Steak & kidney pie

This is a classic, an absolute must for your personal cooking repertoire. Widely known as a delicious and heart-warming meal, there are many recipes available. Here’s one that never fails.

Steak & kidney pie
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To make a steak and kidney pie, you will need:

For the shortcrust pastry:

  • 250g flour • 2 eggs • 50ml milk • 60ml water
  • 150g butter • 5ml caster sugar • 5ml salt

For the dark and fragrant interior:

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  • 900g chuck
  • 250g lamb kidneys
  • 240ml beef or chicken stock
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 onion
  • 30g plain flour
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 30ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 15g brown sugar

Shortcrust pastry is both simple and difficult at the same time. The secret is that the ingredients and the working surface should be chilled. Using iced water, a cold egg and hard butter straight from the fridge will help, as will handling the ingredients as little as possible.

Begin by sifting the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Then dice the hard butter and add it to the mixing bowl. Mix just long enough with a mixer so that it has the texture of bread crumbs. Separate an egg and drop the chilled yolk and the iced water into the mixing bowl. Briefly combine the ingredients with the mixer. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and roll it into a large ball. Wrap this in cling film and refrigerate immediately for an hour.

Clean the kidneys by discarding the thin outer membrane and the inner fatty core. Cut every kidney into six pieces, then dice the steak into 15mm cubes. Crush, peel and mince the garlic. Peel and thinly slice the onion. Bring the extra virgin olive oil to medium heat in a heavy-bottomed frying pan. Sauté the garlic and onion until soft, then remove them with a slotted spoon and reserve for later.

Brown the kidney and steak cubes in the same hot olive oil. Stir in the 30g of flour, add the cooked onion and garlic mix, then pour in the beef or chicken stock and add the brown sugar and thyme. If using fresh thyme, tie the sprigs together with cotton before use, otherwise sprinkle in a tablespoon of the dried stuff as a substitute. Bring the contents of the pan to a rolling boil, then immediately lower the heat and fit the lid. Let the contents simmer until the meat is tender.

This should take 90 minutes or so. Try to avoid over-cooking, as this will make the kidneys shrink. Remove the lid for the last 10 minutes and stir vigorously from time to time. The sauce should be thick, but if the meat combination looks too dry, a little bit of water should do the trick. Cover and cool.

Roll out the pastry. Pour the cooked meat mixture into a pie dish. Place an egg cup in the middle for structural support of the pastry. Arrange a layer of shortcrust pastry over the entire contents, sticking it to the edges of the pie dish with a little added water.

Mix the yolk of the second egg with the milk and paint this over the raw pastry as a glaze. Cut a couple of holes in the pastry for steam to escape and bake it in a preheated oven at 200°C for half an hour.