21. Mar, 2018

My Steak and Kidney Pie

My Steak and Kidney Pie

Pie-like dishes have been around since the ancient Egyptians, but the idea of enclosing a filling inside a sort-of-pastry made from flour and oil actually originated in ancient Rome. The first published recipe featured a decadent rye dough filled with goat’s cheese and honey – surprisingly delicious sounding for ancient Roman food! However, the pie we know and love today has its roots in Northern Europe. Back in the day, olive oil was scarce to nonexistent in the region. Instead, butter and lard were the fats of choice in the harsher and colder climes north of the Mediterranean. The use of these solid fats created a pastry that could be rolled and molded – and so the true pie was born. The early “pyes” were predominately meat pies. In the 12th century, the need for nutritious, long-lasting food that was easy to store and carry, particularly at sea, was initially solved by taking livestock along with a butcher or cook. Needless to say, the ships quickly became pretty cramped, so a solution was found – a crust! The hardened pastry packages were not necessarily eaten ,think of them as disposable medieval Tupperware. Steak and kidney pie, a traditional British dish consisting of diced steak, onion, and kidney, typically from a lamb or pork cooked in a brown gravy and then wrapped in a pastry and baked. Mushrooms and bacon are sometimes included, and various ales, notably stout, can be added to the gravy. Steak and kidney pie dates to the 19th century and is counted among Britain’s national dishes. It has several rhyming slang names, including “Kate and Sydney Pie.” The dish is closely related to steak and kidney pudding. Today I'm going to share with everyone the recipe of a Steak and Kidney Pie. I first had steak and kidney pie in a London pub and it was like going to heaven – except for the cigarette smoke. The same thick gravy, the same earthy smell of kidney as my favourite pie, but wrapped in a rich suet crust that’s more like a dumpling than a pie casing. Absolutely perfect. It feels a little like eating Yorkshire pudding as a pie crust.  It’s delightful!  Oh, and if you think you don’t like kidney, this is the recipe to try.  It’s the kind of dish where you might find yourself saying “I don’t like kidney, except in a steak and kidney pie as per Toni's recipe”. Lamb kidney is definitely the most mild and tender (I consider it gateway kidney), but you could easily substitute beef  or  pork kidney in this recipe.

Ingredients: For the filling: 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 large onion, peeled and 1 chopped garlic clove, 450g braising steak, cut into small chunks. 3 tablespoons plain flour, salt and ground white pepper, 200g lamb kidney, core removed and cut into bite-sized pieces, 250g mushrooms, cut in slices, 400ml beef stock, a few drops of Worcestershire sauce, 1 bay leaf. for the pastry: 275g plain flour, plus extra for dusting, a pinch of salt, 70g cold unsalted butter, 65g cold lard, 1 medium egg, 2–3 tablespoons cold water 1 beaten egg, to glaze. Preparation: To make filling: Heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil on a heavy-based saucepan and fry the onion over a medium heat until soft and just beginning to color. Remove from the pan and set to one side. Add the rest of the oil to the pan. Toss the steak in the flour and season with a little salt and white pepper. Tap to remove any excess flour and then brown the meat in batches over a medium to high heat. Remove the meat and set to one side. Brown the kidney pieces in the same pan, then remove and set to one side whilst you brown the mushrooms. Return the onion, steak and kidney to the pan. Pour in the stock, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaf. Stir, and then bring to a simmer. Cover and cook on a low heat for 11⁄2 to 2 hours until the meat is tender and the sauce reduced. Taste to check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. Transfer the filling to a 1.2 litre pie dish and leave to cool completely.