Organ meats like beef kidney aren't popular in the United States, but they can be a tender and flavorful cut if prepared correctly. Unlike lamb or veal kidneys, beef kidneys are large and tough and require long braising over low, moist heat to become soft.
Add chopped vegetables to the braising liquid along with the kidneys to make a stew that can be spooned over rice or mashed potatoes, or serve cooked beef kidneys with crusty whole-wheat bread to mop up the sauce.
According to the USDA, beef kidneys are a good source of protein, with 23.2 grams per 3 ounces serving. However, they are also high in purines, or compounds that the body breaks down into uric acid.
With too much uric acid in your blood, uric acid crystals may develop, causing gout or exacerbating symptoms in people with the condition. Avoid eating high-purine foods such as beef kidneys regularly, especially if you've been diagnosed with gout, as advised by Mayo Clinic.
Read more: How Healthy Is Eating Liver?
Step 1: Remove the Membrane
Make a cut in the thin membrane surrounding the kidneys using a sharp knife. Remove and discard the membrane.
Step 2: Slice in Half
Slice the kidneys in half, lengthwise. Cut out and discard the round lump of white fat in the center of each kidney half.
Step 3: Cut Into Chunks
Rinse the beef kidneys thoroughly under cool, running water. Pat the meat dry with paper towels. Cut each beef kidney half into 1 1/2-inch chunks.
Step 4: Soak Your Beef
Fill a large bowl with cold water. Add a small amount of plain vinegar or lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Put the beef kidney pieces into the water and allow them to soak for two hours.
Step 5: Drain the Soaking Water
Drain the kidney chunks in a colander, discarding all of the soaking water and the liquid that comes out of the meat.
Step 6: Heat Some Liquids
Pour water and your choice of wine into a large saucepan. Plan on 1 cup of wine and about 1 3/4 cups water for every 3 to 3 1/2 pounds of raw beef kidneys. Bring the liquid to a boil.
Step 7: Add Meat and Veggies
Stir the kidneys into the liquid along with chopped vegetables such as mushrooms or potatoes, if desired, and seasonings like garlic or thyme. Allow the mixture to boil, then reduce the heat to low.
Step 8: Cook Until Tender
Put the pan's lid in place. Continue to cook on low, stirring only occasionally, until the beef kidneys and vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes.
Follow These Tips
Try preparing beef kidneys different ways. According to Michigan State University Extension, kidney meat responds well to braising, pan broiling and frying.
Do not skip the presoaking step before cooking the beef kidneys, or the finished dish may have a strong, unpleasant flavor. If you don't have time to soak the kidneys for two hours, boil the pieces in water for several minutes and drain them thoroughly before cooking.
For a richer, deeper flavor and a thicker, more stewlike sauce, saute diced onions in oil and stir in about 3 tablespoons of flour to make a roux in the saucepan before adding the liquid and the remaining ingredients.
Things You'll Need
Vinegar or lemon juice
Large saucepan with tight-fitting lid
Chopped vegetables such as potatoes and mushrooms (optional)
Seasonings, as desired, such as garlic and thyme