In Victorian times, when oysters were plentiful, they would often be added to the top of the filling.
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For a 1.8 litre pudding bowl - to serve 6 people:
1 big Onion, peeled and sliced
1 clove of Garlic, peeled and chopped
1kg Beef , Chuck Steak or Skirt - trimmed of fat and cut into cubes
250g lamb or veal kidney, trimmed of any centre sinew, and cubed
250g cap or flat mushrooms, wiped an cut into wedges
400g beef stock, Guiness or beer
Salt and freshly-ground black Pepper
A little butter to grease the pudding bowl
For the crust:
125g Suet, grated
250g Self-Raising Flour
a pinch of Salt
Iced Water (about 100ml)
1. Melt half the butter in a big, heavy frying pan, and lightly brown the onions, add the chopped garlic for the last minute of cooking.
2. Remove them from the pan, and set aside.
3. Brown the steak and kidney over a medium heat, in the remaining butter - in batches if necessary.
4. Remove from the pan, and set aside.
5. Deglaze the frying pan with a little of your chosen liquid, scrapping the base to remove any dark caramel - add this liquid to the meat.
6.Sift the flour into a bowl and add the salt and suet, and lightly rub the suet into the flour, until you have a breadcrumb texture.
7. Gradually add a little iced water, mixing with your hands, until you have a pliable soft dough.
8. Knead this until smooth, then roll it out on a very lightly-floured surface, until you have a circle of about 30cm.
9. Grease the pudding basin with a little butter, and fold the dough into four.
10. With the broad edge outwards, fit the pastry into the basin, pressing it to the sides - it should overhang the edges of the basin.
11. Remove some of the overhanging pastry, but leave enough to make a pastry rim around the lip of the basin, to which you can anchor the pastry lid.
12. Mix the meat, onions and mushrooms together and put them into the pudding basin, add the remaining liquid, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
13. Gather together all the remaining pastry trimmings, and roll out a round big enough to generously fit the top of the basin.
14. Pinch together where the lid joins the pastry walls to seal it well.
15. Cover with a round of greaseproof paper, pleated down the middle to allow the pudding to rise, and tie a pudding cloth over it.
16. Place on a steamer rack in a saucepan and pour enough boiling water to come a quarter of the way up the sides of the basin.
17. Cover with a lid, and steam for two and a half hours, adding more boiling water if it runs low.
18. Turn the pudding out onto a heated serving plate.
Serve by cutting into wedges, or wrap the pudding basin in a large clean cloth, and serve straight from the basin. The pudding should be eaten hot.