Despite what the supermarket aisle may lead you to believe, there's more to an animal than neatly wrapped styrofoam trays of meat. From tongue to tail, offal (pronounced awful) encompasses all those taboo edibles that don't make the cut at your local grocer. Just Offal is here to explore these oft-neglected byproducts of butchering, featuring different offal meals from establishments across the valley. This week: Lamb Kidneys served up by George and Dragon Pub.
The Ick Factor: In honor of Chow Bella's Pie Social this weekend, an offal sort of pie is on today's menu. Lamb kidneys and beefy bits awash in a sea of gravy, courtesy of the George and Dragon Pub.
In addition to being some of the creepiest stars of urban legends, kidneys are also integral to keeping you even-keeled and well-hydrated throughout the day. They are the body's excretory workhorse, filtering blood day in and day out, and producing lots and lots of urine in the process. They also make for a pretty tasty pie filling.
(all the juicy details after the jump)
The Offal Choice: Steak and kidney pie from George and Dragon Pub. Puff pastry drowned in beefy gravy and packed with kidney bits and onions. The requisite chips and peas served on the side. Bottles of HP Sauce and malt vinegar at the ready.
Tastes Just Like: Beef liver lite. Lamb kidneys share many of the same taste and texture notes as their liver-y cousin, but are much milder than the often pungent liver. The musky flavor that characterizes many offal meats is also prominent in these kidneys, although the musky stank is nowhere near as intense as calf liver. Instead, the kidneys created a complex and slightly gamey aftertaste that added a bit of depth to the predominant beef flavor of the pie.
Texturally, the kidneys had a nice bite to them but were a bit softer than the accompanying chunks of beefy muscle meat. A few chews also yielded the same powdery mouthfeel as liver tends to produce, but it was much less mealy. Appetizing, no?
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You Know It's Cooked Improperly When: It tastes like urine. Seeing how this is what kidneys filter all day, it's probably a good idea to make sure that they are very, very well cleaned before serving. Just like liver, soak your kidneys in milk in order to leech out any residual funky-monkey flavors.
Always been a DIY-er? Hit up an ethnic market (Like Lee Lee's) for the freshest kidneys. If they are whole, then you'll need to strip away that outer membrane and the gristle strip down the middle. Just do it. Don't think about what that gristly strip is. Then chop 'em up and soak them in milk for a couple of hours to dull the inevitable stank of cooking up kidneys.
Now you're ready to get domestic. Grab your favorite pie tin and whip up a steak and kidney pie fit for a king!
Know of some offal that we just have to try? Let us know in the comment section.