Devilled Kidneys

Devilled kidneys - lamb's kidneys flash fried in a spicy sauce - were extremely popular on Edwardian breakfast tables as a useful kick-start to the day.

Personally, I prefer to get my kick from coffee first thing in the morning, and not many people I know can face kidneys for breakfast.

But if you try them as a speedy light lunch, quick supper or - even better and highly recommended - as part of your Boxing Day brunch - you'll see that they haven't lost any of their appeal.

You only need one pan, so it's easy on the washing up, but I would recommend to assemble all the ingredients, so there's no chance of the supper spoiling while you search for the cream.

It's an easy dish to prepare, not relying too much on exact measurements. A little more of this and a pinch less of the other won't make much of a difference. Go with what tastes good to you, especially in the question of heat, and you won't go far wrong.

And here's how you make Devilled Kidneys

Devilled Kidneys on Toast | © Monkey Business Images dreamstime.comDevilled Kidneys on Toast
© Monkey Business Images |

  • Allow one lamb's kidney per person and cut them into quarters or rough dice
  • fry in hot oil for a minute until lightly browned
  • add some sherry, a dash of cider vinegar, and a teaspoon of redcurrant jelly (Cumberland sauce is also very nice) and stir to blend
  • season with Worcestershire sauce, English mustard, salt and cayenne pepper to taste, then add a splash of cream to make a lovely rich sauce
  • bubble for a minute or two, sprinkle over some chopped parsely and serve with toast and a green salad

Don't like kidneys?

According to Mrs Beeton's famous cookery book, Devilled Sauce - a mixture of vinegar, sherry, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt and much cayenne - also makes an excellent marinade for chicken drumsticks or pork chops.

Just score the meat and leave to marinade in the sauce for at least 30 minutes before grilling or frying over a very high heat.

I feel that this idea really comes in its own at the end of long festivities like Christmas or Easter, when we've overindulged a bit and need something perky to tickle the tastebuds. Both leftover turkey and lamb respond very well to being re-heated in devilled sauce ... and make a tasty, spicy late morning or late evening snack.

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