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Seeking Sustenance in Lotusland

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Steak and Kidney Pie [Jan. 22nd, 2008|03:30 pm]
Seeking Sustenance in Lotusland


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My Grandmother would make steak and kidney for my Father at least once during her visits to The Coast, much to my Father's utter delight.  The only thing I remember about the experience is that at eight years of age I was far too young to appreciate the piquancy of kidney.  I distinctly remember tucking the cubes of kidney firmly into my right cheek until I could be excused from the table and surreptitiously spit them into the cat's food bowl. 

Adapted from Delia Smith's recipe

Steak and Kidney Pie

Ingredients for the filling
1 lb (450 g) steak, round or sirloin
1 lamb kidney
1 oz (25 g) olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 ½ - 3 tablespoons flour
½ level teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
25 fl oz (750) fresh beef stock
salt and freshly milled black pepper

Preparation for the filling

Pre-heat the oven to 275°F (140°C).

You will also need a sloping-sided tin or pie plate with a 7 inch (18 cm) base, lightly greased, a lidded, flameproof casserole with a capacity of 4 pints (2.25 litres) and a solid baking sheet.

Begin by trimming the steak and cutting it into 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes. Then trim the lamb kidney and chop it minutely small.  Heat the oil in the casserole. Dry the meat with kitchen paper and, when the oil is really hot, add a few cubes at a time to brown on all sides, removing them to a plate as they brown.  After that, add all the pieces of kidney and after browning these remove them to join the steak.

Now, keeping the heat high, fry the chopped onion for 6-7 minutes or until it's nicely browned at the edges. Then return all the meat to the casserole and stir in the flour to soak up all the juices. Next, add the thyme, followed by the Worcestershire sauce. Add a good seasoning of salt and pepper and then gradually stir in the stock and bring the whole lot to simmering point. Reduce the liquid to your desired thickness but remember that during the baking process the gravy will continue to thicken.  If you choose to make a top crust pie with a saucy gravy you will not need to reduce the liquid amount as much as if you were making a double crust pie.  Put a lid on the casserole and place on the centre shelf of the oven for 2 hours. When the meat is cooked taste to check the seasoning and leave it to get cold.

Before the pastry lid goes on...the gravy glistening with the rich homemade beef stock.

Ingredients for the pastry

8 oz (225 g) flour, plus a little extra for rolling
pinch salt
2 oz (50 g) butter, cut into smallish lumps
2 oz (50 g) vegetable shortening

1 egg, beaten with a tablespoon of milk, to glaze

Preparation for the pastry and final assembly

To make the pastry, sift the flour with the salt, holding the sieve up high to give it a good airing. Then add the butter and the shortening and, using only your fingertips, lightly and gently rub the fat into the flour. When the mixture is crumbly, sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of cold water. Start to mix the pastry with a knife and finish with your hands, adding a more water as necessary for a smooth dough. Wrap the pastry in cling film and place in the refrigerator to rest.

Pre-heat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and place a baking sheet on a high shelf to pre-heat as well. To make the pie, first cut the pastry in half and, on a lightly floured surface, thinly roll out one half into a circle approximately 11 in (28 cm) in diameter. Now transfer the circle, first rolling it over the pin and then over the base of the tin, and press it lightly and firmly around the base, sides and rim. Now take a sharp knife and trim the overlapping pastry and, after that, spoon in the filling.

Now roll the remaining pastry out in the same way. Brush the rim of the base pastry with a little of the beaten egg and milk glaze and fit the other pastry circle on the top to form a lid. Press the edges firmly together, then trim off the excess and flute the edges. Finally, if you want to decorate the pie, gather up the trimmings and re-roll them to cut out leaf shapes. Either way, make a small hole in the centre (to allow the steam to escape). Then brush the surface all over with the beaten egg and milk glaze.

Alternatively you can roll out half the pastry, reserving the remaining dough for another use or another pie and make a top crust pie.

Now place the pie on the baking tray and bake for 10 minutes. After that, reduce the temperature to 350°F (180°C) and cook for a further 40-45 minutes, or until it is piping hot and has turned a deep golden-brown.

Let the pie relax for about 10 minutes before serving.

I choose to make this pie using only a top crust as I wanted the extra gravy to be absorbed into the mascarpone whipped potatoes that I was serving the steak and kidney pie with.

The final product.  A hearty dinner for a cold winter evening.  Plus I have another steak and kidney pie in the freezer just waiting for a weekend night when I'm too busy to fiddle with dinner.  Perhaps after being out skiing or snow-shoeing?