Today is St. George’s Day, a day for England. My 88 year-old mother in-law arrived on Saturday from England and to celebrate today I asked Aida if she would make her famous steak and kidney pie. This recipe originally came from her mother. Aida was born in Gibraltar and moved to England in 1946 – she was 22! It’s ironic in a way that these two women with Spanish heritage made a dish that is so quintessentially English. Whenever Aida comes to visit she tells us stories of her life growing up in Gibraltar, living in Malta, and leaving Malta for England to work as a Nanny for an English family. The eldest of 7 children, it must have been exciting for Aida on one hand and a very nerve-racking, gutsy move on the other. Can you imagine traveling to an English-speaking country (without your parents) where your own command of the English language was limited? Gutsy, if you ask me! After living in England 66 years, Aida has had many years perfecting this dish. What stories will you share with your children as they grow up?
“There is a forgotten, nay almost forbidden word, which means more to me than any other. That word is England”. – Sir Winston Churchill
1 lb. beef chuck for stewing
1/2 lb. lamb or beef kidney (Aida says lamb kidney gives it a better flavor)
handful sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup white wine
10 oz. can beef consommé
3/4 to 1 cup water
homemade or store-bought pastry
Preheat oven to 275f (gas mark 1). Cut beef and kidney into bite-size chunks. In a plastic bag add about 1/2 cup flour and freshly ground black pepper. Add beef and kidney and toss to coat. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil. When hot, add beef and kidney. Brown on all sides and add beef consommé and water. You may need to add a bit more flour as you want the sauce to became gravy-like. Add sliced mushrooms, wine and combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat so that the meat and stock is simmering (cover and simmer about 10 minutes). Remove from stove top and place in the oven. Cover and cook for 2 hours or until the meat is fork-tender.
Remove stew from the oven and let cool. When cool, spoon the stew into an 8-inch or 9-inch pie plate. Top with pastry, lightly brush pastry with milk and bake in the oven at 400f (gas mark 6) for 30 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes and sautéed cabbage.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Oh boy, this was scrumptious! If you’re not a big fan of organ meat you can always omit it. We had so much fun in the kitchen today – Aida was Chef and I her sous-chef! She would ask me to do this or get that and I would happily reply with much enthusiasm, “yes Chef!” Cheers!