Lamb’s Testicles – Nose to Tail Fortnight Day 4

3 May

If you’ve come here from the FemaleDom website. That’s OK, but please can you sponsor my half marathon, before you get your greasy mitts on my testicle pictures?

£1/$1/1 euro would make an extra hundred pounds a day for good causes. You can do it anonymously.  I dare you:

Also, it just goes to show that a well-meaning, ethical endeavor can be highjacked for porny porn porn … *le sigh*

So we had testicles for tea. They come from the back-end of the animal – see we are working our way along. I testicles are a bit more out there than tripe even, so despite being super excited, I was also a bit wary. The excitement meant that I did exactly what I did yesterday and woke up really early and had two false postal alarms before the delivery man came with a big box.

The delivery man said he was very glad I was in the house. I said I was very glad to get my testicles. He looked uncomfortable.

Keevil and Keevil were the testicle-suppliers that came up when I googled ‘buy testicles’. A lot of other things came up, including testicle implants. I can say that when I emailed yesterday panicking that they hadn’t arrived, they were very nice and have been very kind on twitter. Have a look at their website – they have meat boxes themed by London borough – apt since their actual premises is in Smithfields (which I learnt yesterday was one of the first places that Huguenot silversmiths settled after fleeing France in the 1600s)! What I liked best was their very low post and packaging. So many online meat suppliers either insist you buy over £40 or charge £20 just to deliver. You can’t try the product if you have to fork out stupid money just to get it sent.

And here, they are my bag of testicles:

I think the smile on face here is meant to convey a) Gosh four! I thought I’d only get too and b) I bet my hair looks very bouffe in these pictures. Bonus testicles are always good. Yes that is puffy bedhair. You can also see my pyjama top covered in strawberries. I am that glamourous. Look at those lovely balls. Hmmmmm …

So now I had the testicles what was I meant to do with them? There was some conflicting advice. On the one hand Jennifer McLagan advised to soak them overnight, skin, poach, re-poach and so on, which all sounded very good but time-consuming. On the other Anissa Helou said you could do that, or just skin them and use them as they were. The latter advice suited me better because Daz had to go to rehearsal so tea needed to be made with some fair haste.

Daz is my very supportive boyfriend, but he wasn’t entirely convinced that eating testicles would be a delicious thing. He did say he would try them, and I said that was fine, if he didn’t like them then we had sausages to quickly fry. But he does get an award for being a Big Brave Boy.

So, how do you prepare a testicle? Basically, the testicle lies within three membranes and you need to cut it out them before you can use it. Below is a step-by-step photojourney of the de-sacking, but basically you use a knife to make a small nick, widen it with your fingers (there is a tearing sound) and then to in effect, turn the ball-sack inside out.

Step 1: Membrane the first. Pinch the skin of the testicle up and put the point of your knife in to make a little cut. Then make the cut wider, using your fingers or a knife, to then turn it inside out.

Here we have both testicles inside-outed, to the side I think is the tube that take sperm to the penis and some other biology. I wasn’t sure whether I should eat it or not, so erred on the side of caution. (The other two testicles are in the freezer, so I might experiment with those.)

Step 2: Sack the second, do exactly the same. Here you can see me pulling the membrane away with my fingers. If you push a bit with your finger, then pull it comes away pretty nicely.

Step 3: Membrane the third. This one is the trickiest. Your really have to use your fingers (or maybe a spoon) to push the membrane and the body of the testicle apart. If you don’t do that, the flesh will rip and you won’t have a lovely smooth edible bollock. So go gently, teasing flesh and sinew apart.

And this is the testicle that you have to cook with. It is soft and also a bit like one of those jelly tube things that if you squeeze it shoots out your hand. Gel-filled and purple? No? Anyway, they are slippery and I dropped one. BUT I caught it with my knees. Offal Save!

I know these instructions are quite long, but it’s quite intuitive when you get going. There are instructions from Anissa Helou here and Jennifer Mclagan’s view here and a much more exhaustive account in ‘Odd Bits’. I don’t have Fergus Henderson’s books yet, so I don’t know what he thinks, but I’m sure he likes them.

So now I had some testicles, what was I going to do? I found a lot of recipes that recommended crumbing and frying them. I thought this sounded a good idea because most fried things are nice, and frying isn’t too heavy a flavour so the flavour of the testicles (which I was told was mild) comes through. I sliced the testicles into rounds holding on firmly but not tightly and then I chucked some spelt flour, some ground black pepper and the zest of half a lemon into a bowl and covered the testicles discs in the mixture so they were covered both sides. They only take a minute to cook each side, so I got my vegetables ready and then cooked the balls at the very end.

Here are my lovely little testicle fritters, they look pretty good don’t they? The taste is lamby, but in a mild way. So even if you don’t like lamb, I think you’d like these. The texture is like one of the quenelle dumplings – like a REALLY firm mousse. They do leak some juices. I don’t *think* its jizz.

And here was our final dinner. If you are interested in the vegetables: to the left we have kale steam-fried with ground ginger, red chilli and half a lamb stock cube; to the right stir-fried purple sprouted broccoli with wild garlic* wilted over the top just from the heat of the pan. The punchier flavours of the vegetable went really well with the creamiest of the testicles. Bit of lemon to squeeze. Tortilla – mostly because Yorkshiremen have to have bread at every meal.

And here’s my favourite little Yorkshireman, digging his testicle fritter!

That IS a nice face he’s doing. Apparently lambs testicles are a very potent aphrodisiac. Just saying. The other thing I’d like to say is please don’t all rush out and buy shed loads of testicles so that they are the only type of meat being demanded and whole carcasses are thrown out in the street. At the moment I think they disappear at the abattoir most of the time and then get turned into things we don’t know about (can anyone enlighten me?). It’s much better that people buy them for what they are and treat them with respect. (Even if that respect is turning them inside out three types and frying in hot oil. Still respect.)

Would you eat a testicle?

Have you eaten a testicle?

Don’t worry, I will try to even out the gender balance and find an udder or a womb.

*We FORAGED the wild garlic today, down in Kirkstall near the Aire. There is quite the crop far down on the banks. I also got some nettles and some cleavers for JUICING! *tries not to look like a smug Guardian reader*

11 Responses to “Lamb’s Testicles – Nose to Tail Fortnight Day 4”

  1. countrywoodsmoke May 3, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    What a load of bollocks! Great post, but I had to cross my legs from the “turn the ball-sack inside out.” onwards! Good on you guys for giving it a go, I notice all the ballsy lady chefs you mention are all ladies, with a lack of gentlemen testicle chefs? does this say something??

    • offallygood May 3, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

      Well Fergus Henderson is a bloke … but you are right. I’m hope I’m not another extension of some ‘feminism gone wild’ cooking malarky! I did think the same thing. There’s probably more mileage in thinking about gendering cookery writers. Man=fire and all that. Ha!
      Thanks for reading! Have you smoked any offal?

  2. countrywoodsmoke May 3, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    Yes well pointed out 🙂 Pig kidney slow smoked inside a whole pig…mmm! Still struggling a bit with offal to be honest, was a veggie until a few years ago. I think i’d struggle with the prarie oysters, but would try it….i think….yes tradtitional gendering is man cooks BBQ, (I probably fall into that category). Woman bakes pretty little butterfly cupcakes….maybe not….;)

    • offallygood May 3, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

      i think ox tail/veal tail is a good place to start. if you like kidney, venison kidneys are lovely.

  3. countrywoodsmoke May 3, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

    Oh I’ve had lots of ox tail, love the stuff, not sure if skirt steak is classed as offal, but one of my favourites. Will give venison kidney a go, sounds great.

  4. Juls May 4, 2012 at 6:58 am #

    We used to eat testicles with a lemon rind, black pepper, garlic and chilli oil marinade that had been grilled often as kids. My butcher (and I expect most butchers) will happily just get them in for me so I don’t have to scour the internet! It’s easier than locally sourcing cheeks or brains here due to the fact that head meat (by which I mean actual head meat and not penis!) has a crap load of paperwork associated with it whilst balls – not so much!

  5. Mother Eagle May 4, 2012 at 7:27 am #

    Hilarity to the max.

  6. Dan September 21, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

    Can you at ovaries ? Would be interesting to investigate, there must be loads of things that are probably nice but don’t get used because of the tabooesk nature surrounding them

  7. belikov December 18, 2013 at 3:24 am #

    you can roast them, roast it gently and put some olive oil on the surface, when it halfway firmed, incised few times make sure it equally cooked from inside to outside, scatter some salt, ground cumin, chilli power roast another 1-2 mins, and it is ready for serve.
    This is how farmland people cook testicles for hundreds years. My personal opinion medium tastes best.

    • Mary Zeman May 26, 2015 at 7:02 am #

      If you slice the entire ball right down the middle, you can slide your knife under the meat with the membranes flat on the cutting board as you might skin a fish filet. A bit of seasoned flour and a quick saute and the texture and flavor is similar to brains. If you want something a little meatier, parboil the whole thing for about 3 minutes. The skin removes easily then and, sliced, breaded, and fried, it comes out very similar to sweetbreads.

      Sorry I can’t contribute to the cause; saving my money for the Society of Underemployed Proof-readers. 🙂 (To heck with you, Spellcheck. There is SO a hyphen there.)


  1. Stir-fried Veal Heart – Nose to Tail Fortnight Day 6 « offallygood - May 5, 2012

    […] handling the organ, understanding where the chambers are and where you need to cut. Again, like the testicles, it’s quite […]

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