History of the Steak and Kidney Pie

History of the Steak and Kidney Pie

Pies have been a staple in Britain for centuries. As early as the 14th century, the streets of medieval London echoed with cries of “Pies, hot pies!”
The first written recipe for a steak and kidney version appeared in 1694’s The Compleat Cook. However, this early recipe differed significantly from the modern dish. It featured lamb, prunes, currants, and nutmeg.
The true emergence of the steak and kidney pie as we know it occurred in
the 19th century. According to cookery writer Jane Grigson, the first published recipe combining steak and kidney appeared in 1859 in Mrs. Beeton’s Household Management. However, Beeton used it in a pudding rather than a pie.
Over time, this dish gained popularity and became a quintessential British comfort food. Its rhyming slang names include “Kate and Sydney Pie.”
While the ingredients of steak and kidney pie have seen some debate over the centuries, one thing remains non-negotiable – the kidneys.
To aficionados, kidneys are the pièce de résistance. Their rich flavour and tender texture elevate the humble pie.
Steak and kidney pie has left its mark in literature. Charles Dickens may have mentioned dubious pies, but it continues to be an unlikely literary icon. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series features it multiple times, especially at Hogwarts and the Leaky Cauldron pub.
Next time you savour a hearty slice of steak and kidney pie, remember its storied past—a blend of tradition, flavour, and a touch of whimsy!