Steak and Kidney Pie

Steak & Kidney Pie“ Nothing can compare with my mother's steak and kidney pie,” says James Whelan in the introduction to this recipe in his book, An Irish Butcher Shop. “I still use the same recipe with just a small tweak; where she would have used lard or dripping to cook the meat, I use olive oil.

As an all-round favourite, steak and kidney pie ticks all the boxes. It's a very satisfying dish that also freezes well for a delicious midweek treat without any fuss.”

Serves 6

2 sheep's kidneys, washed, skinned, halved, core removed, cut into 1.25 cm/
1/2 inch cubes
500 g/1 lb stewing steak (blade, flank, skirt or round), cut into 2.5 cm/
1 inch cubes
3 tablespoons plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
1 quantity flaky pastry (see below)
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7.

Put the flour and seasonings into a plastic bag and add the steak and kidney pieces, shaking to cover well.

Heat the oil in a heavy pan and brown the meat, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes. Add the water, cover tightly and simmer for at least one hour or until well cooked. Cool and stir in the parsley,

Roll out the pastry until it is slightly larger than the lid of the pie dish. Cut a strip about 2.5 cm/1 inch wide and place it around the dampened rim of the dish. Brush with cold water and spoon the steak and kidney mixture into the dish, then
cover with the remaining pastry, pressing into the pastry rim to seal.

With thumb or knife end press a pattern around the edge of the pie and glaze with the egg, making a hole in the middle to allow the steam to escape. Bake in a hot oven for 20 minutes (220°C/425°F/gas mark 7), then lower the heat to moderate (180°C/350°F/gas mark 4) and cook for a further 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden.

Of course the pie should be served with lashings of mashed potato or sometimes champ, where scallions are finely chopped and cooked in a little milk and then mixed through the creamy spuds. (A recipe for champ is given in the book.)

Flaky Pastry

“This is the key to a superb steak and kidney pie, apart from the excellent quality of meat, of course!”

350 g/12 oz plain flour
pinch of salt
225 g/8 oz cold butter
1 teaspoon lemon juice
cold water to mix

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.

Divide the butter into 4 parts and rub one portion into the flour with your fingertips.

Add lemon juice and enough cold water to make a soft dough. Roll out the dough to a rectangle.

Mark the pastry dough into thirds lightly with a knife.

Cut one portion of the butter into little bits, and sprinkle it over two-thirds of the pastry. Sprinkle a little flour over the dough and fold a third over the middle third, and then the other third on top of that.

Press the edges together and roll out again into a rectangle, and repeat with the butter portion cut into little bits and sprinkled on to the dough, which is then folded in on the centre.

Repeat again, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Use as required,

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