Steak and Kidney Pie and Madame Norrell’s: The Cure for What Ails You

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“They followed the same routine that night as though it were no different from any other one.  They dined at the Cafe Royal, which served Charles’s favorite steak and kidney pie, let off steam at Madame Norrell’s brothel, where Charles liked to try out the new girls while they were still fresh, and ended up drinking until dawn in the bar at Claridge’s, where Charles rated the champagne list above any other.”  From The Map of Time by Felix J Palma

How does our hero rebound from a thwarted suicide? He tells himself that he “would just have to kill himself some other time” and he goes out to get drunk on ideas of time travel, champagne, and near virgins (gently used).  Also, he eats his intercessor’s favorite steak and kidney pie (which is more tasty than it sounds, if you think you’re afraid of eating kidney).  And what burning thought has dragged him reluctantly back from the contemplation of oblivion?  No less than the possibility that he himself might go back in time to kill Jack the Ripper!  We’ll speak more about this over a lamb roast in the future.

Steak and Kidney Pie

1 large onion, chopped

Olive oil for browning the meat and frying the onion

1 lb stew meat, cut into bite sized cubes

1 lb beef kidney, cut into bite sized cubes

4 cups beef bouillon  

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 generous tbsp tomato paste

1 bay leaf

Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1 “I’m Lazy!” store bought pie crust (unless you make your own, and good for you!)

In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over high heat and brown the meat on all sides being sure not to overcook it.  Remove to a bowl and set aside.  Reduce the heat to medium low and add more olive oil if necessary.  Saute the onions until they are tender.  Return the meat to the pan and add the beef bouillon, Worcestershire, tomato paste and seasonings.  Bring the liquid to a slow boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer the meats for an hour.  At the end of the hour, remove the lid and continue to simmer for another hour (this will positively prevent your beef from turning stringy – I don’t know why, but it works).  

Unroll your pastry according to the box instructions and line a pie pan with it (mine said ungreased).  Ladle the meat and sauce into the pie and cover with another layer of pastry.  Bake according to the pastry instructions. 

I made my beef and kidney concoction last night and baked the pie tonight.

A note about kidney:  I did not savor cutting it up, I will say no more.  In flavor it is good and meaty, though the texture took a bit of a mental leap to get over.  I enjoyed it.   My dinner guest graciously tried it and picked the rest out, but she liked the gravy and beef with our side of broccoli.  I have to say, I prefer the beef and bacon pie I made last year for Game of Thrones night, but the leftovers will not go to waste.

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Filed under Books, Cooking and Reading, Food, Literature, Recipes

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