So, we have recently slaughtered a steer and have a freezer full of lovely beef. Strings of last summer’s onions and garlic hang temptingly over the kitchen bench. The wind is howling outside and rain drums loudly on the roof of our little house. What better way to fill our bellies on a wild winter evening than with a rich, hot helping of steak and kidney pie!
3 tablespoons beef drippings (or other fat for frying)
1 or 2 onions, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 beef kidney, cut into pieces
1 kg gravy beef, cut into pieces
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup bottled tomato
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt to taste
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (optional)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
a ball of “yoghurt dough” (This is a lovely recipe in the Nourishing Traditions recipe book. This pie only uses about a quarter of the quantity of dough from the recipe.)
1 egg yolk
* Heat the fat and saute the onions and celery gently in a large saucepan until they start to soften. Add meat and continue to cook. Once meat has browned, add wine, tomato and garlic and bring to a boil. Simmer over a low heat until the meat is tender. (This may take an hour or so.) Add extra wine or stock during cooking if the mixture becomes very dry. Add seasonings according to taste. You may thicken with arrowroot powder if the mixture is very runny. Alternatively, separate some of the liquid, and save it to use as a sauce to serve over the pie.
* Ladle the mixture into a pie or casserole dish (I actually used two dishes, as this recipe makes a good big quantity.) and let it cool a bit — so that the pastry doesn’t get messed up when you put it on top!
* Roll out the pastry to make a sheet big enough to cover the top of the pie dish. Lay pastry over the pie filling, press pastry to the rim of the dish, and trim off the bits that hang over the edge of the dish too much. Prick a few holes in the pastry. Beat egg yolk with 1T of water and brush onto the pastry.
* Bake in a very hot oven (220 degrees C) until pastry is golden.
What other meaty treats have we been enjoying since the steer went into the freezer? Beef liver pate, pot roast, beef stir fry, beef stock, shin bone soup, oxtail soup, raw marinated steak. . . Perhaps I’ll post some more of these recipes in the days to come.
Coming soon: I’d really like to have a go at making home-cured corned beef. Has anyone ever tried doing this? There’s a recipe in Nourishing Traditions, but somehow I’m still a little nervous as I’ve never actually seen this done before. Does anyone have any advice to offer? I’ll be sure to report back on the process and results as soon as I get up the courage to try this new culinary adventure!