Saturday, 11 September 2010

Steak and kidney pudding

Unfortunately, this looks like dog food, but in real life it was delicious and didn't look like dog food at all

This is one of those things that seems much harder to make than it actually is. Suet pastry must be one of the most forgiving things in cookery - you really only need to vaguely guess at the measurements and it comes out perfectly okay. And the filling, well - it's just a stew.

I classify this as an easy recipe because it worked for me first time and I wasn't even really paying attention and didn't have quite enough suet.

It's from Gary Rhodes' Rhodes Around Britain. I don't tend to cook much from this book, because all he ever wants you to do is reduce stocks from 5 litres to 1 tablespoonful and I've got better things to do. Like decide what colour to paint my room where I keep unopened bank statements study.

Like most pie or pudding recipes, this is a bit of a faff and requires time but it's not difficult. If you like steak and kidney pudding, this is well worth doing one weekend when you've not got that much on. You can make both the filling and the pastry a day in advance, if you like, and stuff like this freezes really well.

Steak and Kidney pudding, for 4

Gary Rhodes' recipe was for individual puddings but come the fuck on... we are not in a restaurant. This has been bastardised in a couple of other ways too, namely the tommy k and lea and perrins.

1 pudding basin - about 1 litre - buttered

For the pastry

100g dried suet
12.5g baking powder
225g plain flour
about 150ml water

For the filling

500g ish chuck or braising steak (these come in handy 1/2 kilo packets from WAITROSE)
2 lamb's kidneys, availabe from the Waitrose meat counter, diced
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 small-ish onions or one massive one, chopped finely
5 mushrooms, quartered
1 bay leaf
some thyme
1 crushed clove of garlic
salt and pepper
1 pint chicken or veal stock (I bought mine from the chiller cabinet at Waitrose. I've never done that before, but actually it was brilliant and I really recommend it.)
150ml Guinness
beef dripping
1 squirt ketchup
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce

1 Chop up all your veg and sweat them over a low heat with the thyme and bay leaf for about 5-10 mins until soft. You can do this in vegetable oil or in butter. Not olive oil, please.Once they're soft, pour in the 150ml of Guinness, drink the remains of the can, burp richly, then boil this ale-and-veg mixture briskly until it's sort of saucy and sticky round the edges. Season with salt and pepper, add in the ketchup and worcestershire sauce. Take off the heat.

2 Fry off your beef and kidney in dripping or vegetable oil. If you're feeling really proper, pat your beef pieces dry on kitchen roll before you fry it and leave about a 2cm gap between the pieces of beef and kidney as they fry. Something awful happens if they're allowed to touch each other in the pan.

3 Add the meat to the veg-and-ale and then pour in your pint of stock. Simmer GENTLY for 1.5 hours. Let it cool.

4 To make the suet pastry, sieve the dry ingredients, then add the suet and mix round a bit. Add water splot by splot until you've got a rough-ish dough that leaves the sides of the bowl clean. It will be sort of studded with bits of suet - this is fine. Rest the dough for 20 minutes.

5 Roll out the pastry thin-ish, as it will swell on steaming. Line the pudding basin with it and then fill with your cooled steak and kidney mixture, draining the meat away from the stew liquid and having taken out the bay leaf. Trim off any remaining bits of pastry hanging over the edge of the basin and re-roll to form a lid. This bit is a bit fiddly, but don't worry if it all looks a bit rough. It's a steak and kidney pudding for god's sake, not a Faberge Egg.

6 Cover the basin with a tin foil hat and then put in a much larger pot on the hob. Fill the pot with boiling water half-way up the side of the pudding basin and then set it to a fast simmer for 2 hours. Keep an eye on the water level, as what it really likes to do is boil dry and then set the house on fire.

7 Push the left-over stew liquid through a sieve and then lenghten if you need to with some water to make a gravy you can pour over the pudding on eating. Don't be tempted to turn it out onto a plate - it's not a Christmas pudding and it will collapse under its own weight and you will cry and I don't need that on my conscience, okay?!?! Just spoon it out of the bowl.

In other news, I am thinking about painting one wall of my study pink - "Calamine" by Farrow & Ball specifically. My husband's comment was "That's amazing, you've managed to find a pink that's actually beige." Thoughts?


  1. coincidentally i just returned from tescos (thornton-cleveleys branch) armed with two bags of hollands frozen steak & kidney puddings. i always stockpile when i come up to visit my grandparents.

    as i have yet to find a shop that sells them in london i may well have a bash at this

    thank you for making it sound relatively straightforward

  2. Men are programmed to see any subtle and delicious colour as 'beige', or if they are really arty, 'taupe'

  3. get some professional photography done (or at least good lighting & camera) - stuff wont look like dog food then ;)...

  4. Is that your real kitchen or have you borrowed it off a friend who has someone "who does" come in every day? (can I imagine that mean drunk Coren swilling around in that kitchen?...Hmmm... not quite yet....)
    I wont try the delish looking steak and kidney pud because it's pearl to swine with my husband but I'll look forward to an idiot proof fish recipe.

  5. Finally! A source of recipes that look doable, and vaguely worth the effort involved! Fab blog :-)

  6. some of your 'fans' are evil!... although I agree re men and colour... but i've had one too many conversations recently with middle-class pregnant women over Farrow and Fucking Ball colours to care... in other news the pudding looks wonderful and i will no doubt make this on my return to the UK from California where i'm soaking up the Sonoma sunshine (and half the regions wine) x

  7. Hmm - may try it without the kidneys as there would be a riot here if they were included. As to the paint its too PeptoBismol for me. I prefer Setting Plaster.

  8. Going to make it because I adore suet pastry but have to admit that the kidneys will have to be 'accidentally' forgotten - they always seem to have a faint whiff of old folks' homes. Thanks for the recipe.

  9. Try sans kidneys, but with mushroom, not awful.
    How do you get it to cook in 2 hours? Mine takes about 4.........

  10. Can't beat a nice stew this time off year, thanks for sharing this recipe.