minus any liquid) and set aside.

Either clean that skillet or start a fresh one – with my broccolini, I pan fried that for about five minutes, then removed the veggie to the reserved onion ounce from earlier.

Cook your omelet as you normally do, adding your ingredients for the omelet as you normally would.  Add any seasoning — I only added ground pepper.

Fold the omelet over, and add the kidney/onion mixture to the other half of the skillet, to re-heat.

When the omelet is ready, plate all and serve.

This recipe is also Paleo and Whole 30 (if one omits the cheese).


Kidney Stewed in Wine with Mushrooms and Cream Sauce

 

Prep Time: 2 hours to soak, about 10 minutes actual activity, and another 5 or 10 at the end.
Cook Time:  30-40 minutes
Rest Time: Not required
Serves:  2 or 3.

Kidney Stewed in Wine with Mushrooms and a Cream Sauce

Source Recipe:  The Good Cook: Variety Meats (Time-Life Books, 1982).

Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos.  I took a couple but they were worse photos than usual.  Well, let’s face it, kidneys aren’t exactly the most photogenic organs on the planet!

  • 1/2 pound / 225 grams prepared beef kidney (see top of post), in 1/2 inch chunks or slices.  Actually it weighed a bit more… 
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sliced button or crimini mushrooms (I used button)
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1/2 cup / 120 mL dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup / 80 mL beef stock or low sodium packaged broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup / 60 mL heavy cream

_Pre-heat the oven to 350 F / 177 C.

Melt butter in a skillet, and pan fry the kidney pieces for a minute or so, on medium high heat.

Add mushrooms, salt and pepper.

Pan fry briefly, add brandy, allow to cook another minute (you can flambé it here, but I omitted that part).

Add the wine.  Once it comes to a boil, add the stock/broth.

Pop everything into a small casserole dish, cover, and place in oven.

Bake 30-40 minutes.

When the kidneys are ready, gently boil the cream in a small pan, pouring off the the juice from the kidneys and add to the cream.    Stir to prevent scalding, cooking quickly over high heat until the sauce thickens.

At that point, pour this mixture back over the kidneys, and serve.   I chose to serve with roasted cauliflower.

 


Steak and Kidney Pie

recipe, beef kidney, kidney, steak and kidney pie

Steak and Kidney pie, with Puff Pastry atop. Could have removed from oven about three minutes sooner. This was 30 minutes in my oven.  Do check at 25.

Steak and Kidney Pie – contains gluten

Recipe Sources:  Yes, from YouTube.  I took notes from both, and did what I decided I needed to do.  But I really wanted something akin to a traditional British steak and kidney pie, and ended up sourcing more from the first of these videos (both videos are indeed from cooks who are British).  Interestingly, the two books I had that discussed offal as their primary focus – neither gave me a Steak and Kidney Pie recipe, which I would have thought could have been definitive!

If you want crust under as well as over your pie, buy two pastry puffs.  Trying to limit my wheat here, I opted just for the over-cover here.  It was more than fine this way!

Prep Time: 
Cook Time:
Rest Time:
Serves:

  • 1.25 pounds / 5.67 grams stewing beef, in 1/2 inch (around 12.5 mm) chunks more or less.  (no bones.)  Or thereabouts in weight.
  • 2 tablespoons butter (3 if you are stuck with the packaged beef stock). Divided.
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard.
  • 200 grams / 0.44 pounds prepared kidney (see above), about 1/2 inch chunks.
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped.
  • 2 stalks celery, chunked.
  • 1 carrot, chunked.  (You can use more, or none, but this is what I had.)
  • 300 mL / 1.25 cups or so of ale.  (For veracity, find a British ale, or even a Guinness.  This would have meant a 40 minute drive for me, just one direction; so I opted for the 15 minute drive… and settled for a local ale.  Besides, I had no way of knowing until I made the journey if they had a British brew or not.  I had quite the adventure finding a Spanish riojo wine there once…)
  • 2.5 cups / 600 mL meat stock/bone broth.  In a pinch, buy low sodium beef stock.  If you do, use the 3 tablespoons of butter!  (This is what I had to do.)
  • 2 -3 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce.  
  • A little oil for the pie proper.  
  • Some flour for rolling the puff pastry.
  • 14 ounces / 397 grams puff pastry.  You won’t use all of it, but this is the size it appears to be sold in, hereabouts.  But you may well use most.  (EDIT:  I discovered that some brands are sold as two sheets, 17.3 ounces/490 grams total, but the one sheet from Dufour was fine.)
  • 1 beaten egg

Preheat your oven to 325 F / 163 C.

Use a LARGE skillet, one that is also oven-safe.  Sauté the onion in about a teaspoon of that butter for about 15 minutes in a skillet, until translucent.  Do not go to a browning stage.  Remove from the skillet.

Brown your stewing meat, in divided batches so everything browns effectively.  Turn occasionally so all sides are browned.

Add in the kidney, all of any stewing meat that you’d already browned and set aside, and the onion again.   Add the mustard powder, and the ale.  AND the beef stock/bone broth.  Toss in the Worcestershire sauce, too.  Bring the mixture up to a boil.

Cover the skillet and place in the 325 F oven for two or two and a half hours (or transfer to some oven-safe pan you can cook at that temperature…)

Remove from oven, and if the meat seems too watery, you can simmer it down further on your cooktop at medium heat, for say 20 minutes, uncovered.  Watch to verify.

Allow to cool, and put in fridge until the fat solidifies on the dish (say about 4 hours).  Or, overnight.

Remove most of the fat.  You can leave some for flavor.

Preheat oven to 450 F / 232 C.

Take your puff pastry (typically it is sold frozen, and you need to let it thaw for at least 30 minutes in the fridge, up to two hours) and roll it out, on a clean flat surface you’ve dusted with flour, using a rolling pin or whatever works as a substitute.  Using your fingers, pinch any “breaks” together and smooth them as much as possible  The flour keeps things from sticking to that smooth, flat surface.  Anyhow, your pastry will expand… roll it to your desired thickness.

Cut a circle in the pastry you’ve rolled out, around the dimensions of your pie pan… the upper part.

Put the meat and onion mixture into your large pie pan, and let rest for 30 minutes to approximate room temperature.

I forgot to do this, but oil or butter the exposed upper edge of your pie pan, so the pastry doesn’t burn and adhere to that area.

Using a LARGE spatula and careful finger action, lift the pastry circle up, and lay it gently over the contents of the pie pan.  If done correctly, it should layer over the entire top and have edges hanging out a little.  Remove any excess that extends beyond the pan, but anything on top of the pan’s edge is fine.

Crimp down, using either the tines of a fork or your fingers.  Hey, I’m a newbie at puff pastry, I used my fingers.

Bake for 25 minutes at 450 F / 232 C.    Check for a good browning but not blackening of the pastry.   Adjust cooking time if necessary.

recipe, steak and kidney pie, beef kidney

I don’t own a rolling pin. This is my very first time ever working with puff pastry, and I had no idea what to expect with it. I may be savory more than sweet, but this stuff is fun! Pinch and smooth the creases together so they don’t break in the oven.

recipe, steak and kidney pie, puff pastry, beef kidney

I didn’t really succeed in getting that one bit at about 2:45 clock-wise on the pic to meld together. It ended up not mattering. Cut a layer that will cover your pie, gently pick it up (a large spatula will help), and, well, cover your pie.

Scott Rea had fun using some of the extra puff pastry to cut cow shapes into his dough.  I dragged out Mom’s old Christmas decorations, couldn’t find the star, but decided to use the tree for the same purpose.  He placed his cut outs on the pie, and I did the same.  Mine are not visible in my photos… A bit of fun, for no real outcome.  Okay.

recipe, puff pastry, steak and kidney pie, kidney

My first serving. I admit: I cut myself a second as soon as that was downed. GOOD is not even the word.

Verdict:  Wonderful, considering I’d never ever worked with puff pastry before.  I don’t even think Mom did puff pastry, and she baked more than I ever considered to think about.   The Brits invented a great dish in this Steak and Kidney Pie!  The kidney and all the other ingredients play off each other very well.

I’m game to do this again!!


 

Thoughts on Beef (or Veal) Kidney:

There’s a texture reminiscent of liver here, but still different enough that I enjoy kidney far more than I appreciate liver.  (Yes, there’s a place for liver, too, but I have to work harder on the texture…)

It is a highly nutritious food source, especially if you consider your sources of meat.  And, since I am an omnivore, it is probably for the best that I consider eating more than just the “standard” cuts of animals.

beef, Kidney, recipe, steak and kidney pie, paleo potato kidney pie, kidney breakfast, Kidney and mushroom

These recipes are hanging out at Fiesta Friday, with this week’s co-hosts:
Jenny @ Apply To Face Blog and Deb @ Pantry Portfolio

And are also hanging out at What’s for Dinner, Sunday Link Up.

,,,

 

 

 

 

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About goatsandgreens

The foodie me: Low/no gluten, low sugars, lots of ethnic variety of foods. Seafood, offal, veggies. Farmers' markets. Cooking from scratch, and largely local. The "future" me: I've now moved to my new home in rural western Massachusetts. I am raising chickens (for meat and for eggs) and planning for guinea fowl, Shetland sheep, and probably goats and/or alpaca. Possibly feeder pigs. Raising veggies and going solar.
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10 Responses to Beef Kidney Recipes (aka Got Kidneys?)

  1. Wow, Diann, that’s one long cooking marathon. I do that sometimes when I’m motivated and energized, then look at the leftovers and wonder what’s gotten into me 😄 I’m not sure I’ve had kidney, but I’ve had liver. It looks like liver to me, does it taste like it, too?

    • There is a slight textural and taste similarity to liver, but not entirely. I like it better than liver, if that counts for anything.
      It did take a while to do all this, and I don’t plan to do such a cooking marathon again at least for another year. I made the first two items a day apart, and got back to the rest of the kidney about 2 days after that. The steak and kidney pie took me two days, though it did not need to (but I needed to cook the meat).

  2. I adore lamb kidneys but can’t get anyone else to even try them. I forever endeared my father by cooking lamb kidney brochettes to him one time, recipe from Gourmet magazine.

    • Hmmm, lamb kidney brochettes. I will have to try, as I still have the lamb kidneys from the lamb share this past March. May not be immediate, but I’m glad for the idea!

  3. Wow-I have never seen in Britain big beef kidneys on sale but I’m sure you can from a quality butcher.I love that you have used them in completely different recipes. As a child I ate them in pies and stews but not so much as an adult. I must admit actually handling them has always been a bit daunting so your instructions are great! Thankyou for sharing at #FiestaFriday

    • Thanks. It was hard hunting down some good recipes for that Steak and Kidney Pie, a very British food, and I was surprised that even my older “variety meats” cookbook didn’t have a recipe for that. PS, I love Fiesta Friday! Appreciate your, um, appreciation!

  4. chef mimi says:

    I just realized I’ve never had kidneys. Liver – yes. But not hearts or kidneys. Thymus, brains – yes. I need to try kidneys!

    • Mimi, they are a bit liver-like but actually somewhere a cross between muscle meat and liver in taste. You can definitely cook them longer than liver, and have them still taste good.

  5. Laura says:

    Really interesting post – as I’ve just decided after being veggie for two years to bring offal meat back into my diet – as nutritionally it’s so good for us. I think I’m going to try your stew recipe – but perhaps with liver in place of beef! Watch this space!

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