Mrs Bailey’s Devilled Kidneys with Mushrooms
There may be no dish more quintessentially imperial-British than a plate of devilled kidneys. This is not in fact a common sight on the Crater School breakfast-table; indeed, it has never been seen there. The silver chafing-dishes of the country-house morning do not offer a healthy diet for growing girls, as far as Mrs Bailey is concerned.
For herself and a friend, though, she will cheerfully throw this together as a speedy and delicious lunch. Women of her calibre believe whole-heartedly in the healthy benefits of the internal organs, and have no time for squeamishness or waste.
[For the record, I should add that she cooks and serves her kidneys whole. Honestly, I only cut them up so that I can eat one-handed with a book in the other, though there is also the bonus that a quartered piece of kidney can look remarkably like a halved mushroom-cap when it’s coated with sauce, so you don’t always know quite what you’ve got on the end of your fork. It’s the little things.]
Two lamb’s kidneys
250g mushrooms, preferably cremini, halved (or quartered if large)
Toast points, to serve
Cut each kidney in half, and — this is one of those kitchen tasks that is easiest done with scissors — snip out the fatty veiny core. Then (if you’re me, or anything like me) cut each trimmed kidney-half into three or four pieces, to match the size of your mushroom pieces.
Heat a skillet until hot, and add either butter or bacon-grease, depending on your larder or inclination.
Toss in the mushrooms, and fry for a few minutes until just cooked.
Add the kidneys and flash-fry, just until brown on all sides. You do not want to overcook your kidneys.
Add some cream, a spoonful of mustard, a pinch or two of cayenne, a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce and salt & pepper. Stir until the sauce simmers and thickens up a little.
Serve on crisp toast (and if you cut the toast up similarly small, again you won’t need to use a knife and can read while you eat, harrumphing into your newspaper like a proper British colonel in the mess).
You can find more of Mrs Bailey’s recipes here:
And the adventures of the schoolgirls under Mrs Bailey’s care may be found here: