Scary Stroganoff

Ever cooked scary food? I used to cook it all the time back home, but now I have to adjust my scary food cooking schedule for local availability and my American family taste.  What’s scary food? You know. I am talking liver, kidneys, brains, heart, feet, tongue, bone marrow, and other such things that typically make an average American shudder.

Sliced veal kidneys

This always fascinated me. Why is it okay to eat a raw, and possibly even live, oyster — complete with its stomach content, but the thought of eating liver (OMG OMG OMG, it has B-L-O-O-D!!!) or anything else that’s not lean muscle making everyone cringe and say “ew”.

Well, it ends here and now.  Because I have to tell you all that this is complete and utter nonsense.  Because, I bet you tried crawfish, you definitely tasted lobster, oysters, you are downing that medium rare steak regularly, heck you may have even tried lox (wow) or caviar (wow wow).  And of course you have had some raw sushi, have you not?  So, exactly what it is that’s keeping you from having a bite of liver?  My thoughts exactly.  Upbringing.

Sauteing onions until golden and lightly browned

I am not going to go into the whole nutritional aspect of eating organ meats.  There is lots written about it, and my limited knowledge of the topic just pales next to, say, Sally Fallon’s write up on them.  But the point I am trying to make is — you won’t know you like it until you actually try it.  And in order to try it and get a good first impression, you need to do it right.

Adding kidneys to browned onions and giving them a quick stir

Here is one of the ways to deal with veal of lamb kidneys — the most tender kidneys you’ll find on the market.  They have quite a mild flavor, so it would be a good start for those who are trying to incorporate new meats into their diet.  They also cook quite fast, so this recipe works very well for them.  I had to adjust the classic Beef Stroganoff recipe for tenderness of the kidneys, to prevent overcooking.  Best way to serve Stroganoff anything is over mashed potatoes or noodles.

Wine and sour cream added. Simmering

Here is what I did.

Scary Stroganoff

serves 4 skiddish or 3 reasonably adventurous people

  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • 2-3 veal kidneys or 5-6 lamb kidneys
  • 4 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white cooking wine
  • 3 whole dry cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

Kidneys typically come with a white tube attached to them.  With a sharp knife, cut the kidney in half lengthwise starting right where that tube is coming out. When kidney is halved, it’s very easy to cut out that cord.  If you leave a little bit of white inside, that’s OK.  Rinse kidneys well, and slice each half into approximately 1/4″ thick slices or slightly thicker (see photo).

Season sliced kidneys liberally with freshly ground black pepper.

Melt butter in a deep skillet over medium heat.  When butter starts to bubble, add onions.  Saute onions, shifting them in the skillet occasionally, until they are golden and start to brown lightly — approximately 8-10 minutes.

Add kidneys to onions all at once and stir immediately.  Our goal is to avoid browning kidneys, we want them sauteed and protected by onions from direct frying.  Saute for a few minutes until juices run clear and most of the juice is reduced.

Sprinkle flour over the kidneys and onions. Stir to coat. Cook for another 1-2 minutes or so, until all of the four is incorporated.

Add wine. Stir everything very thoroughly and scrape the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spatula. Stir again. Add bay leaf, salt and cloves.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 5-7 minutes, until wine is reduced in half.

Add sour cream. Stir well until well incorporated. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for another 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.

Serve over mashed potatoes or noodles.

Veal Kidney Stroganoff served with mashed potatoes, pickle, and basic tomato salad

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Categories: Dinner, Main Courses, Nostalgia, Scary Foods, Traditional Nutrition

Author:Eat Already!

I am a cooking and writing addict born and raised in a cosmopolitan city on the Black Sea coast. Currently my interests include, but not limited to gardening, traditional nutrition, raw milk, fermentation techniques, books by Sitchin, Weston A. Price ideas, artisan bread making, anything handcraft, and many other, quite random, things. I believe in making things from scratch, in unpretentious dishes, visually un-altered food esthetics. I believe in reporting on daily cooking endeavors, not just on special occasion dishes. I believe everyone should learn how to cook at home because it's a great way to connect with your loved ones without saying too much, with your heritage without becoming an archivist, and with the world without learning languages...


  1. Matters Of The Heart — Crock Pot Stroganoff With Dried Mushrooms | Eat Already! - February 21, 2014

    […] state.  In my family, Stroganoff is one of the staples and favorites, so sometimes I make it with kidneys instead of sirloin, and yesterday I tried it with heart in a slow cooker.  I spent, oh, maybe 5 minutes preparing it, […]

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