Nostalgia Pie


posted by on Recipes


As some of you may know, The King & Queen are in town visiting, so I wanted to make them something special for our first supper together.  As they live in a kingdom far-far-away it’s not often we have such esteemed visits, so it was entirely fitting that a little effort be put into dindins.  Sadly, SistaBliss wasn’t able to join us, but The Concierge was there, guns blazing, ready to tuck into his favourite dish:  steak & kidney pie.  Not the most exotic or classic dish of all time, but for us one that smacks of nostalgia – and of having bloody cutlery wars at the dinner table for the last piece of pastry crust.  As a school-boarder with a hunger on him that rivaled that of our ex-race horse Jade, The Concierge consistently reigned supreme at these battles.  Not because his cutlery technique was particularly skillful – no Sir, when the fork-off looked as if it could go on for a time The Concierge got his crazy-eyes on, as if he believed he would never eat again.  This freaked me out to such an extent I would reel back in terror, giving him the perfect opportunity to grab the remnants.  Game over. Pastry smashed.  See how I was bullied as a child? *sobs*

What you’ll need… (serves 6)

4 lamb’s kidneys, cut in half, white cores removed & sliced into pieces

750 g rump beef, trimmed of fat & cut into cubes

3 tbsp vegetable oil

50g unsalted butter

2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped

2 carrots, peeled & diced

50-85 g well seasoned flour , depending on how thick you like your gravy

500 ml boiling water

250 ml good quality red wine (I used a Creation Pinot Noir 2009)

1 tbsp NoMU lamb fond (there is absolutely NO substitute for this!)

2 bay leaves

2 potatoes, peeled and diced

450 g Puff pastry – I go back to Gordon Ramsay’s rough puff recipe every time.  You could also buy ready-made pastry, just give it a few more rolls & folds before you use it.

And then…

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Throw in the kidneys and fry until lightly colored. Tip them into a colander or a sieve to drain.

Clean the pan and return it to a low-medium heat adding a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of oil. When I sweat vegetables, I’m admittedly a bit of a cordon bleu snob, so I use a cartouche.  Don’t know how to make a cartouche? Have a look here, then.  I always ensure my heat is low enough so that the onions don’t burn, but start to sweat underneath the baking parchment.  Tip in your onions & carrots & sweat them for 15 minutes until the onions are soft & go slightly golden. Transfer these to a casserole dish, using a slotted spoon.

Tip the seasoned flour into a large plastic bag. Throw in the rump cubes and shake until lightly floured. Return the frying pan to a medium high heat, adding a little more oil and butter if needed. Shake off any excess flour (reserving it) then fry the beef in batches until golden-brown. As each batch is done, transfer it to the casserole with the onions and carrots. Toss the diced potatoes & drained kidneys into the casserole as well.

Heat your oven to 170`C.  In a medium saucepan, reduce your red wine by half so that the alcohol burns off.  Add in the boiling water, the NoMU lamb fond & the bay leaves.  Once the liquid comes back up to the boil, remove the pot from the heat & whisk in your seasoned flour, a bit at a time.  Don’t let the sauce get too thick, as it will continue to thicken in the oven.  Pour the sauce into the casserole with the other ingredients and stir well to combine.  Cover and cook in the oven for about an hour and a half, or until the meat is tender & the sauce is thick.  Cool this filling down completely, before you start with the pastry, as the butter will melt & your whole pastry vibe will be felep.  You could top the same casserole dish with the pastry you’ve made, or you can spoon the pie filling into individual dishes.  I prefer to do individual ones as you might imagine, so that everyone has their own, and there are no conniptions at the dinner table about who the last bit of pastry belongs to!

Bring the pastry out of the fridge a half-hour before you bake the pie, so that the butter softens slightly & the pastry becomes easier to manage. Roll it out thinly on a well-floured surface. Invert your pie dish on to the pastry. Mentally add an extra 1cm all round, as the pastry will shrink in the oven then use the dish as a guide to cut out the pastry lid. From the remnants, cut out enough 2cm-wide strips of pastry to go round your dish(es) – they should cover the diameter of the rim.

Lightly butter the rim of the dish and line it with the strips of pastry, sealing any joins with a little dab of water. Butter the shoulders of a pie raiser or an upturned egg cup and stand it in the middle. Spoon in your pie filling to come level with the top of the dish. Brush the pastry rim with a little water, then drape the pastry lid over it, pinching the edges to seal. Cover with cling film and place into the fridge to bring the temperature of the pastry back down.

An hour before serving – preheat your oven to 200`C. Brush the pie(s) with egg wash and bake for about 45 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.




  1. The Concierge

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