Sunday, 3 January 2010

steak & kidney pudding

An English classic. One of those things is the way the word pudding is used in the English language, often it means dessert. However it has a host of savoury uses from Yorkshire puddings through to "The great chieftain o' the pudding race".
Steak & kidney pudding (known in some places as a "baby's head" (due to the soft spot on top)) is a steamed suet crust version of steak & kidney pie.

The suet crust recipe I used was based on delia Smith's
350g Self -raising flour
175g shredded beef suet  (you can  use  veggie suet, but it seems kinda pointless)
Cold water to mix.

Sift the flour & cut in the suet with a knife, when its well mixed  stir enough  water to make a sticky dough.  As usual its best to let the pastry rest. Butter a pudding basin & line it with the dough. You have a choice here, if you have 4-5 hours you can put you steak & kidney mix in raw, or if you only have a couple of hours quickly cooking as you would for steak & kidney pie works just as well. Once the pudding is full of steak & kidney put the lid on and press it well to the lining.

The big issue is that steak & kidney pudding is steamed so it needs to be carefully wrapped, a pudding cloth is traditional, but these days foil is usually used. It needs double wrapping and since its going to be steamed for at least a couple of hours taking the opportunity to create a lifting handle out of string. If you don't have a trivet a cheap ramekin will work. Stand the wrapped pudding on what ever it is you are using to keep the pudding off the bottom of the pan. Then pour boiling water in upto about 3/4 the way up your basin, put a lid on the pan and go find something to occupy yourself with whilst the pudding slowly fills your house with a delicious scent. Don't forget to make sure you don't boil dry.
 You did make the lifting string didn't you ? Only its really rather important at this point as you'll trying to wrestle out a slippy foil wrapped hemisphere that has been sat in steam for the past few hours. If you've done everything right you should have a steaming hot fluffy suet pudding. The next nerve wracking moment is getting it out of the basin, it was well buttered right ?

Using a butter knife to ease it out is kind of helpful. Opening the pudding should reward you with a blast of steam and a wondrous smell. As you can see I could have done with making a bit more gravy. Other than that though it was the proper taste of steak & kidney pudding.

The traditional accompaniment is chips (fries for our overseas readers) and peas (usually mushy). I went for the slightly healthier option of mash and a couple of types of veg.

All I can say is try it yourself, it is admittedly a bit more fiddly than a steak & kidney pie.  Mrs Beaton suggests the addition of a couple of oysters, thats a job for next time as the fishmonger was closed over Christmas & New Year

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