Over the past few years, I’ve ordered all of my meat from I order my meat from a local farmer. He not only sells beef, but poultry, pork, lamb and goat. I tend to have two orders, a spring order which includes beef and pork and a winter order which includes beef and a whole lamb. For the first time since I began ordering from him, my lamb order included the organ meats.
I never had that much exposure to organ meats growing up. Some chicken livers at family parties and my mom would make beef liver and onions which she enjoyed and we kids hated. Once I began cooking for myself, organ meats were never on my shopping list.
Since I began this journey, I have maintained that I don’t want to waste the foods I receive. So when I get turnip, radish or beet greens with my CSA order, I use the greens instead of throwing them away. In the same situation, I have to make (and eat) these organ meats.
I chose a weekend to cook the lamb kidneys when GC wouldn’t be around. First off, lamb kidneys are pretty small and with only 2 kidneys’ per lamb that’s all I had to work with. So I’m not sure they would stretch to two people. Secondly, even though GC has said he is game for anything I cook, I’m not sure how I would feel if I cooked the kidneys and he rejected them.
Kidneys are shaped like kidney beans. Typically they have a strong odor and most people in the United States are reluctant to eat them. I’ve heard people say that food such as kidney and livers are toxic since they strain out the toxins in the system. In reality, they are simply muscle with specialized areas to do that function. The only problem with kidneys are our unfamiliarity with them as a food. In his surveys, Weston A. Price found that most traditional native cultures prized the organ meats far above the muscle meats. Organ meats were given to both pregnant women and those who were of fertile age specifically to promote both pregnancy and healthy children. There was no discrimination as to which organ meats were eaten. So frankly I’m not worried about eating either liver or kidneys as a meat. Considering that my consumption of them will be about once a year it’s not something to get my panties into a twist.
I read that soaking kidneys in milk will reduce the strong flavor and smell, so I took some slightly soured raw milk (still great for things like this and making yogurt) and soaked the kidneys for about 7 hours.
Kidneys have a tube going through them once sliced called the ureter (this is where the urine is excreted through. I did remove this area (and the white portion surrounding them) before attempting the recipe. I chose a recipe by Serious Eats, which sounded appealing. The recipe is for a hua boa preparation which includes lots of chilis and other strong spices.
I did make a few substitutions in the recipe. I didn’t have rice wine, so I substituted rice wine vinegar. Once I added the sliced up kidneys to the marinade, I let it sit for about 2 hours in the refrigerator.
One thing I did differently than the recipe (which called for corn starch) was that I coated the kidney slices with coconut flour before I fried them. I wanted to give them the chance to get crispy and I wanted to not use corn starch (which is typically GMO).
I used chicken fat to fry the kidneys since I don’t keep peanut oil in the house. I have lard, duck and chicken fat available and the chicken fat was the first one I grabbed.
I served the kidneys over rice which while not low carb is a typical way of serving huo bao. I also had kale on the side. The lamb was spicy but not bitter (probably because of the milk soaking). It went well with the bitterness of the kale. All in all, I’d call this a success. I might even try to get GC to eat it next year!
Just a Head Up
Last year I spent 3 weeks doing the Raw Milk Cure. I found it interesting to track certain issues in my body and to really spend some time giving my body (especially my digestive system a rest). In fact I liked it so much I’m going to do it again starting at the beginning of April. I’d love it if some of you join me.
I do the milk cure as much as I can based on two books (both are available free on-line:
- The Milk Diet: How to Use the Milk Diet Scientifically at Home by Bernarr Macfadden, 1923.
- Milk diet as a remedy for chronic disease by Charles Sanford Porter 1911
Just because I do it this way, doesn’t mean you have to. I know people who just drink milk in place of their meals rather than treat it like a rest cure. If you have a clean raw milk source, then consider joining me on this challenge. I’m going to start doing this on March 30th, (beginning to blog on April 1st) and I plan on going for 3 weeks (mostly because that seems to be all GC can handle of my not eating). I’ll have a link to the post from the past year as well as a chart detailing my vitals and my experiences. Feel free to follow along with your information in the comments. Let me know if you are planning on doing this.