It's my belief that if you do eat meat, then you should honour the animal and eat, or at least make use of as much of it as possible. That means cooking and eating the offal.
Still, I really like heart, liver and kidneys so that is not much of a problem. My wife introduced me to eating feet (they are a delicacy in much of West Africa) and after using the stomach and intestines for sausages and haggis, there's not much left over!
Anyway, when I am feeling down it's the steak and kidney pudding that I tend to go for every time. So here is a classic recipe for this wonderful dish:
Steak and Kidney PuddingServes: 4
This is a classic British recipe for a mix of beef steak and kidney in a gravy base steamed in a suet crust. For me, this is the ultimate comfort food, much better than it's more well know baked equivalent, the steak and kidney pie.
The recipe given here seems to have arisen sometime in the 1860s and Mrs Beeton provides one of the earliest recipes I have seen for it (see the Mrs Beeton Beef Steak and Kidney Pudding recipe for more details). Prior to this you had beef puddings, beef and oyster puddings or beef and mushroom puddings, but not steak and kidney.
Ingredients:225g (1/2 lb) suet pastry (ie made with 225g [1/2 lb] plain flour)
2 tbsp plain flour
450g (1 lb) braising steak, cubed
150g (1/3 lb) lamb's kidney (or calf kidneys), cored and diced
2 tbs oil
1 small onion, chopped
450ml (1 4/5 cups) beef stock
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Method:Prepare the suet pastry according to the recipe. Season the plain flour with salt and black pepper then toss the steak and kidney pieces in this to coat.
Heat the oil in a large pan and use to fry the onion for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Add the meat and fry until nicely coloured all over. Gradually work in the beef stock, tomato purée and herbs, stirring until thickened. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 2 hours, or until tender. Season to taste then take off the heat and set aside to cool.
Cut off 2/3 of the pastry then roll out into a circle large enough to cover the base and sides of a greased 1.2l pudding basin or use to line 4 individual pudding basins. Trim the edges neatly and dampen then fill with the meat mixture before pouring in enough of the gravy to fill the pudding 2/3 full (reserve any left-over gravy for serving).
Roll the remaining pastry to fit the top of the pudding then sit over the meat. Neatly fold the edges of the lining pastry over the cover, pressing down gently to seal the meat inside. Cover with a pleated sheet of buttered greaseproof paper and a sheet of foil then sit on a trivet or upturned saucer in the base of a deep pan. Carefully pour in enough boiling water to come 2/3 of the way up the sides of the pudding.
Bring to a boil, over and cook of 2 hours or until done through (during this time top-up the water as needed to ensure that the pan does not boil dry). When done, remove the pudding from the pan and allow to cool for 10 minutes then unwrap and invert onto a serving plate.
Serve hot, accompanied by gravy, mashed potatoes (or chips) and steamed vegetables.