Steak and Kidney Pie

Source: Guardian newspaper

1 1/4 kg stewing beef (shin is particularly good for this)
500 g ox kidney
50 g plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon mustard powder, sifted
Salt and pepper
75 g beef dripping or cooking oil
175 g smoked streaky bacon
500 g onions
500 g carrots
500 ml stout beer (e.g. Guinness)
2 bay leaves
225 g shortcrust pastry or puff pastry (as preferred)

Chop up the onion quite roughly. Cut the bacon into thick matchsticks and the carrots into 1 cm-thick sections (quarter them if they are big).

Heat half the dripping or oil in a casserole and when it is good and hot chuck in the bacon and vegetables. Stir, reduce the heat and leave to soften up nicely.

Cut the beef into 2.5 – 4 cm pieces, discarding any obvious lumps of fat or gristle.

Mix the flour , mustard powder, salt and pepper in a bowl. Roll the beef chunks through the mixture and then pop them into a heated frying pan in which you have heated the rest of the dripping/oil to smoking point. Make sure you brown the meat well. Transfer the browned pieces of beef into the casserole. While all this is going on, attend to the kidney.

Cut away the inner core of fat and whatever, and cut the rest into bite-size chunks. Then give it the flour/mustard/salt/pepper treatment and pop the kidneys into the hot frying pan. It doesn’t matter if there isn’t much fat left – just stir them around to prevent them sticking. After a couple of minutes or so add the kidneys to the casserole and stir everything around.

Pour the stout into the frying pan and, over a gentle heat, scrape up all the gunge on the bottom of the pan then pour the whole lot into the casserole. The liquid should cover the meat so if it doesn’t, take the lid off a second bottle of stout and top up. Bung in a couple of bay leaves, put on the lid and bring to a simmer. Take off the lid and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours until the meats are just tender but not disintegrating. The juice should have reduced and taken on a velvet glow by now and if it hasn’t, move the meat and vegetables into the pie dish, turn up the heat under the casserole and reduce until you get the desired concentration and quality.

Pour the juice over the meat, cover and set aside to cool down, preferably overnight. If you need to plough ahead, however, no matter.

If you’re using puff pastry, turn the oven to 220 degrees C/425 degrees F/Gas 7; if shortcrust, to 200 degrees C/400 degrees F/Gas 6.

Roll out the pastry of your choice and stick it on top of the mixture in the pie dish. Make a slit in the top to let out the steam, brush all over with a mixture of egg and milk beaten together and decorate with pastry ships or birds or leaves, if you must, and bake for 15 – 20 minutes.

After that, and whichever type of pastry you are using, turn down the heat to 180 degrees C/350 degrees F/Gas 4 and bake for another 15 – 20 minutes.