Lamb or Goat Steak and Kidney Pie
Lamb steak and kidney pie is classic British comfort food, and a great way to use kidneys, which can be intimidating for some people not used to eating offal. If you’ve never had it, or eaten kidneys in general, you’d be surprised how fork-tender braised meat, a little smoky bacon, and rich wild mushroom gravy baked in a buttery crust can transform little-appreciated offal into something even the pickiest eaters will ask for seconds of.
The secret in the recipe relies on a proportion of ingredients that’s only partially kidney, and making a good, well, seasoned gravy, preferably with some delicious wild porcini mushrooms. Chef Bergo’s version uses all lamb (or goat) products: even down to the bacon that we share a recipe for here. At the end of the day, the recipe is relatively simple-nothing more than a thick brown stew baked under a crust. A homemade crust is preferable, especially made with lamb tallow, (order our grass-fed lamb tallow here) but a store-bought crust or frozen puff pastry is easy to use in a pinch.
The steak and kidney pie filling also freezes very well, and can be made in advance, Chef says it will actually taste the best a few days after cooking, just like many other soups, stews, pates and terrines.
The most difficult part of this recipe is finding high quality kidneys. Shepherd song sells both lamb and goat kidneys frozen immediately after harvesting and vacuum sealed for freshness. But, as we sell to niche markets across the country that value offal, often our demand can occasionally eclipse the supply we can sustainably produce. It’s a problem we love to have, in a market where many sheep and goat organs are thrown away by farmers who mostly sell meat. If you don’t see lamb or goat kidneys avaialble on our site currently, send us a message-we’d be happy to reserve some for you.
This recipe is by chef Alan Bergo. A chef from Minnesota, Alan is a 15 year veteran of the culinary industry, former executive chef of acclaimed Lucia’s Restaurant, and the Salt Cellar. Founder of the website Forager Chef, he’s best known as a respected authority on Midwestern foraging. Learn more about Alan and his hunt for mushrooms, wild and obscure foods at Forager Chef.
Yield: Serves 4 as an entrée
For the pastry crust (optional)
- 5 cups flour
- 1/2 cup lamb tallow, or 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces chilled
- 1 tablespoon ice water, or as needed to bring crust together
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 large yellow onion, (6 oz) diced ½ inch
- 24 oz lamb or goat neck, or stewing meat, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
- 8 oz lamb or goat kidneys, cut into ½ inch pieces and soaked in milk overnight (optional)
- 3 oz lamb or goat bacon (optional) cut into ½ inch dice
- 25 oz dried porcini mushrooms (optional)
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 5 cups lamb stock (water can be substituted since the stew meat will make stock as it cooks)
- All purpose flour, for dredging
- Melted lard or cooking oil, for browning the meat
- 1/2 cup oatmeal stout, or similar dark beer
- Beaten egg, for washing the crust before baking
- First make the crust. break or chip the lamb tallow into pieces with a spoon or knife. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the lamb tallow or butter with the flour and salt until it resembles coarse meal. Drizzle in a little cold water until it just comes together into a homogenous dough, then remove, form into a flat disk, wrap in cling film and refrigerate until needed.
- Drain the kidneys well and pat dry if they were soaked. Preheat the oven to 325F. In a heavy baking pan like a dutch oven, warm a few tablespoons of the lard or cooking oil. With the bacon and cook on medium heat to render out it’s fat. Remove the bacon to a bowl. Season the diced meat and kidneys with salt and pepper liberally.
- Toss the kidneys and meat in flour, keeping them separate. First brown the meat, working in small batches on medium heat, and transferring browned meat to the bowl with the bacon. If the pan or oil starts to look too dark, clean it by adding a splash of water off of the heat, scraping the brown bits up and adding the meat that’s already seared, then proceed with browning until all of the meat and then kidneys are deeply browned.
- When the meat is browned, add a little more lard or oil to the pan if needed and sweat the onion in the drippings for a few minutes until tender. Add the thyme to the onions. Deglaze the pan with the stout, cook for 3-4 minutes more, then add the browned meat-kidney-bacon mixture, along with any juices, and stock. Cover the pot and bake for 1 hour.
- Remove the pot from the oven and carefully transfer the meat and juices to a container, then cool to room temperature, taste the seasoning and adjust as needed, then refrigerate overnight to let the flavors meld. The juices will set up and should be completely firm when cold.
Cooking the pie
- The next day, or 1.5 hours before you’d like to serve the pie, preheat the oven to 375, then roll out the crust on a floured sheet of parchment like a pie crust. If you want to make a double crusted pie, there’s enough dough depending on the dish you choose, or, you can just roll out a lid.
- Put the baking dish you’ll use over the rolled out crust upside down, then cut out the lid leaving ½ inch extra for crimping around the edge of the baking dish. Transfer the steak and kidney stew to the baking dish, cover with the lid, crimp the edges and make a slice in the middle to help air escape, brush liberally with beaten egg and bake for 45 minutes at 375, turning up the heat if needed to help the crust turn deep and golden at the end. Allow the pie to rest for 15 minutes before serving as it will be very hot.