If you're after comfort food, you can't go past this recipe for a rich, rib-sticking pie, with the classic combination of beef and kidney for the filling. Serve it with mashed potato, if you like, but you won't have room for dessert!
450 g ox or pig kidney, cut into ¾-inch pieces
600 ml milk
25 g flour
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp celery salt
900 g lean beef, chuck or topside, cut into 1-inch cubes
50 g unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, peeled and diced
1 tsp fresh, soft thyme leaves, chopped
300 ml red wine
450 ml beef stock
2 bay leaves
250 g puff pastry, home-made or shop bought
1 egg, beaten for egg wash
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soak the kidneys in the milk for 30 minutes.
Remove the kidneys from the milk and cut away any fat or sinew. Place the flour, peppers and salts in a bag and shake to combine. Add the beef pieces a few at a time and shake the bag to coat with flour.
In a casserole dish heat the butter and olive oil over a medium heat and fry the onion and thyme leaves until soft but without colour. Add the meat and brown all over. Pour in the wine and scrape the crusty bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the stock and add the bay leaves.
Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 1½ hours or until the beef is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a pie dish or cool the meat quickly, cover and refrigerate until required.
Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas mark 6.
Roll out the pastry and cover the meat in the pie dish with it, pressing down well to seal at the edges. Cut off any excess pastry and use it for trimming the pie. Make 3 slashes on the top to allow steam to escape during cooking. Brush with the egg wash and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the pastry is golden and thoroughly cooked.