Recipe for Steamed Venison Pudding with Figgy PastryServes 4
- 700g (1½ lbs) diced venison
- 1 large onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- Bay leaf
- Few leaves of sage
- Sprig of rosemary
- 1 tablespoon plain flour
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of ground juniper berries and nutmeg
- 275ml (½ pint) of strong dark beer
- 1 tablespoon Worcester sauce
- 150ml (¼ pint) stock or water
- Oil for frying
- For the suet crust:
- 225g (8oz) self-raising flour
- 110g (4oz) suet
- 50g (2oz) raisins or currants
- 150ml (¼ pint) water
- Salt and pepper
Heat a little oil in a pan and over a high heat brown the venison, in two batches if necessary. Spoon out and reserve. Chop the onion and garlic and in the same pan fry over a medium heat until golden. Sprinkle over the tablespoon of flour and gradually pour in the beer, scraping in the residues on the bottom of the pan. Add the rest of the ingredients if there is room or transfer to a casserole and bring to the boil. Season with salt and pepper and simmer gently for at least two hours until the meat is tender. Taste for seasoning. This stage can be done a day ahead and left in the fridge.
On the day of eating finish the dish by making the suet crust. Roughly chop up the raisins if using and sift the flour, mix in the fruit, suet, and a little salt. Add just enough cold water to make a firm dough. Roll out on a well-floured surface to make a large circle. Cut out a quarter and set aside for the lid. Drop the rest into a lightly buttered 1.2 litre (2 pint) pudding basin, so that the centre sits on the base of the basin and the outer edges of the pastry overhang the rim of the basin. Using your fingers, gently press the dough into the corners of the basin and round to line it completely. Fill the crust with the venison stew, stopping about 2.5cm (1in) below the rim of the basin. (You will have extra stew left over which you can serve as gravy). Roll out the remaining pastry to form a lid for the pudding.
Lay over the pudding and dampen the edges of the overhang. Press together to seal neatly. Cover with buttered and folded foil. The pudding can now be cooked in a steamer for 1½ hours. Check the water level regularly and top up with more boiling water as needed. Delicious served with a green vegetable or roasted squash.