Steak and Kidney Pie
Most people I know turn their noses up at offal but I am genuinely a huge fan. I have no problem with what it is and I really do like the flavour. My husband on the other hand is not such a fan so I have to try and sneak it into my cooking. A great way of doing that is in a pie. Especially a pie that also contains beef and Guinness. Pies are the perfect comfort food for a grey winters day. I love many flavours of pie but my all time favourite is steak and kidney. The Aussies like to think they are champion pie makers, but the famous Aussie meat pie is missing one key ingredient: kidneys.
If you don’t want to go to the effort of making a pie, this recipe also works well as a stew. I have also done a cheats pie, whereby I make the stew then serve it with a disc of puff pastry I cook separately. Definitely a quick pie fix, if you don’t have the extra time to bake the pie. It saves at least an hour in the cooking process.
Of course, if you really don’t like kidney you could leave it out and increase the amount of beef, but I think you should try the kidneys just once more before you declare your dislike of these tasty organs. It has become very trendy over recent years to waste less and be more sustainable in your eating and using the offal is certainly a good start. Chefs such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Fergus Henderson have been championing the nose-to-tail eating and both of them have cook books full of ideas for making tasty dishes out of offal.
I have called this recipe steak and kidney pie, but instead of using chuck steak, which is the usual meat for this dish I have used gravy beef. The term gravy beef confused me for a long time when I moved to Australia. I had never heard of this cut of meat. What it actually is, is shin, or Osso Buco without the bone. I guess they call it gravy beef because it’s only really good for slow cooking in gravy. Either way it is a good alternative to chuck steak and easier to come by Down Under.
Steak and Kidney Pie (serves 4-6)
750kg Gravy beef
olive oil for frying
2 leeks, white part only
25g plain flour
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
500ml beef stock
1 bay leaf
200g button mushrooms
salt and pepper
1 quantity of rough puff pastry or two sheets of shop bought pastry.
1 egg yolk
Cut your beef into 2cm cubes. Prepare your kidneys. Cut them in half through the centre and remove the tough, white fatty bit. If you have never done this before check out this video as tough bits in the centre of your kidneys will put people off if they are already a little cautious about eating them.
Heat a large, heavy based pan to medium high heat and add a little olive oil. Fry the beef and kidneys in batches until brown all over and remove from the pan and set aside.
Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and rinse under cold running water to get rid of any dirt. Finely slice. Heat a little more oil in the pan and add the leeks. Slowly fry on a medium heat for 10 minutes until cooked but not coloured. Add the flour and tomato paste to the leeks and stir. This should make a thick paste with the remainder of the oil.
Gradually add the Guinness to the paste, stirring so the liquid thickens. If you add the liquid too quickly the sauce will go lumpy. Return the beef and kidneys to the pan with any juices that have come out of the meat. Add the bay leaf and a few shakes of the Worcestershire sauce. Put a lid on the pan and simmer gently for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. It will be cooked after about an hour, but the meat will still be tough so the longer you leave the meat to simmer the more tender it will become. The meat will continue to cook as you bake the pie but you want it to be tender before filling the pie.
Just before you are ready to fill the pie, add the mushrooms. If they are small they can be added whole; halve or quarter any large ones. At this point you need to remove the bay leaf as well.
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Now you are ready to fill your pie. You could buy the pastry but I think you can’t beat homemade. I love Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe, which can be found online here. If you are going to make the pastry you will need to make it while the beef is cooking and leave it to rest for at least 30 minutes before you are ready to roll.
Divide the pastry into two portions, a third and two thirds of the block. The larger piece is for the bottom of the pie dish and the smaller piece for the top. Roll out the larger piece so it is about 2ml thick. Line your pie dish with the pastry making sure you have at least 1cm overhang all the way round the dish.
Fill the pie with the meat until it is bulging over the top of the pie case then fill with the gravy until the pie case is nearly full. Top with a circle of pastry about a centimeter larger than the circumference of the pie. Pinch the edges together and glaze the pie with an egg yolk mixed with 20ml milk.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 45-60 minutes until the pie crust is golden and cooked. Serve with mashed potato, peas and any excess gravy from the pie mix.