Steak and Kidney

Pieces of beef steak and kidney in a brown sauce, steamed in a bowl lined and covered with suet pastry. It is considered now the quintessentially English dish, but the kidney seems to have been added only in the mid-nineteenth century it first appears in one of Mrs. Beeton's recipes. Before that a plain steak pudding filled the same national role, being known as - John Bull's pudding - in a beef-oriented tradition which includes - The Roast Beef of Old England.



IngredientsSteak and Kidney Pudding

chuck (stewing) steak    400gm
ox kidney    200gm
onion    1   
tomato purée     25 gm
dark beer or stout    150ml
beef stock    50ml
mushrooms    10   

Suet Pastry

 This quantity of suet crust pastry is enough to make a 15cm / 6in pudding, which will feed four people.

  •      225g / 8oz flour
  •      75-100g / 3-4 oz suet
  •      2 tsp baking powder (omit if using self-raising flour)
  •      1 tsp salt
  •      cold water


If using block suet, remove skin and shred finely. If using packet suet, weigh out quantity required and follow instructions on the packet.

Sieve flour, baking powder (if using) and salt together and add the suet.

Mix with cold water to a soft, but not sticky dough.

Turn out onto a lightly floured board and roll out as required.





Slice mushrooms and chop onions
Cut chuck steak and kidney into 1 - 3 cm cubes


1.    Brown the chuck steak in hot oil, drain and set aside
2.    Brown the kidney in hot oil, drain and set aside
3.    Sweat off the onion (cook gently without colour) in a little butter
4.    Add in the chuck steak and kidney and mix in the tomato purée, cook out for 3 - 4 minutes
5.    Pour in the beer and stock, season with salt, pepper and a little Worcestershire sauce
6.    Bring to the boil, skim if required and simmer until tender, skimming as needed
7.    Thicken with a cornflour and water mix
8.    Add mushrooms and correct seasoning
9.    Allow to cool

Making the puddings

1.    Line chosen dishes with the suet pastry  (retaining 1/4 of the paste for the top)
2.    Pour in the cooled meat mixture, leaving at least 1 cm space from the top
3.    Moisten the suet paste top with water, cover the pudding and seal by pushing the two
        pastes together with a finger or fork
4.    Cover with greased, greaseproof paper and then tin foil and tie securely, alternatively  
        cover with a couple of layers of muslin cloth
5.    Cook in a steamer or in a covered saucepan with water coming up 1/4 of the way up the
        pudding bowl for approx. 2 - 3 hours (depending on size of pudding)
6.    Remove greaseproof paper etc and clean around sides with a damp cloth dipped in salt
7.    Serve in container or carefully turn out