Steak and kidney pie is a hugely popular English dish which sees succulent pieces of beef steak and kidney contained in a shortcrust (or sometimes flaky or puff) pastry pie. In a similar way, the once local delicacy that is Yorkshire pudding is now widely popular throughout the entire United Kingdom and even far beyond. While these puddings are most often made in the present day on a smaller scale (around the size of a tennis ball) larger ones are very often featured on British pub grub menus, filled with a variety of different stews and other creations. This recipe combines these two great English classics to produce a hearty, satisfying and authentically English meal.
There are several cuts of beef suitable for inclusion in this recipe, from skirt, to shin to flank. It basically must be a type of meat which is suited to long, slow stewing and if in any doubt, you should seek advice at your point of purchase to avoid potential culinary disaster and disappointment.
Ingredients (Serves 1)
- ½ pound stewing beef steak
- ¼ pound beef/ox kidney
- ½ small white onion
- Vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ pint English brown ale (or a stout, such as Guinness, also works)
- ½ pint fresh beef stock
- 3 medium sized chestnut mushrooms
- 2 small eggs
- All purpose (plain) flour, similar quantity by volume to eggs
- Whole cream milk, similar quantity by volume to eggs
- 1 cup frozen garden peas
- Malt vinegar
Chop the steak and kidney to around one inch to one and a half inch pieces, or ask in store for this to be done on your behalf. If chopping the kidney yourself, cut away and discard the white fatty deposits in the center. Pour a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in to a large pot and add the meat along with the peeled and finely sliced onion half. Season with salt, pepper and the dried thyme.
Put the pot on to a medium to high heat and stir for two or three minutes with a wooden spoon until the meat is evenly browned and the onion strands are just softened and starting to glisten.
Pour in the beef stock and the brown ale and turn the heat up to achieve a simmer. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer for an initial one and a half hours, checking the liquid level every half hour and giving the stew a brief stir. It shouldn't be necessary but a little boiling water can be added if required.
When the stew has been simmering for the initial one and a half hours, wash or wipe the mushrooms, cut off any damaged stalk ends and quarter them down through the center. Add them to the pot, stir well and bring back to a simmer for a further one hour.
An easy way to measure out the eggs, milk and flour for the Yorkshire pudding batter is to use three identical ramekins, small cups or bowls. Start by breaking the eggs in to the first ramekin. Subsequently fill a second one to the same level with milk and the third with flour. It really is vital to have identical quantities of each ingredient.
Put the eggs, milk and flour in to a large mixing bowl and season with a little salt. There are some chefs who also advocate including a small splash of malt vinegar at this stage but that is not essential.
Beat with a whisk just until all the ingredients are combined and refrigerate briefly until the cooking vessel is ready.
Half an hour before your stew is due to be ready (when it has been simmering for a total of two hours), pour a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in to a seven inch diameter casserole dish and put the dish in to your cold oven. Start the oven and dish heating to 450F/220C/Gas Mark 8.
After about fifteen minutes, when the oven and dish are up to the required heat, carefully lift the dish from the oven to a heat proof surface. Being wary of sputtering and splashing, pour the cold batter in to the hot oil. Return the dish to the oven for twenty to twenty-five minutes.
When the stew is ready, turn off the heat and allow it to rest for ten minutes or so while the Yorkshire pudding completes cooking.
Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil and add the frozen peas. Simmer for three minutes before draining through a colander or sieve at your sink. Season with a little pepper and malt vinegar while the peas are still in the sieve and shake gently to evenly disperse the seasonings.
The Yorkshire pudding should have risen to about twice the height of the casserole dish. It should be crisp and golden on the outside but still moist and a bit chewy on the inside.
A large slotted spoon is best used to lift the pudding to a deep plate.
Using the slotted spoon again, carefully add the stew to the inside of the Yorkshire pudding to fill. Drizzle the meat with a little bit of the gravy. Spoon the peas around the edges of the Yorkshire pudding and serve immediately.