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Steak and Kidney Pudding with Steak and Kidney Gravy

I've subtitled this recipe 'Kate and Sidney make a comeback', after the Cockney slang version of this world-famous recipe. It's certainly time for a revival because it has been shamefully neglected and because it really is the ultimate in comfort food. Home-made is a far superior thing to any factory version and, believe it or not, it's dead simple to make. Once it's on the heat, you can forget all about it till suppertime – except for the amazingly appetising wafts coming out of the kitchen. Although steak and kidney pudding has a lovely juicy filling, it's always nice to have a little extra gravy – and since there are always some meat trimmings over, a good way to use them is to make steak and kidney gravy.

 
 
 Steak and Kidney Pudding with Steak and Kidney Gravy

  Serves 6

Ingredients
For the suet crust pastry:
 12 oz (350 g) self-raising flour
 6 oz (175 g) shredded beef suet
 pinch salt and freshly milled black pepper
For the filling:
 1¼ lb (560 g) chuck steak
 10 oz (275 g) ox kidney – you'll have 8 oz (225 g) after trimming
 2 level tablespoons well-seasoned flour
 1 medium onion, sliced
 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
For the steak and kidney gravy:
 1 onion, halved
 1 teaspoon beef dripping
 1 heaped dessertspoon flour
 gravy browning (optional)
 Worcestershire sauce
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
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Equipment
You will also need a well-buttered, 2½ pint (1.5-litre) capacity pudding basin.

This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Winter Collection.

Method

To make the pastry, first sift the flour and the salt into a large mixing bowl. Add some freshly milled black pepper, then add the suet and mix it into the flour using the blade of a knife. When it's evenly blended, add a few drops of cold water and start to mix with the knife, using curving movements and turning the mixture around. The aim is to bring it together as a dough, so keep adding drops of water until it begins to get really claggy and sticky.

Now abandon the knife, go in with your hands and bring it all together until you have a nice smooth elastic dough, which leaves the bowl clean. It's worth noting that suet pastry always needs more water than other types, so if it is still a bit dry just go on adding a few drops at a time. After that, take a quarter of the dough for the lid, then roll the rest out fairly thickly. What you need is a circle, about 13 inches (32.5 cm) in diameter. Now line the bowl with the pastry, pressing it well all around.

Next chop the steak and kidney into fairly small cubes (reserving the trimmings for the gravy), toss them in the seasoned flour, then add them to the pastry-lined basin with the slices of onion. Add enough cold water to reach almost the top of the meat and sprinkle in a few drops of Worcestershire sauce and another seasoning of salt and pepper. Roll out the pastry lid, dampen its edges and put it in position on the pudding. Seal well and cover with a double sheet of foil, pleated in the centre to allow room for expansion while cooking.

Now secure it with string, making a little handle so that you can lift it out of the hot steamer. Then place it in a steamer over boiling water. Steam for 5 hours, topping up the boiling water halfway through.

To make the gravy, simply place the meat trimmings in a saucepan with the half onion, cover with 1 pint of water, add some seasoning and simmer for approximately 1 hour. Then strain the stock, and in the same pan fry the remaining onion, chopped small, in the beef dripping until soft and blackened at the edges. Then stir in the flour, gradually add the stock little by little to make a smooth gravy, adding a spot of gravy browning if it's needed. Taste to check the seasoning and add a few drops of Worcestershire sauce. You can either serve the pudding by spooning portions straight out of the bowl, or slide a palette knife round the edge and turn the whole thing out on to a serving plate (which is more fun!).

 

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