The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Quick Steak and Kidney Pie Recipe

quick steak and kidney pieThis was the pie that I used to make before I discovered the merits of slow cooking. It does not quite have the soul of our Slow Cooked Steak and Kidney Pie Recipe but it is delicious.

It’s well worth making if you are pressed for time and are willing to splash out a bit more on the meat than for the slow version. I always cruise past the cut price food section at Tesco and snap up any reduced priced packs of steak to freeze for this pie. Sometimes I run this up for Danny as a treat if he has had a bad day.

This pie also magically attracts other men to our kitchen table.
“Hi, this is Fiona. We are cooking Steak and Kidney pie on Saturday. Would you like to come?”
“What time would you like us to arrive?”
Rather than
“Hi,this is Fiona. Would you like to come for supper on Saturday night?”
“Thanks for the invite but I’ll have to ask Brenda/check my diary/get permission from my doctor”

One Saturday afternoon I had issued the S&K invitations At tea time I felt a bit tired and thought that I might roast a chicken instead. I ran this crazy lazy whim past Danny who was propped beside his computer. There was an extended intake of breath. I shot downstairs and threw together the pie. For accompaniments, all you need is one green veg and a few spuds. Most of the work is in the pie preparation stage. Once the pie is in the oven you can put your feet up.

The recipe is basically the same as our slow cooked Steak and Kidney Pie. The only changes are the type of steak and kidney and the cooking times. The secret is the dried porcini mushrooms (use dried mixed wild mushrooms at a pinch) and the mushroom ketchup. These are essential ingredients for a good depth of flavour. If you don’t have these ingredients don’t make the pie.

Quick Steak and Kidney Pie recipe (for 4)

500g of braising steak
200g of lambs kidneys
3 carrots, skinned, trimmed and cut into 3 cm lengths
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 Portobellini mushrooms (or Portabello) Chopped into 1 cm cubes
0.5 pt/250ml of homemade brown stock (beef stock cube will do at a pinch)
Handful of thyme sprigs (4-5)
0.5 tsp balsamic vinegar
½ small handful of porcini mushrooms (secret ingredient). Soaked in boiling water to cover and chopped (1 cm) when cool enough to handle (retain the juice)
1 tbsp of potato flour (for thickening at the end – another secret ingredient)
2 tbsp cooking oil (we use olive oil)
2 tbsp of plain flour
1 tsp of Lea and Perrins Sauce
1 tbsp of mushroom ketchup
4 juniper berries (optional)
5 black peppercorns
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

For the puff pastry top (we cheat here):

1 pack of puff pastry
1 egg or a little milk to glaze

Method: for the filling:

1. Remove the white cores (our dogs love this bit) from the kidneys and chop into 2 cm cubes.
2. Cut the fat and gristle from the beef and chop into 2 cm chunks.
3. Toss the beef and kidneys in the flour to coat
4. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large saucepan in a large heavy based saucepan or casserole (with a lid) and in batches, quickly brown the meat well over a medium heat. Stir every now and then so the meat doesn’t stick. Set aside when browned in a warm place.
5. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil to the saucepan and add the onions. Stir well to insure that they are covered with the oil. Cook over a low heat for five minutes, covered.
6. Add the carrots. Stir to cover with the juices and leave for two minutes.
7. Add the meat and the stock. Stir well and increase to heat to medium.
8. Bring to simmering point and add the balsamic vinegar, thyme, and porcini mushrooms and their juice. Add the Lea and Perrins, mushroom ketchup, juniper berries and peppercorns. Stir well.
9. Simmer gently (lid on) for an hour and a half. Depending on the quality of the steak, the meat may be tender after an hour. So set a timer and check. This is generally a good idea as after an hour you have given the meat long enough to develop its flavour and you can make adjustments if necessary.
10. Towards the end of the cooking time add the portobellini mushrooms and simmer gently for 20 minutes (a decent stew will benefit from resting overnight. We often pre cook the filling for our pie the day before it is needed. Then we add the mushrooms the next day when we heat the mixture before adding the pastry and baking the pie).
11. Whilst the mushrooms are cooking add a little of the gravy (liquid from the stew) to the potato flour to make a wet paste (no lumps) and stir it this into the stew. Simmer for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Method: for the pastry top:
We cheat here, and buy a pack of ready-rolled puff pastry. It works so much better than shortcrust, soaking up the sauce on the plate and looks pretty.
1. Put the steak and kidney filling into a cold pie dish
2. Line the edge of the pie dish with a strip of pastry and brush with beaten egg before putting on the lid.
3. Press the lid firmly with a finger all the way round before trimming the lid (leave 0.5 cm overhang to allow for shrinkage).
4. Make a couple of holes in the top to allow air to escape, add any pastry decorations (I usually cut leaves from the pastry trimmed from the corners of the pie dish) and brush all the pastry with beaten egg.
5. 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. When we followed the instructions on the pack to cook at 220c (200c fan), the pastry burnt on the top and was soggy underneath.

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1 Comment

  1. It may be quick to make but I suggest starting about 6 in the morning because it will take about 5 hours to drive round the country getting all the ingredients

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