Steak and Kidney Pie
Probably the most iconic pie in the land with many variations. Don't be put off
by the length of my recipe. It's fun to make and the results are impressive.
You can make the filling in advance, then chill or freeze it. Just make sure it is
defrosted and at room temperature before you fill the pie.
plain flour 5 tbsp
salt 1 tsp
freshly ground black pepper ½ tsp
stewing beef 900g, cut into bite-sized chunks
pig or ox kidney 350g, split and cored
rapeseed oil for frying
balsamic vinegar 2 tbsp
meat stock preferably homemade, 500–600ml
banana shallots 2, chopped
tomato purée 1 tbsp
fresh bay leaves 2, shredded
thyme sprigs 2
Worcestershire sauce 1 tbsp
flat portabello mushrooms 250g, cut into quarters or eighths
ready-made puff pastry 375g
egg yolk beaten, for glazing
1) Combine the flour, salt and pepper, and spread out on a tray. Toss the beef and kidneys in the seasoned flour, turning with your hands until evenly coated.
2) Heat a large heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the beef and kidney, a few handfuls at a time. Transfer to a large casserole as each batch gets fried. Add a bit more oil if the pan starts to get dry. When all the meat and kidney are in the casserole, deglaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar and 4 tablespoons of the stock. Heat until bubbling, scraping up all the tasty sediment with a wooden spoon, and add to the casserole.
3) Heat a little more oil in the frying pan and gently fry the shallots until soft but not coloured.
Add these to the casserole along with the tomato purée, bay leaves, thyme sprigs and cloves. Pour in enough stock to barely cover the meat. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently, with the lid askew, for 1½ hours until the meat is just tender. Check the seasoning and add the Worcestershire sauce. Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl and leave until completely cold.
4) Meanwhile, fry the mushrooms in some more oil, just long enough for them to give up their juices. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and set aside.
5) Preheat the oven to 200°C. Put a baking tray in to heat. Drain the meat mixture, reserving the liquid, and tip into a deep 1.5-litre pie dish with a flat rim. Mix in the mushrooms. Pour in enough of the liquid to not quite cover the filling.
6) Make sure the pastry is 2.5cm wider than the rim of the pie dish – roll it out a bit more if necessary. Cut a 1-cm strip and press it onto the dampened rim. Brush the strip with egg yolk then carefully place the pastry on top. Trim with a knife, then crimp the edges with your finger and thumb, so that the pastry sticks to the rim. Make four X-shaped slashes at opposite ends of the pie to allow the steam to escape. Use the trimmings to make artistic decorations and glue these in place with a dab of egg yolk, Finally, brush the whole surface with egg yolk.
7) Put the pie on the baking sheet (to catch any overflowing juices) and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 180°C and bake for 45–55 minutes more, or until the pastry is golden and risen, and the filling piping hot.
Kidneys are slithery little things – easier to core if you grasp one between your fingers and do the snipping with scissors.
Take care not to overcrowd the pan when frying the beef and kidney, otherwise they won't brown.
Speed up cooling the filling by dividing it between two or three smaller containers. Stand them in a washing up bowl of cold water or ice cubes.
Recipe © Christine McFadden from The Farm Shop Cookbook published by