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Steak and Kidney Pie

1 1/4 kg stewing beef (shin is particularly good for this)
500g ox kidney
50g plain flour, sifted
1 Teaspoon mustard powder, sifted
salt and pepper
75g beef dripping or equivalent of cooking oil
175g smoked streaky bacon
500g onions
500g carrots
500ml Stout beer (e.g. Guinness)
2 bay leaves
225 g shortcrust pastry or puff pastry, as preferred

Chop up the onion quite roughly. Cut the bacon into thick matchsticks
and the carrots into 1 cm-thick sections (quarter them if they are
big). Heat half the dripping or oil in a casserole and when it is
good and hot chuck in the bacon and vegetables. Stir, reduce the
heat and leave to soften up nicely. Cut the beef into 2.5, 4 cm
pieces, discarding any obvious lumps of fat or gristle. Mix the
flour, mustard powder, salt and pepper in a bowl. Roll the beef
chunks through the mixture and then pop them into a heated frying
pan in which you have heated the rest of the dripping/oil to smoking
point. Make sure you brown the meat well. Transfer the browned
pieces of beef into the casserole. While all this is going on,
attend to the kidney. Cut away the inner core of fat and whatever,
and cut the rest into bite-sized chunks. Then give it the
flour/mustard/salt/pepper treatment and pop the kidneys into the
hot frying pan. It doesn't matter if there isn't much fat left,
just stir them around to prevent them sticking. After a couple of
minutes or so add the kidneys to the casserole and stir everything
around. Pour the stout into the frying pan and, over a gentle heat,
scrape up all the gunge on the bottom of the pan then pour the
whole lot into the casserole. The liquid should cover the meat so
if it doesn't, take the lid off a second bottle of stout and top
up. Bung in a couple of bay leaves, put on the lid and bring to a
simmer. Take off the lid and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours until
the meats are just tender but not disintegrating. The juice should
have reduced and taken on a velvet glow by now and if it hasn't,
move the meat and vegetables into the pie dish, turn up the heat
under the casserole and reduce until you get the desired concentration
and quality. Pour the juice over the meat, cover and set aside to
cool down, preferably overnight. If you need to plough ahead,
however, no matter. If you're using puff pastry, turn the oven to
220C/425F/Gas 7; if shortcrust, to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Roll out the
pastry of your choice and stick it on top of the mixture in the
pie dish. Make a slit in the top to let out the steam, brush all
over with a mixture of egg and milk beaten together and decorate
with pastry ships or birds or leaves, if you must, and bake for
15, 20 minutes. After that, and whichever type of pastry you are
using, turn down the heat to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and cook for another
15 to 20 minutes.

Servings: 6


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