You might have noticed, if you have read anything here before, that I am very fond of cooking the cheaper and often forgotten cuts of meat because they can, if treated well, turn into the most delicious meals. The same with offal.
When I was a schoolgirl I was forced to eat dry, rubbery liver and bouncingly hard kidneys and I swore that when I grew up I would NEVER be made to eat them again… until I cooked them myself and realised that offal wasn’t awful at all.
Now, one of my favourite quick suppers (only when the Bear is away….. he’s still rather stubborn when it comes to kidneys, but I have no doubt with training he’ll get there) is kidneys in a cream sauce on basmati rice.
Kidneys are so cheap – I think that pile of beauties cost me less than a £1 – and all you need otherwise is some basmati rice (a cup full) a few spring onions, some butter, cream and a dash of something alcoholic and either some flour to thicken the cream sauce, or, like I did tonight, some thickening granules. Now, I would normally avoid produced goods and shortcuts like this, but they really are rather good. They USED to say they were gluten free, which made them a great option if I was doing something for my brother…now I think they have to say that the product is made in a factory that also produces products containing gluten. Anyway… that’s why I started using them and I still use them today. The granules are just stirred in to whatever you are cooking and they thicken… It’s an option, isn’t it?
So, let’s start.
You need to remove the centre core and the tubules from the middle of the kidney. It’s easy enough to do – just slice them in half and then snip out the white core and tubes with scissors.
Chop the spring onions into pieces and add them to a pan with a spoonful of butter and a dash of oil (this stops the butter burning too quickly)
I used my favourite chilli infused oil just to give the dish a hint of a bite.
Cooking takes just a few minutes – you’ll be able to tell because the kidneys go from fresh. bright red to a rich brown.
In the meantime, I put a cup of basmati rice in a pan, add a cup and just under a half cup of water, a pinch of salt and set it away to boil. Basmati only takes a few minutes to cook and doing it this way means there’s no need to drain it. If you cover it with a teatowel and put the lid on after the water has been absorbed, then the excess moisture is absorbed and you are left with fluffy, dry rice.
When the kidneys have just cooked, I like to add a dash of something alcoholic to perk up the final dish. If you are cooking this for children then you don’t have to add it… though I have to say, any alcohol will be cooked off, so it shouldn’t affect them. Tonight, I am using port.
Why port? Well, there’s a bottle open and also I think the sweetness will combine well with the musky tang of the kidneys. Sometimes I use brandy, or whisky. I’m tired tonight and i think I might fancy a touch of sweetness in there, so port it is.
Then, a sprinkle of thickening granules, stirred in
And, because I have some in the fridge and it needs finishing off, I add a spoonful or so of cream
And that’s it.
Just stir the cream round, taste for seasoning – maybe a pinch of salt or a grating of pepper and then pour it over your lovely, fluffy rice.
Supper in less than 20 minutes.
Comforting, rich and smooth. Gently cooked kidneys (no rubbery, bitter bounce here!) in a delicious, creamy sauce on fluffy rice. Just what you need to brighten a lonely evening.