Venison, Mushroom and Ale Pudding


500g stewing venison, diced

2 large onions, thinly sliced

8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

4 field mushrooms, stems removed

1 tbsp plain flour, seasoned

1 tsp tomato puree

200ml brown ale

1 tsp sugar

4 thyme sprigs, leaves picked

For the pastry:

450 self-raising flour

225g shredded beef suet


First make the pastry.  Sift 1 tsp salt and the flour together and stir in the suet.  Add 300ml cold water and mix until it all comes together into a dough.  Wrap in cling film and chill for 1 hour.

Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan.  Gently fry the onions and garlic for 10 minutes until soft.  Remove from the pan and set aside, then add a little more oil.  Now fry the mushrooms until golden, then remove these and set aside. 

Toss the venison in the flour and fry in batches, adding more oil as you go, until really golden brown.  Mix the purée, ale, sugar and thyme into the pan, then cool.

Butter a 2½ pt/1.4-litre basin.  Roll the suet pastry out to about 1cm thick and use to line the sides of the basin.  Trim so that there's a little overhang.  Re-roll what's left and cut out a lid that's about 1cm wider than the top of the basin.  Put the mushrooms around the sides of the basin, stalks facing in, then fill the basin with the meat and juices.  You might not need all the juices.

Place the lid on top and crimp the edges together to seal.  Make a double layer of buttered foil and baking paper, and pleat it in the centre. Scrunch this over the pudding, foil-side up, then tie with string under the rim of the basin.  Trim to about 2cm under the string, then put into a steamer or sit on a saucer in a large pan containing enough gently simmering water to come halfway up the sides of the bowl.  Steam the pudding for 4 hours.

Unwrap and turn out onto a big plate.  Delicious served with broccoli or cauliflower cheese.

Source: Mike Robinson, BBC Good Food Magazine November 2009

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