Serves 4 to 6
The Cott Inn is one of the best pubs in England. It is hospitable, beautiful and serves excellent food. Don’t expect it to look as it once did. Originally built in the 11th century, charming structure was completely remodeled in the 13th century. Most people are a bit put off by kidneys and with good reason.
Most people way over cook them and that is what gives them their strong, unpleasant taste. If handled with care and respect, kidneys can have a mild and delicate flavor.
Favorite pastry or Perfect Pastry
1 ½ to 2 pounds of lean beef, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 pound (about) beef kidney, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (you don’t have to worry about cleaning. They now come cleaned)
1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil, butter or drippings (drippings are traditional, butter tastes better, olive oil is better for you and won’t scorch as easily)
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon mixed dry herbs – (Italian Seasoning)
1/2 teaspoon dry powdered mustard, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and fresh, coarse ground black pepper to taste
1/2 pound of mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup inexpensive cream Sherry
2 to 2 ½ cups of beef bouillon, stock or broth – (Homemade or commercial)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Egg wash - (1 egg lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon of cold water)
Make your pastry and refrigerate to chill while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Pre heat the oven to 500° or 550°. Prepare the beef and kidneys and set aside.
Heat the oil, butter or drippings, or combination thereof, in a heavy skillet and gently sauté the onion until it is pinkish and translucent but not yet beginning to brown. Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Blend the flour, herbs, mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper together in a small paper or plastic bag. Add the kidneys, a handful at a time to coat evenly with the flour mixture. Add, the seasoned kidneys, a few at a time to the skillet, and over a medium heat, brown on all sides. Do not overcook! They should still be quite pink in the middle. Remove from the pan and set aside. Now continue the process with the beef. You may need to add a bit more oil, drippings or butter. You may brown the beef a bit longer than you did the kidneys. When finished, place the onions, kidneys, beef and mushrooms in a baking dish that may be served from.
With the fire on medium, use a wooden spoon and scrape up the browned bits and pieces from the bottom of the pan. Add about a tablespoon of the seasoned flour left in the bag and continue stirring and scraping until the flour is beginning to brown. Pour in the Sherry and broth and continue to cook, whisking all the while, until the gravy begins to thicken. Taste, and adjust the seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in the parsley, turn off the heat and allow to cool.
When the gravy is cool, add it to the other ingredients in the baking dish. Roll out the chilled pastry to about one quarter-inch thick and cut a to be about half an inch larger all around than the top of the baking dish. Place on the top of the baking dish and crimp the edges. Brush the top with the egg wash and place in the center of the pre-heated oven. Place a baking sheet on the rack below to catch any drips. Bake for five minutes at 500° or 550°, then lower the heat to 350° and continue to bake for another forty-five minutes to an hour, or until the crust is golden brown. Serve piping hot from the oven for dinner or serve cold with chutney and Sweet and Hot Brown Mustard for lunch.