Kidneys mountain style January 5, 2010Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Innards, Wolfe recipe.
(Apologies for the quality of the photos in this entry – they were taken with a mobile phone long before I’d thought up the idea for this blog!)
I wanted to try cooking kidneys because as far as I knew, I’d never eaten them before. I thought that Nero Wolfe might be able to teach me a thing or two about cooking kidneys, and the recipe for kidneys mountain style sounded fairly simple. I bought the kidneys from my butcher, who generally keeps a small stock of kidneys and other innards. I cooked them up on the same day.
First, I soaked the kidneys in cold water (I know some advise to soak in milk, but this recipe said to use water and for once I was trying to follow the recipe):
There was some discolouration from where the plastic they were wrapped in had pressed down on them – I removed those portions and discarded them.
I then cut the kidneys lengthwise, and removed the fibrous core from the centre. It’s fair to say that the first kidneys came out more “mangled” than “cut in half” but I did get better as I went along!
Next, I added some butter to a saucepan, then put in chopped garlic, shallots and carrot, and cooked them a bit. The recipe called for beef broth which I didn’t have, so I substituted some lamb broth instead. I added lamb broth, red wine and a small amount of flour to the saucepan, to thicken it slightly. After this boiled, I added parsley, thyme and salt and pepper, and then the kidneys. Wow, I almost followed the recipe exactly!
To accompany the kidneys, I made up Fritz’s recipe for carameled dumplings – as this is how Archie and Nero Wolfe enjoy their kidneys in Prisoner’s Base. However, I must confess I cheated a little. I followed the recipe in making the dumplings (flour, baking poweder, salt, egg, milk, parsley – although I cooked my dumplings in water, rather than beef bouillon as the recipe directed) but skipped the caramel sauce. I decided instead to add the dumplings right into the kidney stew mix when serving. I was, and remain, skeptical about using the caramel sauce – but I should really try it one day and I’m sure I’ll be amazed.
The dumplings enlarged more than I was expecting as they were cooking!
When they were cooked, I added them into the kidney stew mixture, and served it.
So: the verdict. The stew was very nice, quite rich, and a nice combination of vegetables and flavours. The dumplings were great, and it really made a difference having the parsley in the dumplings – it helped cut through some of the richness. As for the kidneys themselves – I think I was expecting more! They were nice enough and certainly tasted fine in this dish – but apart from their texture they were not really differentiated from the rest of the vegetables in the stew. The stew was very filling and we definitely had more than enough food!
All in all, this was a nice, comforting meal and I feel more confident in preparing kidneys again – although next time I will have to be brave and try them with dumplings with caramel sauce!