Steak and Kidney Pie

Use thumb and point of knife to crimp edge of pie into a scalloped pattern. Crisp and light shortcrust pastry tops a mixture of richly flavoured meats in this all-time classic winter dish.
Be sure to cook the filling slowly and thoroughly to allow the different flavours to intermingle.

SERVES 4

200 g (7 oz) plain flour
salt and pepper
700 g (1 1/2 lb) braising steak, trimmed and cubed
175 g (6 oz) ox kidney, cored and chopped
100 g (4 oz) butter
1 – 2 garlic cloves, skinned and crushed
1 large onion, skinned and chopped
100 g (4 oz) mushrooms
150 ml (1/4 pint) beef stock
150 ml (1/4 pint) brown ale
1 bay leaf
sprig of fresh thyme or 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) dried thyme
15 ml (1 tbsp) Worcestershire sauce
15 ml (1 tbsp) tomato puree
fresh milk, to glaze

1. Season 25 g (1 oz) of the flour, then toss the steak and kidney in the flour, shaking off any excess.
2. Melt 25 g (1 oz) of the butter in a large saucepan and lightly fry the garlic, onion and mushrooms for 3 minutes. Add the steak, kidney and remaining coating flour and cook for 5 minutes, until lightly browned.
3. Gradually stir in the stock, ale, bay leaf, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and tomato puree. Cover and simmer gently for about 1 1/4 hours. Spoon the mixture into a 1.7 litre (3 pint) pie dish.
4. Put the remaining flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Rub in the remaining butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add 60 ml (4 tbsp) cold water and mix to form a dough.
5. Roll out on a lightly floured work surface to 5 cm (2 inch) wider than the pie dish. Cut a 2.5 cm (1 inch) wide strip from the outer edge and place on the dampened rim of the dish. Brush the strip with water. Cover with the pastry lid, press lightly to seal the edges. Trim off excess pastry, knot the edges back to seal and crimp. Garnish with pastry leaves, brush with milk and bake at 200°C (400°F) mark 6 for 30 – 45 minutes.

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