Steak and kidney pudding

Steak and kidney pudding

Leiths How to Cook
Peter Cassidy


Quantity Ingredient
1/2 small onion
handful flat-leaf parsley
400g beef chuck steak
150g ox kidney
2-3 tablespoons plain flour, plus extra to dust
1 quantity Suet pastry
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Prepare the greaseproof paper, foil and string for steaming, following the instructions on the chapter introduction page.
  2. Peel and very finely dice the onion; you need about 2 teaspoons. Finely chop enough parsley leaves to give you 2 teaspoons. Put both in a large bowl.
  3. Trim the beef of excess surface fat and sinew and cut into cubes about 2.5 cm square. Prepare the kidneys by removing the large lobes from the central fat and tubes. Unless the lobes are very large, leave them whole.
  4. Put the beef and kidney into a large sieve. Sprinkle over the 2 tablespoons flour and shake until the meat is lightly coated. Add the meat to the onion and parsley. Mix together and season well with salt and pepper.
  5. Generously butter a 1 litre pudding basin. Divide the pastry into 2 unequal pieces, two-thirds and one-third. On a floured surface, pat out the larger piece into a circle about 2 cm thick and 15 cm in diameter, using a rolling pin or your hands, then use to line the pudding basin.
  6. Fill with the meat mixture, without packing it too tightly, to leave room for water. Add water to come just below the top pieces of meat.
  7. Roll the remaining piece of pastry to a circle 5 mm thick, big enough to just cover the pudding filling. Place it on top, wet the edges and press them together securely so that the lid is sealed to the inside of the pastry lining the pudding basin, not around the outside.
  8. Cover with the greaseproof paper and foil, and make a string handle (see note).
  9. Stand the covered basin on a trivet, or 3 pieces of cutlery placed in a triangle, in a saucepan of boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the pudding basin. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Alternatively, use a steamer. Steam the pudding for 5–6 hours, taking care to top up the boiling water occasionally so it doesn’t boil dry. It is important to keep the water at a generous boil for the first 30–45 minutes, to ensure the suet in the pastry starts to melt and set with the flour and to achieve a good golden colour.
  10. After steaming, carefully remove the pudding basin from the saucepan, using the string handle, and remove the string, paper and foil. Run a knife around the top rim of the basin to release the pudding, invert a plate over the pudding and turn it the right way up so the pudding basin is upside down. Using oven gloves, carefully lift off the pudding basin. Serve immediately, with seasonal vegetables.


  • Steak and mushroom pudding: Omit the kidneys and replace with 6–8 small chestnut mushrooms, halved or quartered, depending on size.

    Steak, kidney and oyster pudding: Add a small can of smoked oysters to the meat filling – a delicious and traditional addition.

A note on part-steaming a pudding…

  • You can steam the pudding for at least 3 hours one day, then remove it from the steamer, allow to cool, and chill overnight. The pudding can be finished in the steamer the next day. When heating the following day, just ensure that the first 30 minutes to 1 hour is at a generous boil, to get the inside of the pudding hot as quickly as possible.


  • Put a trivet into a large saucepan (big enough to easily contain the pudding basin) that has a tight-fitting lid. Alternatively, use a folded piece of thick cardboard or a cardboard egg carton (trimmed to fit). This will keep the base of the pudding basin off the bottom of the saucepan, which is its hottest part.

    Cut out one sheet of foil and 2 sheets of greaseproof paper, at least twice the diameter of the top of the pudding basin. Make a small pleat, about 3 cm wide, in the middle of the foil. Put one sheet of greaseproof paper on top of the other and make a similar pleat. Lightly butter one side of the double greaseproof paper. Cut a piece of string, the length of your open arms.

    Spoon the mixture into the pudding basin and level it out. Place the greaseproof paper buttered side down on top of the pudding basin. Cover with the sheet of foil and push it down and around the top rim of the pudding basin. Fold the string in half and place the doubled string around the pudding basin under the lip, over the foil. Feed the cut ends between the folded end and tighten the string. Separate the 2 cut ends and bring each string around the pudding basin, still under the lip, then tie tightly in a knot.

    Put the 2 strings together, take them over the pudding basin to the other side and tuck through the string on the other side, leaving the ends loose to create a handle. Tie the string securely. Lift up the foil around the string to expose the greaseproof paper and trim the paper fairly close to the string. Trim the foil to leave a 3–4 cm border. Tuck the foil around the greaseproof paper towards the lip of the pudding basin, ensuring all the greaseproof paper is enclosed in the foil. Your pudding is now ready for steaming.
Leiths School of food and wine
cookery course
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