Beef and a Gorgeous Pie
A short history of cattle and a recipe for a beautiful pie.
Cattle have been domesticated for many thousands of years. They are known as the world’s most important animal, as they provide the power to plough and pull wagons and carts, and are a great source of meat, as well as milk from their bodies and leather from their hides. Their dung is a very important commodity as well, providing agriculture with a very rich compost. The domestication of cattle dates from between 7,000 and 8,000 years ago in Asia. As with sheep and goats, the process of domesticating cattle resulted in developing animals much smaller than their wild ancestors. Domestication of cattle would have started when animals were captured from the wild. In the holding pens, or coralls, the captive bulls and cows mated, and from these matings, calves occasionally were born that had physical attributes different from their parents. Their temperament became more docile, their markings and colours differed, and they were smaller in size.
Over the centuries, cattle husbandry was learned and passed down the generations. The slaughter and preparation of meat was learned and the skills associated with making goods from the hides was developed. Leather was produced to clothe the people, to provide them with shelter and to make weapons of war, scabbards, belts, shields and such.
Once an animal is slaughtered, the dividing up into manageable portions is undertaken by the butcher. The innards, heart, liver, kidneys, lungs and entrails are all used for food in one form or another. In best cases, the meat is then hung in a cold environment for up to 30 days to mature. There is a vast difference in the taste of meat that has been properly hung and meat that has not been hung at all.
My recipe for a steak and kidney pie is as follows:
1lb of chuck steak
half a pound of kidneys
1 onion and 1 carrot
vegetable stock and dark beer
Brown the floured beef in a frying pan.
Add the diced carrot, stock and beer.
Place in the oven at gas mark 6, 200C for an hour and a half.
Lightly fry the kidney, onion and garlic.
Add to the beef mix and cool down.
Using either shop bought or home made pastry, line a large, greased dish with the pastry.
Pour in the pie mixture. Roll out enough pastry to form a lid.
Grease the rim of the pie dish and place the lid on. Crimp the edges and cut a slit in the top to allow steam to escape.
Bake at gas mark 6, 200C for 40mins. If the top gets too brown, cover with tin foil.
This pie is absolutely devine.