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Lamb heart and kidneys

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I came home from the store with lamb hearts today! Any suggestions on how to cook them? Web research suggests that they can be sliced and grilled or sautéed rather than braising as one would for beef heart.

I contemplated the lamb kidneys too. Standard beef kidneys are too strong for my taste, but I love rabbit kidneys. Would lamb kidneys be as delicate as rabbit kidneys are? Maybe I'll just have to take a chance some day.

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  1. Lamb kidneys are often broiled as well, but can be sauteed with madeira or with white wine and mushrooms. Cut kidneys in two lengthwise, remove membrane, cut each half in two diagonally. Season. Sautee rapidly in a bit of butter. Don't let them stew or they will harden. In a sauce pan, reduce wine, add some demi-glace, espagnole, or veal souce; reduce to half; thicken w/ mix of one tbsp each of butter and flour.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

      MMM, lamb or veal kidneys on toast! I clean them up, slice into little rounds, dust with some seasoned flour, and saute fast in butter, with some minced shallots. Deglaze the pan with some dry vermouth. The little bit of flour will make the drippings saucey. Put the lightly cooked kidneys back in the pan to coat with "sauce", and turn out onto toast. Sprinkle with some finely chopped parsley.

      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

        Mmm, sounds yummy. Tell me, how do you think the flavor of lamb kidneys compares to rabbit kidneys? I assume lamb kidneys are milder than beef kidneys.

      2. If you have the Joy of Cooking, they actually talk about using the guts, with recipes.

        Another good source is Marcella Hazan.

        1. Lamb kidneys are not as delicate as rabbit kidneys. I've never tried the French-ish preparations above, but am partial to Lancashire Hotpot which I've been meaning to make all winter. A very traditional use for lamb offal.

          1. I worked in a London restaurant where we would use Ox heart and, after cleaning, slice into 1/4" slices and marinate over night. i think we used a simple balsamic marinade. We would then grill them and serve them simply with bread. Never had lamb kidneys but lamb tongues braised in duck fat was one of my most memorable things. Lamb tongue confit is AWESOME!!!

            3 Replies
            1. re: napolean

              Really! I keep looking at the lamb tongues at the market and imagining something exotic and wonderful could be made with them. Now I have an idea. Maybe some variation on one of Paula Wolfert's recipes. Or maybe you could supply directions?

              1. re: napolean

                Lamb tongues are indeed awesome. I have terrific braised versions at both Babbo (I think it is in the cookbook) and Jeanty at Jack's in SF. Yum.

                1. re: JudiAU

                  Ansill does crispy fried lamb's tongues. I don't know if they braise them first and then fry them, though.

              2. I've ordered a whole lamb from a local organic farm and will be getting it next week. I asked that the kidney and sweetbreads be included. Wouldn't the kidneys work for steak and kidney pie? Or are only beef kidneys used in such a dish?

                1. I cut the lamb hearts into strips and sautéed them with onions, mushrooms, and red wine. Delicious. If someone doesn't like liver, lamb hearts might have too heavy a flavor, but we loved it. Next time I'll try marinating and grilling them.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                    One last comment on this -- we had the leftover lamb heart and mushrooms sauté with some leftover herb-cheese polenta from a different meal, and it turned out to be a stunning combination. Just in case someone is reading this years hence looking for ideas.

                  2. One of my standbys for heart-and-kidney (I buy whole smallish lambs, so a combo makes a meal for 2) is adapted from Mireille Johnston's Cuisine of the Sun: Brochettes de Nice.

                    She interleaves the meat pieces with vegetables (onion, tomato, pepper, mushroom) but I always find that a nuisance, if I want vegetables I cook them on separate skewers.

                    Cut hearts and kidneys in same-size chunks (she says 2" but mine are too small, I cut them more small walnut-size). Cut salt pork (can sub pancetta) in small thin pieces (to put between the meat pieces for basting). Sprinkle all with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, thyme. Marinate an hour or 2. Thread into skewers. (Now I notice she says use some fresh rosemary if you have it--never done that myself.)

                    Put skewers over a skillet and broil. Here's where your're on your own. She says broil 5 min, flip, baste, broil 15 min, but that's way too long for my smaller pieces. More like 5 and 5, or maybe 5 and 3, but it's going to depend on your broiler, exact distance, etc. I like them rare.

                    She deglazes the drippings with a little wine and serves on a bed of parsley, cress, or herbed rice, with sauce. I usually just serve straight.

                    Alternatively, sliced and quickly sauteed, as others have suggested.

                    1. Yikes! Lamb hearts and kidneys?! I guess I'm narrow minded when it comes to animal organs. Too scary for me! I'm really open minded with any kind of ethnic food, I just don't like organs in my food.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: amoncada

                        More for the rest of us!

                      2. Don't know about these parts, but lamb liver is delicious!

                        1. We went to Deezi Cafe (reviewed recently by Melanie W. recently) and I tried to order the lamb heart, liver, and kidney kebabs. Alas, they were out! My husband had the lamb tongue, cheek, and tendon stew, which was excellent (although neither of us could really get past the tendon texture, especially since it didn't seem to have any flavor of its own).

                          1. I recently bought a lamb heart and couldn't decide whether to braise or poach it, so I cut it in half and did both. One half I poached in a court bouillon for, I don't really remember, 15 minutes? I had to taste it immediately, even though I had intentions to serve it cold and sliced and with mayonnaise. Great, totally worth it.

                            Meanwhile, I heated a small, covered, earthenware vessel in the oven at about 350F. Once hot, I dropped in 1 T or so of unsalted butter, and once melted I threw in the other half of the heart, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and came back maybe every 10 minutes to baste it. 30 minutes total, I think. This was truly amazing.

                            1. In Strasbourg, France I had a devine plate of lamb kidney slices in a (Dijon) mustard-cream sauce a long time ago.

                              1. In Spain, where lamb bbq is very common, we tend to grill lamb kidneys and serve it with a side of aioli. If you are planning to grill it, it makes sense to leave the thick layer of fat that protects the kidneys intact so that the kidney never comes in direct contact with the flame. That way the kidney stays moist. Plus you get a really nice layer of crispy fat that is smoky and delicious.

                                When we grill in the kitchen, we have the fat taken off because otherwise, the whole kitchen gets really smoky and the end result is not as good.

                                I've never prepared heart before though. Reading this thread makes me what to run out and get some...

                                1. Never had much use for kidneys after my mother's cooking them, although given some of the recipes on this page, I might just try them again. I like lamb hearts prepared simply by removing veins and anything that is not red, excepting small amounts of fat, if there is any. Cut the heart into about 1/2 in. thick slices. Then saute mushrooms, onions and garlic, and the heart together in butter. These don't want to be overcooked. I usually do just a couple minutes per side. A little red wine does not go amiss either. Beer also works, right at the end of the suate. Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Sometimes sharp chedder cheese on top. It is a treat.

                                  Thanks for this page. I just discovered it today and will be checking in often.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Sttiploc

                                    what about confited in lard and then sauteed nice and crispy? or lamb heart and duxelle rillettes?

                                  2. One of our family's favourite recipes is "stuffed lamb hearts"

                                    You simply stuff the hearts with a stuffing mix. Place the hearts in a roasting pan. Make gravy and pour it over the hearts, then bake in the oven for 45 minutes at 220C. Simple and tasty.