Tuesday, 29 October 2013
BACON AND ONION PUDDING
I have an unhealthy weakness for suet puddings. The classic, of course, is steak and kidney but my favourite has to be this one - bacon and onion. For the filling I use a pack of 'cooking' bacon from Morrisons. These are the offcuts left over when they slice up their rashers, all the little odds and ends. The quality is the same as the ordinary bacon and while we aren't talking artisan dry cured it is definitely good enough for this pudding. Do have a sort through them first as they can be irregular sizes - it is best to have them in fairly uniform 1cm-ish bits.
Unlike a steak and kidney pudding this one doesn't generate its own gravy so a separate one has to be made. When I was growing up it was made with half a packet of dried chicken and leek soup, a method I still use today. However, I had run out of soup so I had to make one from scratch - I use a chicken Oxo cube instead of proper stock simply because I think it works.
200g plain flour
100g shredded suet
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 tsp dried sage
500g cooking bacon, in small pieces
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 tsp dried sage
Finely chopped shallot
1 tbsp flour
2 tbsp cream
Grease a 1 litre pudding basin. In a roomy bowl mix together the flour, suet, baking powder, salt and sage. Add enough water to make a pastry that is softer than shortcrust pastry but still capable of being rolled out. Divide the dough into a third and two thirds. Dust your board and roll the larger piece out until it is big enough to line your pudding basin, then transfer to the basin and press carefully into the bottom.
Combine the bacon, onion and sage and tip into the lined basin. Roll out the remaining pastry into a top to fit the basin, brush the edge of the pudding with water then press on the top. Trim the edges.
Take a sheet of greaseproof paper and a sheet of tin foil. Put the tin foil on top of the greaseproof paper then fold an inch pleat in both. Place this over the pudding and tie with string tightly (useful to have a friend near at this point!). Steam the pudding for 2 and a half hours.
To make the gravy slowly fry the shallot in a knob of butter until it starts to disintegrate. Stir in the flour and then the water until it thickens. Crumble in the Oxo cube and stir until a nice thick gravy has formed - a little more water might be needed. Just before serving add the cream and bubble up.
Once the pudding has cooked turn it out onto a plate. Serve with a little bit of mashed potato, a green vegetable (kale is lovely with this) and a generous glug of the gravy. Perfect for winter nights.