Sorry for the long absense, I was getting used to my CSA basket which let me eat salad everyday for a month and that’s just not right for a single guy that wants to talk about music and food. Next thing you know I would written about the virtues of Sarah McLachlan and Celine Dion. AIN’T HAPPENIN’!
To keep within arm length of the macho posturing here is something that should please the meat eater amongst you. Yet I have a little something for the chicks too (this is getting out of hand, please excuse any chauvinistic remarks until the end of this post, gotta keep character. Plus, let’s pretend Writer, or Jennifer, pissed me off with her feminism nonsense.) Steak and kidney pie is one of those super easy things anyone can do with a few minutes, and almost a couple of hours of looking into. Ladies, this is perfect to hang around the house and cleaning up shit, for the boys just watch some footie until this thing gets done (this is a British recipe after all, I had to slip something like “footie” in there. Spot the next Englishmanism and win a pat in the back.)
Alright, before everybody freaks out, yes I didn’t make my puff pastry. I tried 3-4 times and I suck at it. Sue me. Go plead for some at you’re local pastry shop or buy the frozen stuff. There are a few organic frozen pastries out there, so please try to find those. To accompany the kidney pie, I have already pickled a few beets, old school style in vinegar, sugar and salt. And to please my mother I sautéed some zucchini with some green onions and some garlic scapes pesto (all recipes coming up after the kidney pie.) Here we go:
Steak and Kidney Pie
- 1 pound of Beef Chuck or any other stewing beef will do. Cut in 1” cubes or so (no fuss necessary)
- 1 pound of Beef kidneys, Pork kidneys work. Membranes removed and cut in 1” cubes (NO FUSS I SAID!)
- 1 large onion
- 2 cups of beef stock, or 2 cups of Stout beer if you like, or combination of
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 juniper berry
- 1 egg
- Salt & pepper
- Oil to fry
In a large pot, over high heat, throw some oil in the pot and the oinions. Let the onions start to caramelize and all the beef and the kidneys. Brown on all sides and add the liquid to the pot. Scrape the bottom of the pan for the good stuff and lower the heat to a simmer. Add the bay leaf and juniper berries and cover. Cook for a good hour and 15 minutes. Check sometimes to make sure you have enough liquid (should not be a problem.) Mix the butter with the flour in a bowl to make a paste. Add this paste in bits around the pot after the hour and some of cooking, let the sauce get thicker and take off the heat.
Pre-heat the oven at 400 F. In a deep pie dish or a few smaller container (like I have used above) fill the containers with the sauce and meat. Roll out the puff pastry and cut the pastry into manageable pieces for you container, or let intact if in a pie dish. Dispose over you container and pierce a hole to let the steam go hot. Beat the egg and brush the egg on the pastry. Put the pie in the oven for a half hour.
This is not really a recipe but a serie of rule of thumbs. Depending on the veggies, you will get different mileage. I poach my beets, you could do them raw but it will be a bit different in texture, but I also do them al dente, I hate mushy beets. So I peeled the beets and cooked them in salt water for 15 minutes for the sizes you see above, basically you have to gage how you like them and do accordingly. I then put enough vinegar to cover my beets and added ¼ of the volume of the vinegar in salt and 1/8 of that in sugar. Heat until the sugar and salt is dissolved. Let cool and pour over the beets in a sterilized jar.
Garlic Scapes Pesto
- 3/4 cup of pine nuts
- 1 ½ cup of grossly chopped Garlic Scapes, with the flower removed
- ½ cup of olive oil
- ½ cup of grossly chopped basil
- Salt and pepper
Toast the pine nuts in a frying pan for a few minutes over medium heat. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse into oblivion, or rather a paste. Put the in the fridge and use everywhere as in pasta and as condiment for fish or in vegetables like in the little recipe below.
- 1 green zucchini, cut in julienne or something relatively small
- 1 yellow zucchini cut in julienne or something relatively small
- 2 green onions, minced
- 2 tablespoons of garlic scape pesto
- some olive oil
- salt and pepper.
In a frying pan, over medium heat, put the oil in and wait for it to get hot. Add the onions and once they start sweating, add the zucchini. Once the zucchini start sweating add the pesto and let the flavour marry for a few minutes and serve.
Tunes : Has to be Five Roses from Miracle Fortress. The good press it has been given is totally deserved. Graham has written this little gem of a pop album that really brings his quirks together while keeping melodic and interesting throughout. He managed to create this really deep production with complex arrangements and kept everything light and fun. Really nice album. Plus, it’ll please your lust interest and you might get her in in the sack for it (remember I said to excuse me until the end of the post?)