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Steak & Kidney Pudding

Introduction & method

Steak and kidney puddings seem to have fallen out of favour in recent years, but you really should try one. Tender chunks of beef with kidney in a rich savoury gravy encased in a light suet crust. Total comfort food. Delicious!

Steak & Kidney Pudding Recipe

For the filling

Remove all fat and sinew from the beef and chop into 1.5 cm (half-inch) cubes. Mix salt and pepper with a few tablespoons of flour. Toss the beef cubes in the seasoned flour so they are coated all over. Melt a blob of beef dripping in a frying pan on medium heat and sear the beef cubes until they are completely browned. You'll probably need to do this in batches because you don't want to overcrowd the pan. Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the onion. When all the beef is done, pop it into a large cooking pot or pressure cooker with the stock and bring it to the boil. If you get any scum on the surface, skim it off with a perforated spoon. Reheat the frying pan with a bit more dripping and fry the onions until they are golden. Add them to the pot along with the bay leaves and herbs. If using a pressure cooker, bring it up to pressure and cook for 20 minutes, otherwise place a lid on the pot and simmer for 3½ hours.

Towards the end of the cooking time, roughly chop the kidneys - you need to get rid of the gristly bit in the middle of each kidney. Sauté the kidneys in medium hot fat until browned all over and add it to the beef. Continue cooking for 10 minutes. If the gravy is too runny, you can thicken it by adding some flour mixed into a slurry with water. When you have the right consistency, taste it and add salt if necessary. Remove from heat and set aside. You need it to be quite cool before it goes into the puddings.

For the pastry

To make my individual puddings, I use stainless steel pots - they are about 9cm (3½ inches) diameter at the top, and 6cm (2½ inches) tall. Mix together the dry ingredients, and then add some of the water. We are aiming for a stiffish dough, so keep adding water a bit at a time until you have the right consistency. Tip the dough out onto a floured worktop and roll out to a thickness of about 6mm (a quarter of an inch). Cut two discs for the lids - they should be a bit bigger than the top of the thing you are making the puddings in. Cut two more discs for the bases - they should be about two or three times bigger than your tins.

Liberally grease the inside of the tins with softened butter and then gently line each one with the dough, taking care not to make any holes in it. Trim off any excess dough from the top, but leave an overhang of about 6mm (a quarter of an inch).


Fill each dough-lined tin with steak and kidney mixture. Moisten the rim of each dough base with cold water, and place a lid on each one. Crimp the edges together, making sure the lid and the base are completely sealed. Loosely wrap each pudding in foil, leaving some room for expansion of the tops.

Your puddings need to be steamed. If you have a steamer, place the puds in one of the upper pans. If you are steamerless, partly fill a pan with hot water, enough to reach just below the top of your pudding tins. Steam the puddings for one hour. When cooked, remove from the pan and allow to cool for a few minutes. Unwrap the puddings and gently run a knife around the top to loosen them from the tins. Carefully turn them out onto plates and serve with potatoes, vegetables* and gravy.

*Mushy peas.

Old-fashioned Family-Size Version

In the linked video, I make a family-sized pudding using the traditional method. The main difference is that the filling is not pre-cooked. This worries me a bit because you have no chance to test the seasoning. But here's how it goes: toss your diced beef in seasoned flour (my advice, don't skimp on the salt and pepper). Mix together the floured beef, diced onion, chopped kidney and a couple of teaspoons of finely chopped parsley. Leave a 2 centimetre gap at the top. Mix a cup of water with 2 tbsps Worcester sauce and pour over the filling. You could use beer or red wine instead but I don't know how traditional that it. Put the pastry lid on and crimp it all round to get a perfect seal. Loosely cover the top with greaseproof (parchment) paper, and then cover that with aluminium foil. Tie a length of string around the top of the basin, just under the protruding rim. Fashion a handle out of string and pop the whole thing into a pot of rapidly boiling water. Top up the water so that it's near the top of the basin. Put a lid on it and let it boil vigorously for 30 minutes. Then turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and cook for 3 hours. Check the water level from time to time and top up if necessary. The lengthy cooking time is required to cook the beef inside.

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


Ingredients & Info

 450 grams stewing beef
 225 grams lamb or ox kidney
 500 ml beef stock
 1 medium onion
 half a tsp thyme
 half a tsp ground black pepper
 2 bay leaves
 250 grams self-raising flour
 125 grams suet
 1 tsp salt
 100 ml water


Beef dripping, lard or oil for sautéeing. Seasoned flour for dusting.

US Customary/Imperial

Makes 4 -6 individual puddings
Prep time: 30 minutes.
Cooking time: 1 hour.
Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes.