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A few organ eating questions, and how to cook kidneys

by (1053) Updated April 20, 2012 at 7:06 PM Created June 07, 2011 at 7:55 PM

I just found a source near my house for grassfed beef by the half, quarter, or eighth of a cow for between $5 and $8 per pound, and they'll ship it to me! BanderasGrassland They'll throw in organ meats for $3/lb. I'm looking at going in on a half cow with a friend of mine, and I want to start eatin some organs.

I'm new to this, having been raised by a mother who drilled into our heads that those were the "gross" parts of the animals that we don't eat. So for you organ eaters out there, a couple of questions:

I can't find any recipes for kidney except to make it into a stew. Is that all that can be done with it?

What is it like in terms of flavor and texture?

Is this something I could ever convince my wife to eat?

Is Bandera's Grassland a good price? or are there better places to buy from that'll ship to me?

Thanks for any help yall can offer!

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15261 · June 07, 2011 at 9:28 PM

Of all of the offal, kidneys are definitely not at the top of my list. They have a firm, almost crunchy texture, and fairly mild flavor. The problem is the smell, basically they smell somewhat of urine. Most preparations seek to eliminate this somehow, by soaking or simmering, but you never get rid of it entirely. It isn't really that awful, but comes as somewhat of a surprise the first time, and if you stew them in your kitchen, you'll get that smell there too. A good option is to use calf's (veal) kidneys, which are just more tender and less offal-y, but it doesn't sound like that is what you're buying.

This is probably why many recipes just bury them in a stew or casserole, or grind them up and mix them with other meats.

This doesn't make them inedible or not worth getting, but just so you're ready :-). For example a French bistro near me has veal kidneys a few times per week, and they prepare them well and cook them with a good port wine sauce, and the portions are very generous. I have no problem tucking into a plate of 15 or 20 of the little buggers and wash it down with a good amount of red wine.

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4310 · April 20, 2012 at 5:38 PM

I haven't had beef kidneys, but this is what I do for lamb kidneys:

Trim out any white, veiny stuff, then cut about 1/4-1/3 lb kidney (freeze the rest for another time) into a small dice. This is most easily achieved by using partially thawed kidney. (Less slimy.) Soak in a lemon juice/water mix (I do about 1:3 lemon juice to water) for a few hours; then drain and rinse.

I add the soaked kidneys to lamb or pork sausage and use it for dirty rice (either white rice a la Perfect Health Diet or cauliflower "rice" if you're strict paleo). I usually do all this with garlic, onion, fat, smoked paprika, and some Cajun-style seasonings. If you're using rice you can cook it in bone broth or water... If you use cauliflower don't add liquid. It has hidden the flavor and texture pretty well for me.

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10 · April 20, 2012 at 9:22 AM

You can take the richness of flavour out by soaking them in salty water and make sure you trim the white bits off as well.

One way my father taught me to cook them which I prefer is to slice them quite thinly, i would say about 5-8mm thick. Sauté some onion and a little crushed garlic as well and once the onion has gone clear add the kidneys. Once the kidneys are cooked add a generous squeeze of lemon juice and remove from heat.

It's so simple! It's one of my favorite dishes.

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1771 · June 07, 2011 at 8:42 PM

This is a traditional Mallorcan dish which is delicious: http://www.welcome-2-mallorca.com/frito-mallorquin.html . I had it on holiday recently and it is good. In Mallorca, they use all offal including lungs, heart & kidneys, so instead of using liver as this recipe suggests, you could use kidneys.

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2741 · June 07, 2011 at 8:25 PM

$5 a pound is steep!!! We're getting a quarter cow for $1.50/lb and the farmer is throwing in extra organs and bones from other cows he's sold to people who didn't want them. Not sure about prices in your area, but you should shop around a bit.

Have some kidney in my freezer, haven't tried it yet, but we do liver once a week. Soak in lemon juice or tomato juice to help with flavor, and mix in with ground beef and LOTS of spices for meatloaf, tacos, sloppy joes, chili, etc. I'm sure kidneys could be prepared in the same manner.

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0 · April 20, 2012 at 7:06 PM

Chop them up, boil them, then wrap in bacon and broil, serve as appies.

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3608 · April 20, 2012 at 6:43 PM

Sausages? Ground up?

I get grass fed ground heart/kidney/tongue from Novy Ranches (located in Simi Valley of Los Angeles) and I find it more juicy than normal grass-fed ground beef. Even after 10-12 minutes of cooking it was running juicy in the middle. Very, very soft, and not tough. Tasted just like a burger too; although I did add a bunch of spices.

I guess I'm not sure what the flavor profiles are when separated?

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