Renes or Lumbi et Renes (Roman Grilled Kidneys or Testicles)

This dish is one I have wanted to try for a very long time, not that I have a thing for kidneys, it’s just that there are so very few edible dishes that involve kidneys or testicles out there.  And lets face it, the Romans knew how to cook anything and make it taste divine!

kidney out of oven cooked

Renes (Grilled Kidney)


Grilled kidneys are made as follows: They are cut down the middle to spread them out, and seasoned with ground pepper, pine kernals and very finely chopped coriander and ground fennel seed.  Then the kidneys are closed up, sewn together, wrapped in caul, parboiled in oil and fish sauce, and then baked in a crock or on a grill.  (apicius 7,8/Dalby, pp. 111)

Lumbi et Renes (Testicles and Kidneys)



They are opened up into two parts and stretched out, and ground pepper, pine nuts, finely chopped coriander and pounded fennel seed are sprinkled on them.  Then the testicles are closed up again and sewn together and wrapped in caul, and in this state they are fried in oil and liquamen and then roasted in clibanus or on a gridiron. (Apicius/Grocock, pp. 249)


1 package of kidneys

5 slices of bacon (preferably thick cut)

1/4 C pine nuts

1 tbs coriander and fennel seeds

1/2 tsp fish sauce



Per usual gather all the ingredients into one area.

kidney ingredients

Here we are!  Everything looks good…the kidneys are a little raw and need to be fiddled with.  So slice the kidneys down the middle and remove any fat globules or veins still attached.

devining raw kidneyHere you can see one that has been cleaned and a second one that is need of cleaning out.  Sort of like the before and after pictures.  These are goat kidneys, so they are fairly small.  Calf or cow kidneys are HUGE!  Lots more room to work in.  For a cow kidney you’ll want to devein them just the way you would a goat kidney and possibly cut the cow kidneys into much smaller pieces.  This is an appetizer/finger food type of dish.  Very rich and very yummy but a little goes a long way.

Next we add the spices to the pine nuts.

pine nut and spicesAfter the pine nuts and spices have been added together, stuff what you can into a deveined kidney.  Roughly a tbs.

pine nut stuffed raw kidneyThen wrap it in bacon.  If you have caul fat (the fat around organ meats) use that.  If you do not have access to caul fat use bacon.  Bacon makes everything better!

raw wrapped kidneyThen we start to fey this up.  Now I have added the fish sauce to the oil and heated that up.

oil and fish sauce

Then we add the kidney(es)

frying up kidneyAs you will notice I am only cooking one kidney.  I’m the only one in my house who likes organ meats so I didn’t think more then one would be appreciated.  Not to worry!  The other kidneys went into a really tasty organ meat pie.  Don’t judge, just try it!

So after I cooked this on both sides for about 3 minutes each, I place the kidney into a baking dish to cook another 20 minutes.

kidney in dish going into ovenWhen I was doing this, I almost decided to skip this step, figuring it had cooked enough.  Do NOT skip the second round of cooking.  This helps to meld all the flavors into one taste sensation.

kidney out of oven cookedThis was the final end product of a perfectly stuffed, wrapped, fried and baked kidney.  It was very tasty!  I do recommend these if you are having friends over and want to give them an unusual treat.


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