Veal kidneys with broad beans

The French eat more offal than many other nationalities. In the Netherlands, I sometimes ate liver or blood sausage but that was about it. In France, I discovered sweetbread, kidney and spleen but I have not yet dared to eat heart or lungs.

A French editor once tested my willingness to adapt to France and the French way of life by ordering me a plate of slightly cooked kidneys with lasagne. The dish looked gross but I did acquire a taste for it.

As with all offal, you need to buy it fresh and clean. Our butcher had a few, still wrapped in white fat – sometimes used to fry potatoes in – that he pulled off and then removed some of the sinews.

You can cut the kidney in pieces and cook it in a frying pan with some sauce. Here, I cooked it in the oven and prepared it with broad beans that are in season.

Ingredients

  • One kilo of broad beans
  • One kidney (for two)
  • Veal stock
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper

Steps

  1. Shell the broad beans and cook them in plenty of water for 20 minutes, then drain them and put them in cold water for a “temperature shock” that will loosen the membrane around the bean.
  2. Preheat an oven to 200 °C degrees.
  3. In a small casserole, heat some olive oil and brown the kidney on all sides.
  4. Put the casserole in the oven (without the lid) and turn from time to time.
  5. Peel the membranes from the beans, you will have two green halves per bean. The membrane is often left on the broad beans but it is not vey digestible.
  6. When the kidney is done, take it from the oven and put aside. Remove from the casserole on paper towels.
  7. Add the veal stock to the casserole and mix well. Cook to reduce in volume.
  8. Put a big knob of butter in a frying pan and heat the beans.
  9. Drain the reduced veal stock.
  10. Present the kidney on a serving plate, add pepper and some salt. Add the beans and pour sauce over it.