Steak and Kidney Pudding

In Victorian times, when fresh oysters were inexpensive, they were a traditional ingredient in steak and kidney pudding, placed on top of the filling, just under the suet crust. In this recipe I have used mushrooms, but this does not mean that you cannot also add the oysters.

These ingredients fill a 1.75 litre (3 pint) pudding basin.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg (2 lbs) rump, chuck or blade steak
  • 250 g (½ lb) ox or veal kidney
  • 250 g (½ lb) button or cap mushrooms, brushed and sliced
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped about 200 mls (7 oz) water, stock or ale
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Crust

  • 250 g (½ lb) self-raising flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 125 g (¼ lb) suet, grated
  • iced water

Method

Trim the meat, and dice it into 4 cm ( inch cubes. Halve the kidney, snip out the core, remove any fat, and dice the kidney.

Make the pastry by sifting the flour and salt into a bowl, then add the suet and lightly rub into the flour until you have the texture of breadcrumbs. Gradually add a little iced water. This amount of fat and flour will take about 125 mls (4 oz. With your hands or a knife, work it together just until you have a soft, pliable, but not wet dough. Lightly and briefly, knead the dough on a floured work surface until just smooth, then roll it out with quick, light strokes. Flour the dough if necessary, but sparingly, to stop it sticking, and roll out to a diameter of 30-35 cm (12-14 inches.

Grease the pudding basin, and fold the dough in four. Cut away a quarter and save this for the lid. With the broad edge outwards, fit the pastry into the basin. Press it to the sides. It will overhang the edges of the basin. Leave enough to build a pastry rim around the lip of the basin, to which you can anchor the pastry lid.

Pile the steak, kidney, onion and mushrooms into the lined pudding basin. Add the liquid, and season lightly.

Gather together all the remaining pastry trimmings, and roll out a round of pastry to generously fit the top of the basin. Pinch together where the lid joins the pastry walls, to seal it well. Cover with a round of greased greaseproof paper, pleated down the middle to allow the pudding to rise, and tie a pudding cloth over it. Place on a steamer rack in a saucepan, and pour in enough boiling water to come a quarter of the way up the basin. Cover with a lid, and steam for 2 to 2½ hours, adding more boiling water if there is a danger of the pan drying out.

Turn the pudding out onto a heated serving plate. Serve by cutting into wedges and transferring to hot dinner plates.

Carrots, celeriac and other traditional root vegetables are excellent accompaniments to the homely steak and kidney pudding.

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