lamb kidney: Flock of sheep grazing in a field

How to Cook With Lamb Kidney (and Why You Want to Try It)

Eating organ meat (or offal) is one of the most nutritious choices you can make when it comes to optimising your health. When compared bite-for-bite with the muscle meat we're used to eating, organ meat is like taking a multivitamin with your fillet. 

Kidneys (namely grass-fed beef or lamb kidneys) are one of the most nutritious organ meats, second only to liver. They're also a lot firmer to the teeth, making them a bit more palatable for some. Lamb kidney is particularly rich in micronutrients. When prepared properly, it can be a delicious addition to your weekly meal lineup. Let’s go over lamb kidney nutrition facts, how to prepare it and the best ways to add it into your diet.

Lamb Kidney Nutrition

Three pieces of raw lamb kidney on a stone slab and surrounded by herbs and spices

The kidneys are considered filter organs in the bodies of animals. Kidney meat is good for your heart due to its high omega-3 fatty acid content. It also offers anti-inflammatory protection and is quite high in protein [1]. Here's a quick glance at the macro- and micronutrient profile of 113 grams of lamb kidney [2]:

  • 110 calories
  • 3.3 grams fat
    • 1.1 grams saturated fat
    • 215 mg omega-3
    • 237 mg omega-6
  • 17.8 grams protein
  • 357 IU vitamin A
  • 12.4 mg vitamin C
  • 0.7 mg thiamin
  • 2.5 mg riboflavin
  • 8.5 mg niacin
  • 59.2 mcg vitamin B12 
  • 4.8 mg pantothenic acid
  • 7.2 mg iron
  • 278 mg phosphorus
  • 0.5 mg copper
  • 143 mg selenium 

It's a common misconception that the things kidneys filter out remain in the organs themselves. To illustrate, your liver filters and neutralises alcohol, but the alcohol itself doesn't remain in the liver. The same is true for your kidneys. 

So don't worry, you're not eating all the things the lamb's kidneys have filtered out when you add them to your diet.

You’re actually getting more than enough of all of that good stuff listed above. The small numbers listed there represent a huge percentage of the conventional recommendations for these nutrients every day. But if you're new to eating nose-to-tail eating and you've never eaten kidney before, these numbers probably won't convince you to try it. 

We've collected some of our favourite recipes to help ease you into the idea. We've also created a raw, freeze-dried lamb kidney supplement (in capsules) made from pasture-raised, free-range Icelandic lamb if you'd rather take it that way without the need for prep, cooking or sourcing.

How to Prepare Lamb Kidney

Sliced lamb kidney on a wooden board with a knife on the side and surrounded by herbs and spices

The three basic steps of preparing kidneys (from any larger land animal) are to clean them, soak them and parboil them. Once you've done these steps, you'll be ready to use your kidney meat however you like. 

Cleaning takes a few minutes and you have to be able to handle a little bit of blood, but it's nowhere near as much blood as if you were to prepare cow's or lamb's liver. Grab a sharp knife to get started:

  • First, snip off the extras. If the ureter is still attached, it will be sticking out like a tube. There’s also a membrane that wraps around the organ that you’ll need to remove.
  • Then slice open the kidney longways to expose the inside. You'll want to remove visible fat (suet) and veins to avoid any foul odour while cooking. 
  • Cut the kidney meat into smaller pieces and score the surface with shallow slits.
  • Once cleaned and cut, soak the pieces in either salted water or milk. The soaking process helps remove any odour or gaminess that might remain in the kidney before cooking. Soak for about 2 hours in the fridge.
  • After you've soaked, bring a pot of water to a boil and place the kidney pieces in for 20 to 30 seconds, just to braise the outside. You don't want to cook them through, just enough for them to turn slightly grey on the outside. 

Now your kidney is ready to use!

How to Eat Lamb Kidney

Kidney stew with onions on a white plate

There are a couple of basic approaches to eating kidney: hiding it in other foods or featuring it front and centre as the main protein in your dinner dish. Both strategies can yield delicious results as long as you prepare the kidneys properly. 

Let's Start With Hiding It

If you're making meatballs or burgers, try adding finely chopped kidney into the mince before cooking. Season up the meat just as you would without the secret ingredient and then get cooking. This meatball recipe features chicken liver, but lamb kidney will work just as well. 

Consider adding finely diced kidney into a chili or stew. For a chili, you'd likely use mince again and mix the kidney right in, but you could also use stew meat and add smaller bits into the cooking liquid after browning them with the stew meat. This lamb chili recipe features lamb mince, and you can add in chopped lamb kidney, cooking it as you would the mince. Venison would also work here.

If you're braising a large piece of meat like a lamb shoulder or lamb shank (leg of lamb), try topping it with crispy fried kidney slices sautéed with leeks and olive oil. Braising is a low and slow cooking method that usually involves setting the larger piece of meat in a shallow pool of red wine, beef stock and braising vegetables, then placing in the oven. Here's a great recipe to get you started.

A Classic Method: Kidney Pie 

Kidney pie is kind of the bridge between hiding your kidneys and putting them front and centre. This classic British dish is a savoury pie featuring both steak and kidney, seasoned with salty Worcestershire sauce and topped with a buttery puff pastry. Since we focus on grain-free living, we've found a meat pie recipe that we’d recommend adding lamb kidney into. This recipe omits the Worcestershire and provides a keto-friendly crust made from almond flour, coconut flour and psyllium husks.

And Now for the Main Attraction

If you're wanting your lamb kidney recipe to keep the kidneys front and centre, you have a number of options.

You can use an overnight marinade of dijon, red wine and spices, pan frying in butter or ghee until the exterior is sizzling. 

Or you can try options like the recipes below: 

  • Kidneys and Cream Sauce: This dish that pairs kidneys with rich cream cheese and double cream — yum! The recipe calls for calf kidney, but lamb kidney would also be delicious.
  • Lamb Kidney Masala: A naturally gluten-free and keto dish, this creative take on lamb kidneys is heavy on Indian spice, giving you a chance to try kidney with a mouthful of flavour.
  • Hungarian Lambs Kidneys: Another saucy way to enjoy lamb kidney, this dish can be served over cauliflower mash or riced cauliflower. You'll want to sub in double cream for the milk and almond flour for the cornstarch.

Lamb kidney has a mild flavour, especially compared to other organ meat like liver, so you really have a lot of options. Again, the most important steps to make kidney taste great are the cleaning and soaking at the beginning. Once you do that, you can use kidney almost the same way you'd use the muscle meat of lamb. 

Try Your Hand at Eating Lamb Kidney

Kidney stew with apples on a cast iron pan surrounded by ingredients

Now that you know how nutrient-packed lamb kidney is and how to prep it, it's time to put your know-how to the test. Choose which of these recipes seems the most tasty to you and give one a try this week. You might find a butcher that has already done the cleaning part for you, which would bring you one step closer to enjoying this delicacy. 

And if you’re more curious about the nutritional benefits than you are about cooking kidney yourself, try a convenient raw lamb kidney capsule.

All information provided on our website and within our articles is simply information, opinion, anecdotal thoughts and experiences to provide you with the tools to thrive.

It is not intended to treat or diagnose symptoms and is definitely not intended to be misconstrued for medical advice. We always advise you seek the advice of a trained professional when implementing any changes to your lifestyle and dietary habits.

We do however recommend seeking the services of a trained professional who questions the conventional wisdom to enable you to become the best version of yourself.

REFERENCES

[1] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319229#benefits-of-eating-organ-meats

[2] https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/lamb-veal-and-game-products/4664/2

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