Steak and kidney pie is one of those things that you either love or hate. We are huge fans in this house, and to me, it is the epitome of comfort eating.
As a child it was my favourite dinner, so when I was 7 and couldn’t eat it one evening, my mother was sufficiently concerned to take me presto pronto to our GP who diagnosed acute appendicitis and had me operated on within a couple of hours.
Some people can’t bear the thought of kidneys, and so my advice is to simply leave them out, and make this as a steak pie, or a steak and mushroom pie. The suet pastry is the absolute crowning glory of this dish, and is the easiest and most forgiving of all pastry. I use vegetarian suet which is great, but beef suet is particularly splendid with this dish.
I serve this really simply – with mashed potato or Champ, and peas. As you can see from the photographs, this isn’t an elegant dish, but truthfully, I’ve never heard anyone complain about that!
- Frying pan
INGREDIENTS: The quantities below will feed up to 6 people.
FOR THE FILLING:
- 1 and 1/2 pounds or 750g steak pieces, trimmed
- half a pound of beef kidney (also called Ox kidney)membranes and core removed. Cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 large onions roughly chopped
- a dessertspoon of plain flour
- 1-2 beef stock cubes
- half a glass of red wine
- splash of brandy (optional)
- 300g mini Portobello mushrooms( again, optional, or if not using kidneys) roughly chopped
- 1 crushed clove of garlic
- 2-3 fresh bay leaves
- small handful of fresh or dried parsley
This quantity is for the full pie – (reduce these amounts if you’re making a smaller pie, but always maintain the 2:1 ratio)
- 6oz beef or vegetarian suet (I use Atora brand)
- 12oz self-raising flour (self -raising is sooo important!)
- salt and pepper to taste
- cold water
- Fry off the beef and kidney in batches. Set aside.
- add the onions and mushrooms (if using) to the pan, and allow to soften but not colour
- add the garlic
- return the meat and combine together.
- add the red wine and allow to bubble up and reduce
- sprinkle over about a dessertspoon of plain flour and mix in well
- add the stock cubes, dissolved in about a pint of boiling water
- add the finely chopped parsley
- Give it all a final stir and transfer it to the casserole dish.
- Tuck in the bay leaves, add the brandy if you’re using it, cover, and cook at 120c for at least 2 hours.
About 30 minutes before you plan to to eat, make the pastry. You can have the suet and flour weighed out in advance but don’t add the water until you’re ready to cook it.
- Remove the stew from the oven and turn the heat up to 200c
- Put the dish containing the S+K filling onto a baking tray
- mix the flour, suet, salt and pepper together in a bowl.
- Using a flat-bladed knife, sparingly add enough cold water to make a stiff dough. As usual, less is more – it’s easy to add more water, but impossible to take it out.
- Mix until it comes together.
- Tip the dough onto a floured surface and roughly roll out to the shape and size of your serving dish
- Lift the pastry onto the dish, and plonk it on top. Don’t bother to trim it – just tuck the edges in around the sides of the bowl.
- Stab it a couple of times
- then pop it in the oven and leave it there for about 20 minutes, or until risen, golden brown and crispy.
- Use a spoon to cut into the pastry and serve.
- I like marrowfat peas with this – either done the long way ( soaking overnight, boiling gently) or just the tinned type – I’m not proud!
- I can’t recommend suet pastry enough – it’s crisp and golden on top, and soft and doughy underneath where it has soaked up some of the gravy. However, if you want a finish that looks a little less rustic, or simply don’t have the time, ready-made puff pastry is very acceptable.