In Chef's Table

British food fortnight begins at the end of September and as the nights draw in and the temperature drops there is nothing more traditional than a beautiful warming steak & ale pudding made with great British beef and your favourite dark ale. As will all things worthwhile a little time is required to create this pudding but what else will you be doing as the autumn rain drizzles down?

This will make enough for a couple of large puddings or 8 – 10 individual ones. It makes a great party piece and will bring back childhood memories for all you make it for.

Steak & Ale Pudding

  • 20ml x veg oil
  • 20g butter
  • 500g diced shin of beef
  • 200g finely sliced white onions
  • 2 x carrots, diced
  • 200 kilo chestnut mushrooms, quartered
  • 50g plain flour
  • 1 x tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 x celery sticks, diced
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 300ml dark real ale
  • 100ml red wine
  • 1 x tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 x tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 x tbsp picked thyme
  1. Heat the oil in a pan and brown the meat well. Add butter to the pan and cook the onions on a medium heat for 10 minutes, then add celery and carrots for a further 2 min, add the flour, cook out for a few minutes then add tomato purée, thyme and wine, reduce liquid by half then add stock, Worcestershire sauce and ale. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 2 hours or until meat is soft and breaks apart easily. Fry off mushrooms separately and add to pan with parsley (at this point you can also choose to add diced and fried kidney if you wish) If more thickening is required use a mixture of cornflour and water.
  2. If there is excess liquid ladle some out and keep for serving with the finished pudding.
  3. Chill the mixture as it will be easier to work with.

For The Pastry

  • 500g plain flour
  • 250g suet
  • Around 50ml of water
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  1. Mix flour, suet salt and thyme together in a bowl then add a little water at a time until it combines to a pastry and kneed lightly for a few minutes. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling out. Roll out into a large enough disc to fill an oven proof bowl. Also roll out a disc that will cover the top when the bowl has been filled
  2. Butter the inside of your bowl then carefully place in the pastry pressing gently to the sides so there are no air pockets – the pastry should come over the edge of the bowl. Fill the bowl 2cm from the top with the pie filling then brush a little water around the top of the pastry before placing the other disc on top, trim off any excess pastry then seal the two pieces together – press and crimp around the edges.
  3. Cover the dish with a large circle of baking parchment, with a pleat in the middle to allow for expansion. Cover the parchment with a circle of aluminium foil, again with a pleat and secure both covers tightly with string.
  4. Place the bowl onto an upturned saucer in a large, deep saucepan and add enough just-boiled water to come halfway up the sides of the basin. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and place on the hob over a medium heat. Steam the pudding in simmering water for 2½ hours, adding more water as necessary.
  5. When the pudding is cooked through, turn off the heat and carefully lift the basin from the water. Let the pudding stand for five minutes.
  6. Cut the string, foil and paper off the pudding basin. Run a blunt-ended knife around the inside of the pudding basin to loosen the sides of the pudding and invert it onto a deep plate.
  7. Serve with extra gravy and some greens or broccoli with carrots.
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