Table of Contents
Steak & Kidney Pie
- Pastry for 9-inch double pie crust
- 1 lb. lean stewing beef trimmed and cubed
- 1 lb. ox kidney cored and chopped
- 2 tablespoons salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoons oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 cup beef stock
- Milk for brushing
- Heat oil and butter together in pan.
- Toss the steak and kidney in seasoned flour, then fry in hot butter and oil until well browned. Put mixture on a plate.
- Add onion to remaining butter in the pan and fry gently until slightly gold.
- Add meat back to pan and pour in beefstock, slowly bringing to a boil.
- Lower heat, cover and simmer for 1 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally until meat is tender.
- Remove from heat; leave the mixture to stand until it is completely cold.
- Roll out half of the pastry on a floured surface, then use it to cover a lightly greased 9-inch pie plate. Trim away excess pastry. Roll out remaining pastry to make a lid.
- Pile on the cold meat with sufficient gravy in middle and moisten the edges of the pastry with water.
- Cover with the pastry lid, pushing edges together to seal, and flake by cutting with the back of a knife.
- Flute then stand pie on a baking sheet. Brush with milk and bake in oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Steak and Kidney Pie
“Winterfell…When last I was inside those walls, your cook served us a steak and kidney pie. Made with ale, I think, best I ever tasted. What was his name, that cook?”
“Gage,” Jeyne said at once. “He was a good cook. He would make lemoncakes for Sansa whenever we had lemons.” -The Winds of Winter
Steak and Kidney Pie, from the Winds of Winter
Huzzah, and rejoice! Another recipe from the Winds of Winter, pulled from a previous excerpt chapter on GRRM’s site.
I admit that I was a tad nervous to make this pie. I’ve had steak and kidney pie before, and loved it, but I’ve also heard reports of kidneys being far too gamey to be enjoyable. However, I was determined to power through, so I found some really nice lamb kidneys at the ever-awesome Savenor’s, and set to work.
I couldn’t be happier with the finished pie. I had a slice for each meal of the day (it makes an amazing breakfast), and was delighted each time. Because the meats are stewed in ale, as per the quote, it’s tender, juicy, and tumbled in a rich gravy. I’ve seen versions with veggies and such mixed in, but I liked the no-nonsense mixture in this pie, which is pretty much just meat.
Recipe for Steak and Kidney Pie
- 3/4 lb. quality lamb kidney (about 4 kidneys)
- 2 lb stew beef, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 cup flour
- 3 Tbs. vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 bottle ale
- 1 1/2 cup beef stock
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp. coarse salt
- 1 stick butter
- ~1/2 cup cold water
- 1/4 cup milk for glaze, or 1 egg, beaten
Cut the kidneys into small pieces, around 1″, avoiding the hard white parts around the middle. In medium heat oil, sear the kidney for a couple of seconds, then add everything else. Cover and simmer for an hour and a half, or until the gravy has thickened. Allow to cool while you roll out the pastry.
Combine the flour and salt, then rub or cut in the butter until it resembles a coarse breadcrumb mixture. Gradually add enough water to pull the whole together. Place in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.
Divide the pastry dough in two, and roll out to two rounds, about 1/8″ thick. Place one layer of dough in a pie pan, then fill with the cooled meat mixture. Wet the edges, then place the second layer of dough over top. Trim excess dough off the sides, then fold under and seal. Brush with egg or milk, and bake at 400F for around 40 minutes, or until the top is a golden brown. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
Paul’s steak and kidney pies
The day before you want to bake your pies, prepare the filling. Place the flour into a large mixing bowl and generously season with salt and pepper. Throw the beef into the flour and give everything a good toss to coat the beef.
Heat a large deep-sided, heavy-based saucepan over high heat, add a splash of cooking oil and cook the beef, in batches, for 5–10 minutes, making sure all the pieces are nicely browned. Remove the beef from the pan and set aside.
Add a little more oil to the same pan, add the kidney and cook for 5 minutes or until nicely browned, then remove and set aside with the beef.
Reduce the heat to medium, add a little more oil to the same pan and cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes or until soft and translucent.
Add the wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any cooked-on bits from the base of the pan. Return the beef and kidney back to the pan, add the stock, thyme and bay leaves, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours or until the beef is tender and the sauce has thickened. Allow the beef cool to room temperature and then refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease six 11 cm round or oval pie tins.
Whisk together the milk and the egg.
Cut the shortcrust pastry into 6 pieces big enough to line the tins, leaving enough for a little overhang. Push the pastry down into the tins.
Spoon the filling into the bases.
Cut the puff pastry into 6 rounds, big enough to cover the pie tins. Use a pastry brush to paint the eggwash around the rim of the pastry. Lay the puff pastry over the tins, trim off any excess of both pastries, then use a fork to push down around the rim and seal the pies. Paint the lids with the eggwash and sprinkle over the poppy seeds.
Place the pies on a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes or until the tops are golden and the bases are cooked.
Serve with good tomato sauce or chutney.
Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Nick Banbury. Creative concept by Belinda So.
Paul West is the host of River Cottage Australia, 6pm weeknights on SBS and on SBS On Demand. For more recipes from Paul, click here.
Steak and kidney pie
Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7
Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan, and brown the beef all over. (You may need to do this in batches.) Set aside, then brown the kidneys on both sides in the same pan. Add the onions and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Return the beef to the pan, sprinkle flour over and coat the meat and onions
Add the stock to the pan, stir well and bring to the boil.
Turn the heat down and simmer for 1½ hours without a lid. If the liquid evaporates too much, add more stock.
Remove from the heat. Add salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce and allow to cool completely. Place the cooked meat mixture into a pie dish.
Roll out the pastry to 5mm/¼in thick and 5cm/2in larger than the dish you are using.
Using a rolling pin, lift the pastry and place it over the top of the pie dish. Trim and crimp the edges with your fingers and thumb.
Brush the surface with the beaten egg mixture and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden-brown and puffed.
Serve with creamy mash and steamed vegetables to soak up the gravy.
The Classic Steak and Kidney Pie
- Heat a large frying pan with a little of the dripping or oil. Season the diced beef with salt and pepper. Fry in the pan until well coloured and completely sealed. Life out the meat and transfer to a large saucepan. Add a touch more oil, if necessary, to the frying pan. Season the kidneys and also fry quickly to seal and colour in the hot pan. Also transfer to the saucepan.
- Melt a knob of butter in the pan and cook the onions and carrots in the melted butter for 2 – 3 minutes. They will lift any flavours left from the meats. Put into the saucepan with the meat. Fry the mushroom slices in a little more butter, just turning in the pan for a minute or two; keep to one side.
- Place the saucepan on medium heat, stirring in the flour, and allow it to cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomato puree, bay leaf and mushrooms. Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer, skimming off any impurities. The meat should just be covered with the stock; if not, top with a little more stock or water. Simmer gently, partially covered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. During the cooking time it may need to be skimmed several times.
- After 1 1/2 hours, check the meat for tenderness. If not quite soft enough, cook for the additional 30 minutes. If the meat is cooking gently, it will not need to be topped up with any additional stock or water. The sauce will have reduced, thickening it’s consistency and increasing it’s flavour.
- Taste for seasoning, adding a dash or two of Worcestershire Sauce to the mixture. Transfer to a 2 pint pie dish and allow to cool to lukewarm.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F.
- Roll the pastry 1/4-inch thick. Cut a strip of pastry to sit around the rim of the dish. This will help the top to stay on. Brush the rim of the pie dish with some beaten egg and apply the strip. Brush again with egg. Making sure the pastry top is bigger than the dish, sit it on top. Push down around the sides, trim and crimp for a neat finish. Brush completely with egg wash and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown.
Steak and kidney pie with smoked oysters
How does one improve on a classic such as steak and kidney pie? This is the question that has been vexing my brain of late and when I say that I have spent many a long evening in front of the fire; staring, contemplating, deliberating deeply and smoking my pipe; let me tell you, this picture of solemn thoughtfulness is not an exaggeration.
Well actually, it is an exaggeration. But honestly, I have been thinking a lot about how I could improve upon this humble and economic pie. Some might say if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. But most recipes could do with a tweak here and there. And by jove, I think I’ve cracked it Watson.
I have of course had some help along the way and when it comes to looking for inspiration, nothing quite beats the hive mind of Twitter. The first suggestion, which came from the kitchen of Clerkenwell Kitchen, was to use the lesser known (in this country at least) onglet steak as the main meaty component of the pie. Also known as ‘hanger steak’ this dense cut comes from the diaphragm of the cow and is full of rich iron flavour. Some detractors might say that it doesn’t suit long cooking but believe me, this isn’t the case. Chef Emma Miles also recommended using a strong dark ale to braise and to make sure the steak was thoroughly browned first, so that was duly noted.
The second tip or trick that popped up in my timeline came from food writer and pressure cooker campaigner Catherine Phipps and her bold statement was to sling some smoked oysters into the pot. Namely the tinned variety. Now this practise isn’t as unusual as it sounds, as oysters used to be flung into pies with gay abandon, particularly back in the days of Queen Victoria when they were cheap and plentiful. Plus the idea of adding some smoke to the mix really did appeal, to add some extra depth to that essential gravy. So in they went too.
However, when it came to the pastry, that’s when things started to turn ugly and all the soapbox merchants started to come out of the closet. “I would go for puff.” “Why not try filo? “It should be suet for gawds’ sake!” And yes, perhaps this pie should have a suet crust, to tie in with the kidney. But I ended up plumping for an easy shortcrust, ready-made too (gasp), to make a buttery, crumbly hat to set upon a ceramic dish and contain the beautiful, bountiful filling within.
Then it really kicked off. “Don’t make a stew with a lid Urchin! I am warning you!” said some chef called Chris Brumby, who professes to know a lot about pies. Because he has like, his own business selling pies. Or something. I have been here before though and I once got into a really heated and vehement argument over the internet with some chap who took umbrage with my enthusiasm for topping with meat with discs of pastry and calling them pies. We very nearly organised to step outside to settle our differences you know. But it turned out that he lived in Germany, so it wasn’t very practical.
It does go to show just how passionate people can get about pies though and if I had to acquiesce, yeah, a proper pie should be really enveloped within a cocoon of flour and fat. But I had the children screaming at me for dinner, so I went for the quick fix. If you have the time though and are looking to make a sumptuous steak and kidney pie for British Pie Week, I would recommend you go the whole hog and make a proper casing.
Finally, after all that, you might well be asking what did I do to add to the mix? Well to make this pie all quirky and different and magical I added in…mushrooms dahling! I added sliced chestnut mushrooms to my steak and kidney pie.
Yep, that’s right and you know what? They tasted delicious so you can get off your high horse right NOW!
As is often the case with stew, you can make the filling a day before if you like and leave in the fridge overnight so that the flavours have time to develop.
Steak and Kidney Pie
- Prepare the pastry: In a large bowl, combine flour with butter and salt. Mix lightly with your fingertips until butter forms peasized pieces. Whisk together egg and 1 tablespoon of the water. Add to flour mixture all at once, mixing gently with your fingertips. You should be able to see chunks of fat, and the pastry should be moist enough to begin to stick together. If the pastry is too dry, add up to 2 more tablespoons of water.
- Turn the pastry out onto a lightly floured work surface, dust with flour, and knead it until the pastry is smooth, about 3 to 4 times. Transfer to a plastic bag and form pastry into a disk. Refrigerate a minimum of 30 minutes, or as long as 3 days.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a casserole or Dutch oven. Add the steak and kidneys, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until just browned, about 3 minutes. Remove to a plate and reserve. Add 1 more tablespoon of oil to casserole, and add mushroom quarters. Cook over high heat, stirring, until light brown. Reserve on plate with meat. Add the remaining oil to the casserole, and add onions. Cook until well browned, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and stir so that the juices soak up the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Stir the Worcestershire sauce into the hot water, and pour over the hot onion mixture while whisking. Add the reserved meats and mushrooms, and any juices that have collected, and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 3 to 4 minutes or until slightly thickened.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out the pastry to a thickness of 1/4inch. Fill a 9inch pie dish with the steak and kidney mixture. Dampen the edges of the dish with water, then fit the pastry on top, pressing it down well all around the edge to seal. Make a steam hole in the center, brush the top with milk and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Bake for 25 minutes, or until pastry is golden.