It is easy to think of kidneys as being the kind of heritage dish that has been a mainstay of British cookery down the centuries. That is not quite the case. From the 16th century there was a distinct wariness about them and they were really only eaten by the poor. Fast forward to the latter half of the 1800s and devilled kidneys are a regular feature of smart breakfast tables. That change was thanks in part to the fashion for French foods and cookery. The French were not at all squeamish about kidneys.
I think devilled kidneys work better now for a lunch, tea or supper. As would this recipe which is a great way of elevating two of Britain’s humblest foods to a princely dish. It is simply jacket potato that is baked with a delicate lamb’s kidney nestled in to cook amongst the potato flesh. Lovely.
1 baking potato
1 lamb’s kidney, halved and with its white core snipped out
a knob of butter
1tbsp sherry or marsala
a tbsp chopped herbs – rosemary, thyme, chives, whatever you fancy
1. Bake your potato in a 190C oven for 45 mins to an hour depending on its size. Then take it out and cut its top off along one of the long sides. Scoop out about half of the potato flesh into a bowl.
2. Stir the butter, sherry, herbs and some seasoning through the scooped out potato. Remember the potato isn’t fully cooked yet so it if it is too hard to really do that give it a whizz in a blender. Stir the kidney in and then pile it all back into the potato skin. Put its lid back on and secure with a skewer or cocktail stick. Return to the oven but this time standing in a baking dish or tray so any good stuff that bursts out doesn’t get lost. Finish baking for another 45 minutes.