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The slow cooker chef: Organic steak and kidney pie for carnivores on a budget

Photo: Steak and kidney pie

Photo: Steak and kidney pie

We are eating far less meat these days. Eating superb meals most evenings.  But sometimes we long for a real alpha carnivore meal, especially as we have ditched the Cottage Smallholder Friday night steak treat – just too expensive at the moment.

This recipe is so easy, delicious and cheap. If you used non organic ingredients you could probably cut the price by at least 30% (just 62p per portion. A steal for a rich meat heavy dish.)

I decided to turn some of our shin of beef (£8.00 for 2 kilos from the organic butcher) into a slow cooked steak and kidney filling for pies. In the olden days when I was buying my meat from Fred Fitzpatrick, he would give me an enormous kidney weighing in at around 500g to go with a kilo of shin of beef. The ox kidney that I collected from the Carter Street butchers was literally a whole kidney made up of small kidneys on a central stalk. Weighing in (plus stalk) at 900g. Organic happy kidneys that cost just £3.00.

So I experimented with the kidney element. I added more than usual as I had bounty. The result was a much richer dish. The sort of supper party recipe that would go down very well with our carnivorous men friends.

I also added a lot more flour at the beginning to make a thicker automatic gravy, with a decent splosh of red wine at the end to add a bit of pizzazz to the dish. Both worked really well. This is the perfect budget meal for carnivores that need a delicious meat fix. All organic meat, carrots, onions, mushrooms, homemade Magimix pastry and it cost just 93p per large ‘Supersize Me’ portion. Even  I had seconds.and I  generally don’t return the trough.

The slow cooker chef: Organic steak and kidney pie for carnivores on a budget (10-12 large portions)

Ingredients:

  • 1250g shin of beef  (ask your butcher to dice this roughly for you). Shin of beef makes perfect steak and kidney if you have them time to let it simmer for hours. If you are in a hurry we have a quick steak and kidney recipe here
  • 1 ox kidney (available from a good butcher. I’ve also seen it at Waitrose. It has a much better flavour than lamb or pig and is easier to prepare). Ours weighed in at 900g. When I had removed the white core it weighed 7
  • 6 medium carrots, skinned, trimmed and cut into 3 cm lengths
  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 400 g of Chestnut mushrooms these are sliced, sautéed and added towards the end
  •  750ml of boiling homemade brown stock (2 x beef stock cube will do at a pinch). This must cover the meat and vegetables so adjust if necessary
  • Handful of thyme sprigs (8-10)
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  •  Half a handful of dried wild mushrooms (secret ingredient). Soaked in boiling water to cover and chopped (1 cm) when cool enough to handle (retain the juice and add to the pot)
  • 7 heaped tbsp of plain flour (seasoned with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper)
  •  A dessertspoon of Lea and Perrins Sauce
  • 2 tbsp of mushroom ketchup
  • 8 juniper berries
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1600g of shortcrust pastry (if you are making a pie for twelve .Otherwise adjust as necessary. 400g of pastry will easily cover a pie for four.)

Method:

  1. Remove the white core (our dogs love this bit simmered for ten minutes and chopped fine) from the kidney and chop into 2 cm cubes.
  2. Cut the fat from the beef but leave the gristle in. Slow cooking will break down the gristle completely and form the basis of the rich sauce.
  3. Toss the beef and kidneys in the flour to coat and add to the slow cooker
  4. Add the onions, carrots and stir well
  5. Add the balsamic, thyme, and wild mushrooms and their juice. Add a good dash of Lea and Perrins and 2 tbsp of mushroom ketchup. Add the juniper berries and peppercorns. Stir well.
  6. Add the hot stock and stir.
  7. Set the dial to auto and cook for at least 8 hours. Test the meat after 7 hours. You want melt in the mouth beef but not dog food.#
  8. Towards the end of the cooking time slice the Chestnut mushrooms and sauté in a little butter and white wine/vegetable stock until tender. Stir these into the steak and kidney filling.
  9. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  10. Pour your filling into a cold pie dish. Line the edge of the pie dish with a strip of pastry and brush with beaten egg before putting on the lid. Press the lid firmly with a finger all the way round before trimming the lid (leave half a cm overhang to allow for shrinkage). Make a couple of holes in the top to allow air to escape and brush with beaten egg or milk.
  11.  Bake in the centre of the oven at 180c (160c fan) for 30 minutes and then increase the heat to 200c (180c fan) for ten minutes to brown the top if necessary.
  12. Serve on warm plate with green vegetables. Such as broccoli and runner beans or peas.

  Leave a reply

11 Comments

  1. Belinda

    How many pies will you get from a batch this big?

    Almost 2kg of carnivorous delight in there..
    Im guessing at least 4 that will serve 4

  2. Yummy! I have to say I am squeamish with the whole kidney idea but I am a HUGE pie fan. I had a spat of making these over the winter (oooh I like using that as a past tense – under the illusion we’re moving into spring!). Enjoy your pies :) x PS our chooks are laying again! 7 eggs in 3 weeks after none for 9 months!

  3. I have enjoyed wandering around your blog today.
    I especially love the sound of this particular pie.
    Our good friends dished up steak & kidney pie for us last weekend, your recipe is slightly different, but supberb nonetheless!!
    I hadn’t thought of adding juniper berries, do they enrich the flavour?
    I would like to try this…very soooon :0)
    Thank you for sharing.

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Belinda

    I reckon that you could get 3 pies for four people. Especially if you doubled the mushrooms. They have a meatiness and are great for padding out steak and kidney pie!

    Hi Gemma

    First – GREAT that your chickens are laying again. The 9 month gap must have been a bit testing. I wonder why it was so long?

    I love pies too. We eat loads – throughout the year. Even in the summer it’s chilly in the evenings in Eastern England.

    The good thing about the food processor pastry is that you can roll it out really thin so it’s not too fattening and it’s much cheaper than the pre made stuff and is better too!

    Hi Lesley

    Juniper berries add to the depth of flavour. Great in game casseroles and pies too!

    The extra kidney in this recipe made it far richer. But if you are entertaining an anti offal eater they wouldn’t be put off by this as the flavour is meaty rather than a true blue ‘kidney dish’.

    Thanks for dropping by.

  5. Michelle in NZ

    All seems grest – except for the kidneys for me. Just don’t like the texture. Am okay with Ks cooked with other stuff, just so long as I don’t have to eat the K stuff – I WILL remove it. Hey – means more K stuff for everyone else.

    Coo loathes and loves, don’t they last. I have come to like Mushrooms, capsicums (peppers except yukky green), cucumber that I hated as a child. cannot stand fresh coriander and kidneys any which way. Tripe is a threat to life …. and so it goes.

    Yet we find other ways and love our frugal so super yummo food. Will stop raving and go to beddy bise with Zebbycat and foody dreams (hope D’s pork belly is part of this)

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Michelle in NZ

    Great. I’d love you to be at the table if this was served as I’d get extra kidney! Offal is fashionable in the UK now but only with 20% of the population. So I’d always ask first before inviting anyone to eat an offal infused meal. Only really suitable for real carnivore foodies.

    Not keen on tripe too.

    Best wishes to you all and many strokes for the moggie.

  7. mooncatsmum

    Sounds delish! I love kidneys (except pigs’)
    have you tried making it using suet pastry and steaming it in the slow cooker? Absolutely scrummy result and the pastry stays dry.

  8. Fiona Nevile

    HI Mooncatsmum

    This is superb. I’d really like to try making it in suet pastry and steaming it in the slow cooker but could I steam it for eight hours?

  9. mooncatsmum

    I think you’d need to experiment with times, I balanced the pie on a large stainless steel scone cutter (no trivet to fit the cooker) and half filled with boiling water and left it on low for about 6 hours. it was great-no kitchen full of steam and no risk of boiling dry!

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hello Mooncatsmum

      Thanks for this. I’ll definitely try this next time that I invest in shin of beef and kidney!

  10. detoxdietlady

    every food that we eat should come from Organic Farming. i really get scared about those toxins coming from chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides. I only eat foods which are certified that they are organically grown

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