I bought some lamb’s kidneys this week for a different dish, but they were so cheap that I bought extra to make Riñones al Jerez – kidneys with sherry. Kidneys are nowhere near as popular in the UK as they used to be, but you will still find devilled kidneys and steak and kidney pie (or pudding) on restaurant menus. There should be no problem in finding kidneys in butchers shops and supermarkets. In Spain Riñones al Jerez is a classic dish that can be found in most bars and restaurants. Other types of kidney are also used for this, such as calf or pig.
The kidney’s function is to clean toxins from the blood, producing urine. Therefore, some can have a strong undesirable smell or taste. Lamb’s kidneys are quite mild, but it’s common to soak all types in a saline solution or milk to “improve” them.
Riñones al Jerez:
8 – 10 lamb’s kidneys
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
6 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
a level dessertspoon plain flour
2 dessertspoons chicken stock
1/2 glass Fino sherry
a splash of sherry vinegar
fresh parsley (finely chopped)
a knob of butter
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
Peel the outer membrane from the kidneys (this is easy), then cut in half and remove the white fatty core (a good butcher will do this for you). Cut in half again, so you have 4 pieces, or chop finer as you see fit.
If you wish, soak the kidneys in 500ml salty water, with 50ml of white wine vinegar for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.
Brown the kidneys in extra virgin olive oil and remove to a plate. They almost look like mushrooms and I was tempted to mix the two, but champiñones al ajillo (mushrooms with garlic and parsley) is a perfect tapa in it’s own right and can be served alongside this.
Gently poach (sofreír) the onion in extra virgin olive oil and a knob of butter. Some recipes eschew the onion, but when cooked slowly, it almost melts into the sauce.
When the onion becomes soft and sticky, add the garlic and kidneys, but discard any oil/liquid left on the kidney plate. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes.
Stir in the flour to make a roux and add the stock.
Sprinkle with parsley.
Pour on the sherry. Allow to bubble and reduce for a few minutes and season to taste. Add a little splash of sherry vinegar just before serving.
Riñones al Jerez is an excellent tapa or even first course – serve with a little more parsley on top and a glass of Fino sherry. Fino is drunk chilled as a refreshing aperitif and often enjoyed with salty almonds or Jamón Iberico. It is a crisp, dry sherry, aged for at least 2 years in oak barrels and normally between 7 – 10 years in total. In Spain, a decent Fino will cost about the same price as a reasonable bottle of wine.
Oh Mad ! I could live on kidneys half the days of the week . . . tho” I must admit I do prefer veal kidneys increasingly difficult to obtain here ! Cook them often actually as a main meal with or without mushrooms but pretty much your way. Shall check again on your timings. But, when cooking lamb kidneys I treat them almost like steak only cutting them into halves to remove the white core ! Instead of the usual sherry, if I do this table-side, I may flame with cognac !! Have just added them onto next week’s shopping list alongside honeycomb tripe I have not used all simmer . . . hope you well . . .
Thanks Eha – I was very tempted by the idea of sherry brandy …and pimentón, but that’s not the classic Riñones al Jerez. Don’t mind me though, do what you fancy – I may revisit this myself.
Mad Dog, If I was a truly polite person, I would tell you that your dish sounds delicious and I can’t wait to give it a try. I’m sure that any person who likes kidneys would truly enjoy your dish. Instead, I’m an honest person who will tell you that this is one of those dishes I will have to pass on…kidneys are just not to my taste. 😔
Ha ha – thanks Karen, I didn’t think this was one for you!
😊 You know me well.
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I used to enjoy kidneys on a semi-regular basis, but sadly they have all but disappeared from our store shelves, except for an occasional sighting at “ethnic” grocers, mostly Asian or Latino ones. This sounds like a particularly lovely way to make them.
Thanks Frank – this is still a very popular tapa in Spain and fortunately steak and kidney pie has remained a classic in the UK, so no lack of kidneys in Europe. You have to wonder where they go in America – I suppose pet food… I’m sure supermarkets are to blame for this disconnection from food and reality.