In Brtish food terms, steak and kidney pudding is not that old. The usual suspects like Hannah Glasse and Aliza Acton wrote in the 1700s and mid-1800s about mutton puddings and steak in suet pastry, but the kidneys seem to have arrived by stealth. Mrs Beeton wrote the first complete recipe for steak and kidney pudding in 1859. It is likely that the kidneys were added for reasons of economy and as a means to use up offal. The original called for oysters rather than mushrooms because oysters were inexpensive, trash food in the 1850s. Mushrooms were quite hard to come by.
This recipe is adapted from that of the late Gary Rhodes. Chef Gary wrote the recipe for a large, 2-pint pudding basin. When we cooked it, we made six individual puddings.
Steak and kidney pudding
- For the filling:
- 2 tbsp beef dripping
- 500g beef chuck, chopped into 2cm dice
- 250g lamb kidneys, chopped into 2cm dice
- 2 tbsp neutral oil
- 2 carrot, diced
- 2 sticks of celery, diced
- 2 onions, diced
- 300ml stout
- 1 bay leaf
- 60ml beef stock
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the suet pastry:
- 300g self-raising flour
- 150g shredded suet
- 200ml water
- Pinch of salt
To make the filling:
Grab two frying pants. Put beef dripping in one and a little oil in the other. Fry the meat and kidneys in the beef fat until browned, and gently fry the vegetables and mushrooms in the oil unit softened. Add the stout to the veg and reduce by two thirds.
Combine the veg, reduced stout, browned meat and stock in one pan with the bay leaf. Simmer on low for 1.5 hours.
Once cooked, strain the meat and veg, reserving the cooking liquid.
To make the pastry:
Combine flour and salt in a mixer (dough hook), crumble in the suet. Add water gradually until it comes together. Wrap and chill.
Roll out and cut out circles to fill your pudding basin(s) and make the lid(s). Thickness should be 1cm for a big pudding, and maybe 0.5mm for smaller ones.
To assemble and cook:
Line the pudding basin(s) with the pastry with a good overlap over the rim. Spoon in the filling and pour in enough sauce to just cover. Fold the excess pastry over the top of the pudding(s) , wet the edges and crimp the pastry lid(s) on top.
Use whatever steamer you prefer to steam the puddings for 1.5 hours. Release with a small palette knife, turn out and serve.