Steak and Kidney Stew with Mushrooms

Adding a few lamb’s kidneys to a hearty steak and mushroom stew has an incredible affect. The smell as it cooks is rich and intense and so is the flavour and almost fluffy texture of the gravy when you tuck in. Mushrooms, particularly big flat field or Portobello mushrooms, darken the gravy and add a third textural interest. Like all stews, long and slow gives the best results and leaving it to sit overnight pays dividends, turning the flavours richer, more mellow and more interesting. I find it easier to brown the floured meat in a spacious frying pan transferring it to the casserole dish the stew will be cooked in, then cooking the onions, garlic and mushrooms in the oily debris of cooking the meat. Stews like this cry out for carrots and mashed potatoes, peas too.

Serves 4
Prep: 35 min
Cook: 3 hours

1 kg stewing steak, I prefer big pieces of shin
flour for dusting
3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
3 lamb’s kidneys
1 large onion
6 garlic cloves
4 large, flat mushrooms
200ml red wine
300ml chicken stock

If the steak isn’t already sliced, cut it into two-bite size pieces. Dust with seasoned flour. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a spacious frying pan over a medium-high heat, brown the meat in batches so it browns evenly and thoroughly. Transfer to a lidded, oven-proof casserole dish (I use a Le Creuset). Cut the kidneys into 4 or 5 pieces, cutting off the white ‘core’. Dust the pieces with flour and quickly brown in a little more hot oil to firm. Scatter the pieces over the meat. While the meats cook, halve, peel and finely chop the onion. Crack the garlics, remove the papery skin and halve lengthways. Wipe or peel the mushrooms and slice thickly, making 4 or 5 pieces. When the meat is all done, add a couple more tbsp oil and when hot, stir in the onion with a generous pinch salt. Reduce the heat slightly and cook, stirring often, for about 15 minutes until sloppy and lightly coloured. Stir in the garlic and cook, stirring often, until aromatic. Stir the mushrooms into the sloppy onions, stirring until shiny and darkened, allowing about 10 minutes for this. Pour the wine over the meat and bring slowly to simmer, stirring constantly to make thick gravy. Turn the oven to 150C/gas mark 2. Tip the onion mixture over the top, stir whilst adding the stock. Season lightly with salt and pepper then drape a piece of baking parchment over the dish, large enough to touch the food with the edges held in place by the lid. Trim to leave a 4 cm overhang. Place in the hot oven and cook for 2 ½ hours. Check the meat is very tender, if not, cook on for a further 30 minutes. I left the casserole in the cooling oven overnight and reheated the stew over low direct heat.