MUTTON AND CAPER PUDDING
For a 1.2 litre/2 pint pudding basin (Serves 4)
1½ lb mutton
1 onion, chopped
1clove of garlic, crushed
1 carrot, chopped
1 stick of celery, chopped
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp capers
¾ pint of lamb stock
¼ pint Madeira
1 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper
For the Suet pastry:
300g/10 oz self-raising flour
150g/ 5 oz freshly grated suet
200ml/7fl oz water
Trim the mutton of excess fat, which can be rendered in a large casserole ready for frying the meat.
Cut the meat into cubes of about an inch, season with salt and pepper and then fry until well browned. Remove the meat from the pan, turn the heat down and cook the onions gently until softened. Now add the crushed garlic and the rest of the finely chopped vegetables and cook until softened. Return the meat to the pan and sprinkle a level tablespoon of flour over. Stir and cook for a minute or so.
Bring the stock and Madeira to the boil in a separate pan then add to the casserole, stirring to amalgamate and make thin gravy. Stir in the capers and chopped parsley, taste and adjust seasoning. Cover the pan and cook for 1-1½ hours.
At this stage the meat will be just becoming tender, but remember that it will be cooked for longer in the pudding. Taste and check the seasoning. The liquid should now be drained off and reserved and the meat and vegetables left to cool. The pudding can be made to this stage a day in advance, which will give the flavours time to develop and also allow you to remove the excess fat that will settle on the surface.
To make the suet pastry, sift the flour and salt into a bowl and mix in the grated suet (peel away the thin skin before grating or chopping the suet). Add the water and stir to form a dough. Wrap in cling film and chill for 20 minutes before rolling.
Whilst the pastry is chilling prepare the pudding basin by buttering it well and chilling. Jane Grigson swore by plastic pudding basins with snap top lids for ease of turning out but if you are using glass or china pudding basins they can be chilled after buttering and then re-buttered to build up a good layer to make turning out easier.
Lightly flour the work surface and roll out three-quarters of the pastry to line the bowl. The dough should be between ½ and ¾ inch thick. Leave a border of pastry overhanging the lip of the bowl. Now put the filling into the bowl, leaving a little room at the top. Pour on the retained liquid (heat slightly to liquefy if necessary) until it just reaches the top of the meat. Keep the rest back to serve as gravy with the pudding.
Now roll out the remaining pastry to form a lid. Fold the overhanging rim of pastry in on top of the filling and brush with water. Press the edges of the pastry together with a fork to seal.
Cover the top of the pudding with buttered greaseproof paper and then either put on the plastic lid or cover with a double layer of foil. The plastic basins usually have a handle. For foil-covered bowls you can create one with string.
Put the pudding into a steamer with boiling water in the base, or, if you do not have a steamer, place a trivet (or crossed skewers or upturned plate) in the bottom of a saucepan and pour on hot water to reach half way up the bowl.
Cover the pan and steam for 1½ – 2 hours, checking the water level regularly.
When cooked remove the foil and paper covering then turn the pudding out onto a plate. Serve with the re-heated and strained gravy. Swede or buttered cabbage would be good accompaniments.