Forget all the fancy sounding, tongue-twisting gourmet meals, the real culinary wonders lie within the spectrum of nose to tail recipes.
French chef and cookery writer, Stephane Reynaud's new book The Book of Tripe opens the doors to a variety of traditional and modern dishes with unconventional ingredients.
Kidney Pie (serves 6)
20 minutes preparation time
30 minutes chilling time
55 minutes cooking time
3 veal kidneys, trimmed of fat by the butcher 100 g (31⁄2 oz) butter, chopped
50 g (13⁄4 oz) dried black trumpet mushrooms 6 rashers of bacon, rind removed, chopped 3 bulb spring onions (scallions), finely
2 carrots, cooked and diced 2 parsnips, cooked and diced 1 tablespoon tomato paste
200 ml (7 fl oz) veal stock
3 sheets (25 x 25 cm/10 x 10 inches) frozen
puff pastry, partially thawed 1 egg yolk, lightly whisked salt and pepper
- Cut the kidneys into 1.5 cm (5⁄8 inch) pieces then devein.
- Melt half of the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Brown the kidneys, stirring occasionally, for around 5 minutes.
- Transfer the kidneys to a colander to drain and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
- Place the mushrooms in a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to rehydrate for 5 minutes.
- Drain then squeeze them in a clean tea towel (dish towel) to remove any excess moisture.
- Melt the remaining butter in a clean frying pan over a medium heat. Sauté the mushrooms, bacon, spring onion, carrot and parsnip.
- Add the tomato paste and veal stock, then add the kidneys and bring to the boil.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the mixture reaches a syrupy consistency.
- Season, then transfer to a bowl and cool slightly. Refrigerate until completely cooled.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Lightly grease a 20 cm (8 inch) spring-form cake tin.
- Line the base and side of the tin with two pastry sheets, slightly overlapping.
- Press the pastry sheets together to seal. Trim the pastry, leaving a 1 cm (1⁄2 inch) border above the tin. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Spoon the cooled filling into the lined tin. Cut a 20 cm (8 inch) circle from the remaining pastry.
- Moisten the edge then place on top, pressing the pastry edges together to seal.
- Trim any excess pastry and make a hole in the middle (it will act as a ‘chimney’).
- Glaze the top of the pie with the egg yolk and bake for 45 minutes, or until golden.
- Stand in the tin for 5 minutes. Serve hot.
Pan-Fried Duck Heart With Ginger (serves 4)
20 minutes preparation time
15 minutes cooking times
400 g (14 oz) duck hearts
50 g (13⁄4 oz) butter, chopped
150 g (51⁄2 oz) speck (smoked pork belly),
rind removed, cut into lardons
12 garlic cloves, unpeeled
20 g (3⁄4 oz) fresh ginger, cut into thin
200 g (7 oz) water chestnuts (see note) 1 bunch of chives, snipped
Salt and pepper
(Cooked frozen water chestnuts that have been thawed or tinned water chestnuts that have been drained can both be used for this dish.)
- Prepare the duck hearts by removing the veins at the base.
- Melt the butter in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium–high heat.
- Brown the speck with the garlic and ginger for around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the duck hearts and water chestnuts and cook, stirring occasionally, for a good 5 minutes, or until the duck hearts have browned.
- Add the chives and season.
Calf's Liver With Herb Crust (serves 6)
45 minutes preparation time
1 hour chilling time
20 minutes cooking time
50 g (13⁄4 oz) stale bread, coarsely chopped 250 g (9 oz/1 cup) butter, softened
1 bunch of parsley, leaves picked
1 bunch of tarragon, leaves picked
1 French shallot, finely chopped Salt and pepper
700 g (1 lb 9 oz) kipfler (fingerling)
potatoes, scrubbed and dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves
6 bulb spring onions (scallions), trimmed
and halved lengthways
100 g (31⁄2 oz) smoked lardons,
cut into 1 cm (1⁄2 inch) thick
strips (see note)
6 thick slices of calf’s liver
(about 750 g/1 lb 10 oz)
(If you can’t get smoked lardons, speck or pancetta work equally well.)
The herb crust
- Finely chop the bread,150 g (51⁄2 oz) of the butter and the parsley and tarragon leaves in a food processor to make a good thick paste.
- Stir in the shallot by hand and season with salt and pepper.
- Roll out the herb paste between two sheets of baking paper to a thickness of 5 mm (1⁄4 inch).
- Transfer to a baking tray and chill for 1 hour.
- Cook the potatoes in boiling water for 8 minutes, or until almost tender.
- Rinse with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Cut in half.
- Put 50 g (13⁄4 oz) of the butter, the olive oil, bay leaves, garlic, spring onions, lardons and potato halves in a large frying pan.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, over a low heat, for 3 minutes, or until the butter has melted. Cover with foil to keep warm.
- Preheat the oven grill (broiler) to medium–high.
- Put the remaining butter in a large clean frying pan and place over a medium–high heat until melted.
- Add the slices of liver and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned.
- Arrange the liver on a baking tray. Cover each slice with the herb crust and place under the grill for 3 minutes, or until the herb crust has softened.
- Serve immediately, accompanied by the potatoes.
Hungry for more? Check out Stephane Reynaud's new book The Book of Tripe for more exciting recipes.