Beef and Pickled Walnut Pudding
|1||oxtail (approx. 1.5-2kg)|
|Stock vegetables (carrot, onion, leek, celery)|
|150g||shredded beef suet|
|Salt and black pepper|
|15g||vinegar from pickled walnuts|
|15g||tomato purée (optional)|
|15g||mushroom ketchup (optional)|
You will need a casserole and a pudding basin.
The day before you want to serve your pudding, brown the oxtail chunks in a hot dry frying pan and place them in a single layer in a casserole along with whatever stock veg you have to hand. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Skim carefully and then reduce to the barest simmer. Keep a lid on the pot and either simmer on a low heat or in the oven at 130°C. Check after a couple of hours, but cook until the meat pulls away from the bones.
Remove and discard the stock veg, pick all the meat off the bones and reserve, then strain the remaining liquid and chill overnight so you can lift off (and keep) the fat in the morning.
Combine the self-raising flour, suet and baking powder in a bowl and add just enough cold water to bring it to a manageable dough. Use two-thirds of it to line a pudding basin.
Cut the beef skirt into neat chunks, toss in seasoned plain flour and brown them in the recovered fat from the oxtail. (Use veg oil if you’re not that rugged.)
Chop the onion and sweat it in a thick-based pan with a little oil until it softens. Add the browned beef chunks and the red wine and allow the wine to simmer down to about 50% of its volume. Add about 600g of the oxtail liquid, bring to a gentle simmer, then crumble in the pickled walnuts and put a lid on.
After about 45 minutes of simmering, the meat will be getting good. Add the oxtail meat and start tweaking. Taste the gravy, then start with salt. You’ll also need black pepper. Stir in a little of the redcurrant jelly and taste again. Finally add splashes of the pickling vinegar from the walnuts. Experimentally tasting like this works brilliantly with any gravy or sauce. A little tomato purée sometimes enlivens things, and mushroom ketchup can add a lovely bassy earthiness.
Once everything is to your satisfaction, preheat the oven to 160°C. Pour the filling into the pie, roll out the remaining pastry to make a lid and glue it on with water and a paintbrush. Crimp together to seal. Cover the top of the pie with a layer of foil and hold everything in place with a layer of clingfilm. Put the whole basin into a baking tin in the middle of the oven and pour in boiling water to a depth of at least 3-4cm. Cook in the oven for 45 minutes.