Seared Lamb Kidneys with Spicy Lentils & Mint
Chef Chris Cosentino of Incanto – San Francisco, CA
Adapted by

Yield: 4 Servings


  • 4 lamb kidneys
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 bulb garlic, split
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bunch thyme, tied in a bundle, plus additional branch
  • 1 bunch parsley stems, tied with the thyme
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1½ Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional to garnish
  • ½ cup garlic, slivered
  • ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup mint, leaves picked
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Soak the kidneys in milk for 2 hours. Remove them from the milk and rinse in cold running water for 1 hour; dry the kidneys. Split each one in half; remove and discard the fibrous membrane from each side of each half.

While the kidneys are soaking, rinse the lentils in cold water. Place them in a non-reactive pot and cover with water; bring to a boil. Once boiled, strain and rinse them again with cold water. Place the lentils in a non-reactive pot with the whole onion, carrot, split garlic head, bay leaf, and tied herb bundle; cover with the chicken stock. Cook the lentils slowly until they are tender, approximately 20-25 minutes. Once tender, remove the vegetables and allow the lentils to cool in their cooking liquid. Strain the lentils and discard the cooking liquid.

Season the kidney halves with salt and pepper; lightly dust with the seasoned flour. Heat butter in a pan. Crack the garlic clove into the pan and add the remaining thyme branch; sizzle for 1 minute and then add the kidneys. Sear both sides of each kidney half until golden brown and medium-rare, or approximately 3 minutes total cooking time. In another pan, heat olive oil and sizzle the slivered garlic and chili flakes. Add the lentils and toss gently to incorporate. Deglaze the pan with lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and toss in the torn mint.

To Assemble and Serve:
Place the spicy lentils on warmed serving plates. On each plate, lay 2 kidney halves on top of the lentils; drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately.

Wine Pairing
This dish lends itself well to earthy, textured white wines, according to sommelier Ed Ruiz of Incanto. Greco from a good producer in Campania, such as Terredora, is a natural fit. Another wine that comes to mind is Semillion from Australia. The goal is to match the earthiness of this dish to a wine with earth tones and enough acidity to cleanse the palate. If you prefer red wine, try something with the Sant’Antimo designation made from Sangiovese Grosso, usually blended with a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon. The Ferris notes in these wines are a natural with the kidneys.

   Published: February 2006