Kid And Fennel

The lady who supplies much of our goat cheese has to slaughter a certain number of the young goats (kids) each year to keep her herd within manageable numbers, much to our delight, as the flesh is delicious, having youth on its side.

One hind leg of kid will vary in size and can feed from two to three to sometimes four.  I have to leave you to judge your leg and your appetite.

A quick note before I start the update:  I neglected to mention that Carol over at French Laundry at Home posted her last update on purpose.  I hate seeing wonderful things come to an end, but I finally decided that I really needed to say something.

Carol, thank you.  I’m coming up on one year of writing for this website.  Never, never, never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d actually start a blog and actually stick with it.  You’ve really inspired me with your incredibly witty, funny, and touching writing.  So, again, thank you.  You have changed my life in a small, but significant way.

Most people are already aware of Carol’s new endeavor, Alinea At Home.  Well, she’s just posted her first update and whipped out a TMNT reference in the first paragraph.  That’s why she’s the best, people.

Dumb luck struck again, as I was able to find not just a leg of kid, but a leg and some of the ribs, and something special…

Under all that fat is a kidney!  I’ve grown very fond of kidneys after making the Deviled Kidneys back in April.  This was set to be the amuse bouche for the evening.

But before I could start on the kidney, I needed to start browning the leg.  In a large pan I heated a big splash of olive oil until it just started to smoke, and then placed the leg in.  Once it was properly browned I placed it in an oven proof dish.  Since I was a bit unsure of what to do with the left over rib meat, I decided to brown it as well and just cook it with the leg.

In the same pan, I sweated three sliced fennel bulbs, a dozen shallots and a dozen cloves of garlic.  Mr. Henderson explicitly asks for no browning, so I diligently checked the pan’s contents as they cooked.

At this point, I realized that I had forgot to pick up some pernod, which the recipe calls for.  Dumb luck again was on my side, as a quick google search informed me that I had a perfect substitute already.

Pernod is actually a successor of absinthe, the potent liquor that contained a toxic oil from wormwood in quantities that were thought to cause brain damage — and which was outlawed in 1915 in France. One of absinthe’s leading manufacturers, Henri Pernod, then focused its efforts on the lower-alcohol, wormwoodless, anise-flavored Pernod.

So, I ended up subbing the original for the substitute.  I seriously doubt that will ever happen again, regardless of how long I end up cooking.

Into the pan with the kid and the vegetables went a bouquet garni, the absinthe, a cup of white wine, and some chicken stock.  Braising is the name of the game for this dish, and I’m always down for a good braise.  The pan was placed in a very hot oven for 20 minutes, then I dropped the heat down a bit for the next two hours.

While I waited on the leg, my attentions returned to the goat kidney.  I decided to pan fry it, and season it simply with salt and pepper.  Fatty, tender, and delicious with a gamey flavor.  It was a great start to the meal.

And here’s the finished dish.  The flavor was very similar to lamb, which surprised me for some reason.  The meat was exceptionally tender, and the fennel and shallots just melted in my mouth.  I’m determined to find a reliable source for kid, because I’ve found a new favorite recipe.

One down, ninety five to go.

4 thoughts on “Kid And Fennel

  1. Hmmmm….I would have stripped the fat from the kidney and pulled the membrane from it. I also would have soaked it in salty water for a bit, too. Was it good au naturel?

    As for the kid — love it! But for the love of all that’s holy, can Fergus please include something — anything — that is red or otherwise not beige or a wan green? Sigh. I would have added roasted red pepper to that dish. The parsley helps, though.

  2. Too funny Hank! I’ve lamented the same thing with Fergus’ dishes. Some color…any color is a welcome accent to these plates.

    i am curious about the kidney as well, was it good with all that fat on?

  3. Kid and Fennel, huh… noone willing to stretch to make an awful Kid n’ Play House Party joke?

  4. Hank, when I put that parsley on the final dish, I was thinking of you. I had taken a few pictures, when I noticed that the colors were a bit, well, dull. Thank you for making me consider the plate’s “pallet”.

    I fixed the kidney that way in preparation for the lamb kidneys in their suet, which I need to make whenever I can find them that way. Enassar, the fat was maybe the best part. As soon as it hit my mouth, it all melted and the mouthfeel was awesome. I’d gladly make more kidneys exactly the same way in the future.

    Chumsize, I’m not going to lie: I considered it. I just couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t! :)

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