STEAK AND KIDNEY PUDDING
English Puddings: Sweet and Savoury
by Mary Norwak
This may well be everybody's favourite pudding and there is something very delicious about the melting steak and kidney that has simmered for hours in its suet crust. As usual with traditional dishes, there are endless variations. Purists despise onion in the pudding, but many people like a little finely chopped onion or grated shallot. Oysters were traditional and in the days when they were very cheap served to bulk out expensive beef and add savour. Tinned ones may be substituted now, and cockles or mussels are also sometimes used with similar results. Large, dark, mealy portobello mushrooms are very like oysters in texture and add dark richness to the gravy. The meat must be well-seasoned and some people include a pinch of herbs, and I have sometimes detected a trace of tomato flavouring in restaurant puddings.
• 8 oz (225 g) self-raising flour
• Pinch of salt
• 4 oz (100 g) shredded suet
• 1 Ib (450 g) chuck steak
• 3 lambs' kidneys or 4 oz (100 g) ox kidney
• Beef Stock (optional)
Prepare the suet crust by mixing the flour, salt and suet and adding enough water to make a firm dough. Roll out and line a greased pudding basin with three-quarters of the dough.
Cut the steak into thin pieces and chop the kidney into small pieces. Either wrap a piece of steak around each piece of kidney, or just mix the two meats.
Add onions, oysters, or mushrooms according to taste.
Put the meat into the bowl and add just enough water or beef stock to cover the meat. Cover with the remaining dough and seal the edges firmly. To cover, tie on a piece of greased greaseproof paper and kitchen foil and put into a pan with water to come halfway up the basin.
Cover and boil for 4 hours. Do not turn out the pudding; wrap a large white napkin round the basin and serve in slices from the basin.