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Steak and Kidney Pudding

Did you know that the French never use mint in their cooking? The very mention of lamb with mint sauce will have them howling with derision. I find this surprising, considering it is a basic ingredient  for the large Middle Eastern population living amongst them. But then, neither do they use black currants at all except in the basis of an aperitif. Even more staggering - they do not even have a word for suet. I would be interested to know how Madame, should she be so inclined, would go about preparing this week’s recipe.

Suet is the dense fat which surrounds the kidneys of cattle and sheep and is essential in the  traditional sweet and savoury English steamed puddings. It is now difficult to get in its original form but is sold in a dehydrated version in most supermarkets.

As a child, my  mother would serve us steak and kidney pudding every second Monday. My brother and I called it Snake and Pygmy but those were the days before PC madness.

You won’t find it too often on restaurant menu’s but when you do and it is well prepared it is food of the Gods. My favourite English traditional, restaurant, which I have in past articles mentioned, is still Rules in London’s Covent Garden, where sweet and savoury suet puddings are served on a daily basis. Those Froggies just do not know what they are missing.

The following recipe is with thanks to that great Maestro of the English kitchen, Antony Worrall Thompson.

Steak and kidney pudding

Serves 6

• 675g chuck steak, cut into 2.5 cm cubes
• 225g ox kidney, cut into 2.5 cm cubes
• 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
• 1 large pinch celery salt
• 2 tbsp plain flour
• 1 tsp thyme leaves
• 150ml fresh beef stock
• salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the pastry:
• 400g self-raising flour
• ½ tsp salt
• 200g beef suet
• 290ml cold water
• freshly ground black pepper, to taste


• Place the steak and kidney into a large bowl. Stir in the onion, celery salt, pepper, salt and thyme leaves. Put the steak and kidney mixture in a sealed bag add the flour and shake to coat well. Place the batches of the meat mixture into a sieve (with a glass bowl underneath) and shake to remove any excess flour.

• For the pastry, sift the flour and the salt into a large bowl. Add the suet and pepper. Lightly mix and add the water a little at a time. Cut through the dough using a round bladed knife as if you were making scones. Using your hands mix to form a soft dough. Cut out about a quarter of the pastry mixture for the lid and set aside.

• On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the remaining pastry into a round disc about 0.5 to 1cm thick. Use this to line a well-buttered 1.75ltr pudding basin, leaving at least 1cm of the pastry hanging over the edge.

• Place the floured meat into the pudding basin lined with the pastry. Do not push the meat filling into the basin. Add the fresh beef stock nearly two thirds to the top, not covering the meat completely.

• Place the pastry lid over the filling and fold the border over. Press the pastry together securely to seal. Cover the pudding with a double piece of buttered foil, pleated in the middle. Tie in place with string.

• Steam the pudding on an upturned plate in a large saucepan filled with hot water for 5 hours, topping up with water occasionally so as not to boil the water in the saucepan dry.

• To serve, turn out the pudding onto a large warm plate. Cut a wedge of the pudding and place on a serving plate with mashed potatoes and peas. - Fly at a Smile-Price