Steak And Kidney Pudding is one of England’s most famous national dishes, first written down in 1840 by Anne Cobbett, in her book, ‘The English Housekeeper’ where she recommended adding kidney to a beefsteak pudding (also known as John Bull Pudding). The addition of the kidney to a normal steak pudding gives the gravy a real depth of flavour, which is unmistakable, and without it there seems to be something lacking in this suet steamed pudding. In Victorian times oysters took the place of the mushrooms, when oysters were as cheap as mushrooms are today. If you want a traditional recipe, which tastes so, so good, which will keep you and your family or guests coming back for more, then this is it … hearty and comforting just doesn’t begin to describe it.
Steak & Kidney Pudding Recipe
Serves 6 to 8 people. You need a large 1.5 litre pudding basin.
- 850g rump steak
- 250g ox kidney
- 250g mushrooms (or oysters if making it Victorian)
- 40g plain flour
- 35oml beef stock
- 100ml red wine
- 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- ground sea-salt and black pepper (to taste)
suet crust pastry (700g)
- 450g plain flour
- 200g shredded suet
- 100ml cold water (as needed)
- 1 tsp ground sea-salt
- 3 level tsp baking powder
- butter to thickly grease the pudding basin
Making the suet pastry: more on making a suet crust pastry. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Mix in the chopped shredded suet and salt into the flour. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and gradually mix in the water with the back of a dull knife. The dough will become soft and start to come away from the edges of the bowl, leaving it clean.
Turn the pastry suet dough out on to a floured work surface and knead it gently until it is free from cracks. Pinch off just under a third of the pastry dough, roll it into a ball and cover in cling film, reserve this for the pudding pastry lid. Roll out the remaining pastry at once, to about 5mm thick, don’t be too heavy rolling it out, and use it to line the well greased (thickly buttered) 1.5 litre pudding basin. Cover and reserve.
Making the pie filling: Trim the rump steak of all the skin and fat and cut it into bite-sized pieces (about 2.5 cm). Put the cubes of steak in a small bag – don’t seal it. Then tenderise the steak cubes pieces by beating them flatter with a rolling pin. Sprinkle in a half the flour and a pinch of ground sea-salt and black pepper – shake the bag to fully coat the steak. Pour the seasoned steak, coated in seasoned flour, out of the bag into a bowl.
Remove the skin and core the kidneys and dice them. Add the kidney pieces to the floured bag, add the rest of the flour, and a pinch of ground sea-salt and black pepper. Shake the bag to coat the kidneys.
- Heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large non-stick frying pan and fry the steak, in batches, over a medium heat, adding extra oil as needed, until the steak pieces are well-browned all over. Do it in batches to keep the heat of the frying pan up high, to brown and seal the meat, not stew it. Remove the steak from the frying pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl. Fry off all the steak.
- Return the frying pan to the heat and repeat the process with the kidneys, frying on both sides until they are all well-browned – they will take a shorter time and need to be fried separately. Remove the kidneys from the frying pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to the bowl with the cooked steak.
- Do the same with the mushrooms. Quarter them and fry them in a little oil and transfer them to the bowl with the steak and kidney.
- Deglaze the frying pan with the red wine – pour all of the wine and the deglazed bits over the meat and mushrooms in the bowl.
Allow the meat and mushrooms in the bowl to cool. Once cool add everything in the bowl (including the juices and wine) into the suet lined pudding basin. Pour in enough of the beef stock just to cover everything (top up with more stock or red wine if needed). Season with a little ground sea-salt and black pepper and a dash of Worcestershire Sauce.
Roll out the remaining pastry for the pudding lid. Put on the lid, damping the top edge of the suet crust liner with a little cold water to make it stick. Seal tightly.
Steaming the pudding: Cut a round, large sheet of baking parchment (or greaseproof paper) and one of foil slightly bigger so they will come down at least 10 cm (4 inches) over the sides of the basin. Lay the baking parchment on top of the foil and fold a large pleat down the centre of both (to allow for any pudding expansion). Lay the sheets over the top of the pudding basin (foil side up) and secure around the sides with string – wrap the string around the pudding basin several times tightly and tie the string off to make sure the foil top is secured down firmly and the pudding is sealed. Trim off any excess foil and paper if it is too long. You can even make a string handle by looping it over the top and tying it off under the string going around the basin.
Stand the pudding basin in a deep saucepan (which has a tight fitting lid) on an upturned heatproof plate (or metal bars etc.) to raise it off the bottom of the saucepan – add a little water under the plate to get rid of any air pockets. Pour in boiling water to come just under half way up the side of the pudding basin.
Bring the water to the boil and steam the pudding for 3 hours. Do not let the water go off the boil while the pudding is cooking, and add more boiling water from time to time to maintain the level. Once the Steak And Kidney Pudding has been steamed remove and dry the pudding basin.
Serve the Steak & Kidney Pudding (traditionally in the basin with a clean napkin or tea-towel pinned round it). Serve with creamy mashed potatoes and peas or, on a cold winter’s day, serve with buttered swedes. Use a sharp knife to cut through the suet pasty lid and spoon out each portion to the plate.