Thursday, June 21, 2012

Rognons - Kidneys on French menus.

Rognons - Kidneys on French menus.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman
Updated February 2018

Lamb kidneys
Kidneys, rognons, are French restaurant favorites as their delicate taste and texture put them on menus all over France.  Lamb and veal kidneys, like sweetbreads require little cooking, and they will be on menus from bistros to Michelin starred restaurants
The stronger tasting beef, goat, and pig’s kidneys will not be on the menu in the city, but in country restaurants they will be prepared as traditional slow-cooked stews, or as part of a meat pie.  Beef kidneys are sometimes seen on UK menus as part of that great British dish steak and kidney pie.
A British Steak and Kidney Pie.
Kidneys on French menus:

Fricassée de Rognons de Veau aux Pleurotes -  A veal kidney stew made with oyster mushrooms. The original fricassées were only made with chicken; however, that was originally; today fricassées are often made with veal, other poultry, kidneys or shellfish, and occasionally lamb or rabbit.  When keeping to the original recipe white wine will be used, and crème fraiche may be added at the end. Vegetables may be included in the stew or like oyster mushrooms added shortly before serving.
La Cocotte de Rognons de Veau à la Bordelaise, Petits Oignons, Lardons et Champignons - A casserole of veal kidneys prepared in the manner of Bordeaux, accompanied by baby onions, bacon pieces, and button mushrooms. The wine used in this dish will obviously be a Bordeaux red.

Lamb’s kidneys à la Bordelaise
Rognons d'Agneau, Grillés au Bacon, Gratin Dauphinois et Légumes de Provence – Lamb kidneys grilled with bacon and served with Pommes de Terre Dauphinois. Pommes de Terre Dauphinois are sliced baked potatoes cooked with olive oil and garlic and layered with cream and milk; some versions include onions. The potatoes will be lightly sprinkled with Parmesan or Gruyère cheese and browned under the grill just before serving. On a menu listing like this, the vegetables from Provence is a hint that the produce is locally sourced. It will not be indicating a particular vegetable though Provence is blessed with courgettes, zucchinis; aubergines, eggplants; tomatoes, garlic and much more.
Rognons de veau, veal kidneys.
Rognons de Veau de Lait, Champignons et Oignons, Sauce Dijonnaise, Légumes, Frites – Kidneys from milk-fed veal prepared with button mushrooms and onions served with a Dijon flavored mustard sauce and accompanied by French fries. 
Rognonnade de Veau aux Champignons, Sauce Madère –  A veal loin chop with part of the kidneys attached prepared with button mushrooms and served with a Madeira wine sauce. Rognonnade is a traditional French kidney dish where the veal kidneys are served together with part of a veal steak.  In the USA, I was told this is called a kidney chop, but it is not seen on today's steakhouse menus.

Restaurants in the country may offer Rognons Blancs -  These are not kidneys, these are the French names for animal testicles. On country menus there may be Rognons Blancs au Riesling – Lamb’s testicles prepared in Riesling wine from the Alsace in the Grand Est. Lambs testicles is another French comfort food. Rocky Mountain Oysters is one of the names used for these cuts in parts of the USA.
 Braised veal kidneys
Historically internal organs in the USA and the UK were the cheaper cuts. As the standard of living rose, outside France, internal organ dishes became associated with low-income groups.  In France, its taste that counts and the tasty veal and lamb kidneys and other cuts have remained on the menus in restaurants from the bistro on the corner to those with Michelin stars. You cannot do to badly if you follow the French; they eat very well as they cook very well.

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Bryan G. Newman

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