This is, I think, the ultimate in British comfort food - perfect for the Winter months of the year. Because of the preparation and cooking time you need to plan ahead when undertaking this dish, but I have found it to be foolproof and most rewarding and appreciated.
Steak & Kidney Pudding
675g Braising Steak
225g Ox Kidney
2 Celery Sticks
2 large Carrots
1 Garlic Clove
1 Sprig of Fresh Thyme
30g Beef Dripping
30g Unsalted Butter
850ml Veal Stock (use Beef stock if you cannot find Veal)
225g Plain Flour
15g Baking Powder
110g Beef Suet
225g Button Mushrooms
Salt & Pepper to season
- Dice the Braising Steak and Ox Kidney into 2.5cm pieces. Fry the steak and kidney in the Beef Dripping until nicely browned and set aside.
- Roughly chop the Celery Sticks, Carrots, Onion, Garlic and Thyme Sprig into pieces. Gently sweat the chopped vegetables in a large pan with the Unsalted Butter - do not allow to brown.
- Add the Guiness to the sweated vegetables, increase the heat and reduce the liquid by half. Once the Guiness has reduced add the fried meat (including the dripping) and the Veal Stock (Beef Stock works equally well if you can't find Veal) and bring the pan to a simmer. Cover the pan and continue to gently simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Check the seasoning. Remove the vegetables and reserve. Allow the meat and gravy to cool.
- Sieve the Plain Flour and Baking Powder together with a pinch of salt into a bowl (or food processor). Mix in the Beef Suet and gradually add 150ml Water until the dough is soft (but not sticky). The mixture should be light and spongy - never wet. Cover the dough and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
- Take two thirds of the dough, roll it out on a floured surface so that it will line a 1 1/2 litre Pudding Basin. Grease the Pudding Basin with butter and line with the rolled out 2/3 of the dough (do not trim any excess dough over the edges of the basin).
- Remove the meat from the gravy using a slotted spoon and transfer to the lined Pudding Basin. Once all the meat has been transferred gently add the gravy to the pudding basin until the liquid is two-thirds of the way up the sides (reserve any unused liquid). Add the Button Mushrooms.
- Moisten the top edge of the crust of the dough in the Pudding Basin using a pastry brush and a little water. Roll out the remaining dough so as to make a lid for the pudding. Press firmly to seal on the moistened top edge. Moisten any excess dough over the edges of the Basin and roll the edges over inwards, pressing lightly.
- To steam the pudding, put a double pleat in a piece of foil (so as to allow the dough crust to rise and expand) and loosely cover the top of the pudding so that the foil comes at least 2 cm below the external ridge of the basin all the way round. Secure the foil with string under the external ridge of the basin and use the string to make a "bucket" handle so as to lift the basin - make sure the handle is not too tight across the top of the pudding as it will expand.
- Lower the Pudding Basin into a large saucepan of boiling water which should only come halfway up the side of the Basin, replace the lid of the saucepan and steam for 2 hours (Checking and topping up the water level as necessary).
- 20 minutes before the pudding is ready liquidise the reserved vegetables and strain through a chinois or fine sieve into a saucepan. Add the reserved surplus Gravy liquid and warm to make a gravy to serve with the pudding.
- When the Pudding has finished cooking lift it from the water using the string handle. Cut away the string and remove the foil. The pudding can be served from the Basin (wrap the basin in a clean white napkin to frame the fluffy dough lid of the pudding) or alternatively the pudding can be carefully turned out onto a dish.
- Total time: 5 hours
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