Cooking on the Wild Side of Christmas

Steak and Kidney Pie has been a Boxing Day tradition in my family. They go “Box” (shop) and I make the pies … mmm …

This old family recipe gets a decidedly Northern flavour with caribou and/or moose along with the kidneys. If your hunting prowess is a little on the lax side, you can substitute traditional beef steak; it won’t be as Northern but, hey, almost as good.

While some disdain the use of organ meats, there are many who adore the rich and musky taste.

Combine that with the gamey good flavour of wild meat and you have one heck of a hot pie – not to mention the incredible source of iron, Vitamin B12 and folic acid that all organ meats contribute.

Hints: Call Ralph at the Hanson Street Deli … but don’t wait too long as he only has so many kidneys.

One can always make the filling ahead of time, refrigerate and then fill and top the pie with pastry just before baking on the day of serving.

Wild Steak and Kidney Pie


1 pound beef kidney, diced

2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil

1 pound moose or caribou roast or steak, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, finely chopped

1 cup celery, diced

4 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 cup beef stock

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon Yukon sage

1 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme

½ cup chopped fresh parsley

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons port wine (optional)

¼ cup flour

2 tablespoons butter, softened

Puff Pastry, 397 gram package

1 egg yolk plus 1 tablespoon cold water


Cut up the kidney into one-half-inch pieces, discarding the tough connective tissue.

Soak the diced kidney in a bowl of cold water for about one hour, then drain, rinse and pat dry with a paper towel.

Heat oil in a large skillet.

Sauté the steak and garlic for about three minutes and continue cooking until the meat is browned.

Add the onion and celery and continue cooking until just softened.

Add potatoes, stock, Worcestershire sauce, sage, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper, and heat to a gentle boil.

Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add in the kidney and cook another 10 minutes until the kidney is still tender and the potatoes are still slightly firm.

Add port wine (optional).

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, blend together the flour and butter.

Gently fold the butter-flour mixture into the meat mixture, stirring well.

Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Remove from heat and let the mixture cool.

Transfer the slightly cooled meat mixture into one large nine-inch or small individual pie plates; or, if making ahead, refrigerate the mixture in an airtight container.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to about one-half-inch thickness.

Cut the pastry to fit the tops of pie plates. Cut a vent with a small Christmas cutter such as a star or a tree.

Place the pastry over the meat mixture.

Beat the egg yolk and water together in a small bowl; brush to glaze the top of pastry.

Bake in a pre-heated 400F oven for 20 to 30 minutes until the pastry is golden and the filling is bubbling.

Yield = one nine- or 10-inch pie or six individual pies

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