Steak and Kidney Pie

  • Time: 4 hours
  • Serves: 8
  • Level: medium

‘…A pie is one of those meals that is such a pleasure to make. Pop on the radio, take good time over it, have a cuppa while it’s in the oven then watch the delight of the family as it’s placed on the table. Comfort on a plate’

Pete
'Leo's all time family favourite, the humble but delicious pie, mash, veg and gravy...'

What you need

2 x 500g ready made shortcrust pastry blocks

pack of 6 tinfoil single portion trays (approx 12cm x 10cm) with lids – or similar size enamel pie dishes

1 egg beaten

Butter for greasing the tins

700g chuck steak – or other braising cut of beef

200-300g ox kidney chopped

2 onions chopped

2 large carrots chopped

250g chestnut mushrooms quartered

5 garlic cloves chopped

4 bay leaves

sprig fresh thyme

1 tbs tomato puree

1tbs Worcestershire sauce

1 tbs red wine vinegar

2 tbs plain four

250 ml red wine – or stock

1 tbs redcurrant jelly

1 litre beef or chicken stock



Dad's Recipe Tales

This British classic seems timeless – yet, I’m not sure that it is very popular these days – at least not with kidneys. A steak and ale pie might be more common.

And here’s a thing – I tasted my recipe half way through and – WOW – did it taste of kidneys! Now I like kidneys – but I don’t eat them very often. So when I put them into my steak braise their taste dominated.  It lead me to reflect on whether our palate has evolved away from the once popular offal of kidney and liver…

But don’t let me put you off. Do make this, it’s a brilliant comfort food – the taste mellows and is quite delicious. Besides if we are going to eat meat it should include offal.

The meat needs to cook at low temperature over several hours to become tender. If it is cooked at anything like a rapid simmer the meat will be tough. The best way to do this is to heat at the lowest heat that is convenient for your cooker where the braise remains just under a gentle simmer. This can be done on the top of the hob with a heat diffuser rather than the oven if preferred. Test the meat after about 90 minutes – if it is very tender then it does not need to continue cooking.

Do improvise with the actual pie making – I’ve used shortcrust pastry in tins lined with pastry – but you could just use a large pie dish with puff pastry over the top.

I have added extra stock to the braise so it can be extracted for gravy served separately.

This should really be done over two days. The extra day allows the flavours to meld and the filling to be really cool when laying pastry over the pie (otherwise it will start to melt before cooking).

How Dad Cooked It

  1. Preheat the oven to 140C Gas 1
  2. Prepare the kidneys. Cut off any membrane and hard internal gristle. Chop into small chunks and set aside.
  3. Brown the meat. Cut the beef into small pieces and fry in batches in light olive oil. Use a casserole pan with a heavy base (and lid) on a medium high heat. Brown the meat evenly on all sides. Don’t burn or let the pan get blackened. The residue contains much flavour. Deglaze and start over for each batch if necessary. Set the cooked meat aside.
  4. Sweat the onions. Use the same pan used for the meat adding more oil. Sweat on low heat for 15 minutes, stirring often.  After 5 minutes add the garlic.
  5. Add the mushrooms and carrots. Add the mushrooms to the pan and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Add the tomato puree and stir until it starts to darken, add the flour and stir, cooking for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the liquid. Add the wine, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce stirring to amalgamate the flour. Let it bubble for a couple of minutes. Slowly add the stock and bring to a simmer.
  7. Add the meat. Add the cooked meat and the chopped kidney to the pan along with the bay leaves and thyme.
  8. Braise in the oven. Cook for 1 1/2 hours  to 4 hours depending on your heat settings and oven (see note in recipe tales). Put the lid on the pan slightly ajar. Watch after 20 minutes to ensure that the liquid is not boiling and adjust the temperature if necessary. The internal temperature of the braise should raise slowly up to 80C during this long cooking time.
  9. Season – with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Save some gravy. Decant a few ladlefuls of liquid from the braise and keep in a container. Ensure there is enough left in the braise to give sufficient gravy for the pies.
  11. Season and cool. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Cool and refrigerate overnight.
  12. Preheat the oven to 200C Gas 6.
  13. Make the pies. Bring the pastry blocks to room temperature and divide into 6 equal rectangles. Take each tin and unfold the top rim making a flat platform for the pastry. Grease each tin with butter. Roll out each piece of pastry in rectangular shape to match the pie tins (or whatever type of dish you use). The piece for the base needs to be larger than the piece for the top. Form the pastry inside the tin and over and onto the edge platforms. Fill the pies with steak and kidney braise and use egg wash around the edge of the base pastry. Place a lid of pastry over the pies and seal the edges with the tines of a fork. Pierce the pie in two or three places with the tip of a knife. Brush the pastry with egg wash. Put some of the pies in the freezer for another time if you like, they freeze very well.
  14. Bake the pies. Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden brown but well cooked through. Turn the oven down to 180C Gas 4 after 20 minutes.
  15. Make the gravy. Put the retained braise liquid in a pan and heat. Add the redcurrant jelly to taste. Thicken with roux if required (equal parts butter and flour formed into a paste – whisk small amounts into the gravy until desired thickness). Finally add a knob of butter and whisk until shiny.
  16. Serve – with mash and vegetables.

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