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Steak and Kidney Pie

Introduction & method

Steak and kidney is what I think of whenever pie is mentioned. The tender beef and tasty kidney in a rich oniony gravy is just perfect when packed inside a crispy hot water pastry crust - top and bottom, of course. It really is a British classic.

Steak and Kidney Pie Recipe

Make the Hot Water Pastry

Cut the lard into small cubes, place it in a saucepan with water and simmer until the lard has melted. Try not to let the water boil - it'll spit fat everywhere and it spoils the flavour of the lard.

Stir the salt into the flour in a large bowl. Pour over half of the fat/water and stir it in until the water has been incorporated. Do the same with the other half of the water. Tip the dough out onto a worktop and knead it by hand to get any final bits of flour mixed in. Wrap it in plastic film and leave to cool. It needs to be about room temperature by the time you use it.

Make the Steak and Kidney Pie Filling

Trim off any fat from the beef and cut it into cubes about 1.5cm (a bit over half an inch) on a side. Toss the beef in flour and quickly fry in oil on high heat until all sides are browned. Add the beef to the stock in a large saucepan or pressure cooker and bring to the boil. There will be some encrusted Burnt Crunchy Bits in the pan - you want these, so bring the pan to high heat and deglaze it by throwing in some water. Scrape the BCBs off and add them to the large pan along with the liquid. Wash and dry the frying pan.

Peel the onions and chop into small bits. Sauté gently in some oil on medium heat for 5-10 minutes. You want the onions to be soft but not brown. By this time, your stock should be boiling and there may be some scum on the surface. Skim this off, then add the onions, salt, pepper and parsley. If you are using a pressure cooker, put the lid on, bring up to pressure and cook for 20 minutes. If you are using a regular saucepan, put a lid on it and simmer for about 3 hours, until the meat is tender.

Just before your beef is ready, chop the kidney into small pieces, making sure you get rid of any tubes or gristle. Fry them quickly in some hot oil to get them browned all over, then add them to the beef stew. Boil rapidly for about 15 minutes to get the liquid reduced by about half. Now sift in some flour (probably 1-2 tablespoons) and stir it in to thicken the gravy - if you don't have a sifter, you can sprinkle the flour in gently, a bit at a time, stirring all the while to disperse it. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or pepper if you think it needs it. Pour into a bowl or other container and stick it in the fridge to cool - it needs to be at room temperature when you add it to the pie, otherwise you'll get a soggy bottom.

Assemble the Pie

Preheat your oven to 210°C (410°F) it it's convection, otherwise 230°C (450°F).
You'll need something to bake your pie in - I used a 23cm  (9 inch) diameter quiche tin. You'll need to butter the inside - I always do this, even if I'm using a 'non-stick' tin.
Take a bit less than half the pastry and, on a floured surface, roll it into a disc that's a bit bigger than your pie tin. It should br 4-5mm (about a quarter of an inch) thick. Place the tin upside down on the pastry and cut around the edge. That's your lid.

Take the rest of the pastry, roll it out as before and press it into the pie dish. Trim off any excess pastry around the edge. Now spoon the filling into the base using a straining spoon. You want some gravy in the pie, but not so much that it's swimming with it. Keep the remaining liquid to make a pouring gravy - just thicken it by sifting in some flour, or you can make up some beurre manié (a paste of equal parts softened butter and flour) and cook some of that in.

Moisten the rim of the base with some cold water. Put the lid on and squeeze it against the base with your thumbs. Then lift up the rim so it's not sticking to the tin. If you like, you can do some fancy crimping - you'll have to watch the video for this because I can't really describe what I do!

Bake the Pie

Now make some holes in the top with a fork and paint the lid, including the crimped edge, with beaten egg and milk to glaze it. Sprinkle a little parsley on the top for decoration if you wish. Bake for 40 minutes, but take a peek after 30 just to make sure it's not burning - depending on your oven, you may need to rotate the pie to get it evenly coloured.

When it's baked, let it cool for 5-10 minutes, then cut enormous wedges from it and serve with potatoes and steamed vegetables. Slosh a good bit of the gravy over the top.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Steak and Kidney Pie on YouTube.


Ingredients & Info

 500 grams plain (all-purpose) white flour
 200 grams lard
 250 ml hot water
 500 grams stewing beef
 250 grams ox or pigs kidney
 1 large onion
 750 ml beef stock
 1 tsp salt
 half a tsp ground black pepper
 1 tsp parsley


Flour for dusting, beaten egg and milk for glazing.

US Customary/Imperial

Serves 4 
Prep time: 30 minutes.
Cooling time: 30 minutes.
Cooking time: 40 minutes.
Total time: 1 hour 40 minutes.