Steak and Kidney Hot Pot with Crusted Dumplings
This recipe provides all the flavour and eating experience of a steak and kidney pie without going to the bother of actually making a pie. If you think you don't like dumplings, think again. These are sensationally light with the added dimension of a crunchy crust. They really are the perfect partner to the luscious and rich steak and kidney.
This recipe first appeared in Sainsbury’s Magazine (Guide to Meat Cookery). Serves 4-6
I think the rich flavour of steak and kidney is improved enormously if you take a bit of time and trouble over initially browning the meat.
What you need to do is melt 1 tablespoon of beef dripping in a large, solid frying pan. As soon as the fat is really hot pat the cubes of meat with kitchen paper and add the meat, just a few cubes at a time, so as not to crowd the pan.
If you put too much meat in at once, this creates a steamy atmosphere and the meat will never brown, so brown the pieces on all sides a few at a time, adding them to the casserole as you go.
After the meat is browned, add a little more dripping and do exactly the same with the kidney. When these have joined the meat, keeping the heat high, brown the onions, turning and moving them until they are all nicely browned at the edges – this will probably take 6-7 minutes.
Then add the onions to the rest of the ingredients, give it a good seasoning, then add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until the flour has been absorbed into the meat juices. It doesn't look very nice at this stage but that's not a problem.
All you do next is add the Worcestershire sauce, mushroom ketchup, thyme and bay leaves, followed by the Brown Beef Stock. Stir well, bring everything up to a gentle simmer and place a lid on the casserole, using a layer of foil if you need to, to make a tight fit.
Now place the casserole in the pre-heated oven, on the centre shelf, and leave it there for 2½ hours.
After that, take the casserole out of the oven, raise the temperature to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C) and pop the baking or pie dish in to pre-heat.
Next, quickly make the dumplings by sifting the flour into a bowl, stirring in the parsley and suet and a good seasoning of salt and pepper, then sprinkle in some cold water – start with 6 tablespoons, but add enough to make a soft dough that will leave the bowl clean.
Divide the dough into 12 small pieces and just roll each one between your palms into a dumpling shape.
Now spoon the steak and kidney into the pre-heated pie dish or baking dish, then pop the dumplings on top and place the whole lot in the oven on a high shelf for 25-30 minutes or until the dumplings are cooked underneath and brown and crunchy on top.
If the casserole you're using is a shallow one, you can dispense with the baking dish and pop the dumplings straight in.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 1, (275F, 140C)
You will also need a good-sized flameproof casserole of about 4 pints (2.25 litres) capacity with a tight-fitting lid, plus a shallow baking dish or pie dish about 10 inches (25.5 cm) square.