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).