Creamed sea beet & lamb’s kidneys

Creamed sea beet & lamb’s kidneys

Andrew Montgomery

I drive to one particular beach to collect sea beet. It does well there, growing where the weedy gravel car park meets a lengthy strip of waste ground, behind a few knackered dinghies that rattle on their rusty trollies all winter. Like the spikes of an emerald crown, its leaves are thick, green and arrow-shaped. They taste like the finest spinach you’ve ever had, and are best when young. Creamed sea beet is the ultimate, in so many ways. This one, with seared fresh, tender and subtle lamb’s kidneys, is way up there.


Quantity Ingredient
200ml milk
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
2 thyme sprigs
300-400g sea beet, or spinach or chard, coarser stalks removed
1 knob unsalted butter
15g plain flour
4 lamb’s kidneys
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 rosemary sprigs
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Pour the milk into a medium pan and place it over a high heat. Add the onion, bay leaf and thyme and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the flavours to infuse the milk for 15–20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil. Drop in the prepared sea beet or spinach or chard and cook for 3–4 minutes, until the leaves are tender. Drain the sea beet and refresh by running it under cold water. When the sea beet is cool, squeeze out any liquid, roughly chop, and set aside.
  3. Now make a white sauce. Set a medium pan over a medium heat, add the butter and when bubbling add the flour. Stir and cook for 1 minute, then pour in the infused milk, straining it through a sieve as you do so. Discard the onion and herbs. Use a whisk to work the white sauce as you cook it for 1–2 minutes, until it thickens. Season well with salt and pepper, then turn off the heat and fold in the chopped, cooked sea beet. Cover and keep warm.
  4. Carefully halve the kidneys laterally (across their face). Using the tip of your knife, remove the tough, white core and discard it. Place a medium frying pan over a high heat and add the oil. When it’s hot, add the kidney halves and rosemary, and season with salt and pepper. After 1 minute, turn the kidneys and cook for a further 1 minute on the second side. (Don’t be tempted to turn them too soon – they should take on some colour.) Turn off the heat and let the kidneys rest in the pan for 4–5 minutes. Serve the kidneys on warm plates alongside the sea beet, and some toast, if you like.
River Cottage
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