Thursday, 17 December 2009

Devilled Kidneys

A good butchers is something that should be treasured. I have tested many near to where I live and whether something as trivial as a miserable butcher or as dangerous as 'off' chicken thighs, once bitten, twice shy. No wonder so many people I know favour the plastic packaged meat from the supermarket. I look forward to my visits to Yeates' butchers. I'm always greeted warmly with a bit of banter and the general chit-chat I've come to enjoy. If I don't know what something is, they'll explain it to me, nicely. In another butchers I once asked what a jacob's ladder was, I was looked at like I'd pissed on the butchers dog. Feeling like you've wandered into an elitist club with no invitation is not how a decent butchers should make you feel. I know people that want to frequent a butcher but feel too intimidated to part with their tradition of dropping packets of sausages into the trolley, simply reading the labels and not having to interact with anyone. Which is a shame .

I'd been working late the night before and after getting myself up and sorted it was nearly eleven. Too late for breakfast I thought, so I dropped round to see the old boys at my butchers. As I wandered in three of them were lifting piece of cow that was equivalent in size to a Ford Cortina. I'd come a little late for what I wanted but they still had one lamb left to do and I was lucky enough to get that last lambs two Kidneys. It was only me eating and so would suffice for a lazy lunch. £1 - Bargain. After a little chat and a cheerio I sauntered back to the flat picking up some fresh bread along the way. I love all things spicy and wanted to really give these kidneys a kick. The old English, traditional way can be a little too tame for some chili aficionados, resembling less of a devilled kidney and more of an ASBO kidney. It depends how much cayenne you are willing to use. I decided to do each kidney different. One in the more traditional way and the other with smoked paprika, dijon and chili giving it more of a spicy Mexican aura about it.

Devilled kidneys

3tsp plain flour
2tsp cayenne pepper,
1tsp english mustard powder,
good glug of worcester sauce,
a splash of water or stock,
salt and pepper,
knob of butter
vegetable stock

Riñones diablo

1tsp dijon mustard,
1tsp plain flour,
1tsp chili powder,
1tsp smoked paprika,
salt and pepper,
olive oil
vegetable stock

You can get your butcher to trim the suet and gristle from the kidneys but as they were busy I took it on. It really isn't difficult or messy, almost like peeling the shell from a hard boiled egg.
Once the suet is removed, cut the kidneys in half and with a pair of scissors or a small paring knife cut out the gristley white bit in the middle, this is a little fiddly but don't worry about making it look perfect, the kidneys will shrink in size in the pan and seal any accidental slices into the meaty part anyway. You now have four pieces of kidney. For the traditional devilled Kidneys, mix the salt, pepper, flour, cayenne pepper and mustard powder. Melt some butter in a pan over a medium heat and roll the kidneys in the mixture so they are evenly coated and place in the pan. give the pan a good glug of worcester sauce and nice splash of stock. Give the pieces of kidney around two to three minutes each side. The liquid in the pan should be of a light buttery sauce consistency, if it starts to burn and reduce too much simply add more stock and a tiny piece of butter. Once cooked to your liking place the kidneys on your toast and pour the sauce from the pan over the top.

For the Mexican devilled kidneys, or riñones diablo, mix the smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, flour, salt and pepper together to form a dry mix. Turn your kidneys in the mix. Put a drizzle of oil in a hot pan and add your kidneys. Put a heaped teaspoon of dijon mustard in the pan and add a bit of the stock, break down the dijon mustard with the back of a wooden spoon until you form thin sauce in the pan. Keep an eye on the liquid and if it starts to burn or brown too much then just add a little more stock. Again, two to three minutes each side and straight onto some toast with the pan juices pored over the top. This version packs a bit more of a sting with the spices which I love. For two quid, you can't go wrong. So next time you wake up late on a saturday morning, nip down the butchers and get some lambs kidneys and soak up last nights hangover.


  1. these look pretty damned tasty as well as rather bargainous. Excellent post!

  2. Looks like we'll all be coming over to yours after this weekend's Christmas party (-;