Oxtail and wild mushroom pudding – Serves 4

This recipe requires a little more time and patience than a conventional steak suet pudding, as oxtail has a lot of connective tissue that requires a little more care and attention than a braising steak cut, but will give a much richer and more indulgent end result.
For the braised oxtail filling
4 tbsp vegetable oil
50g plain flour
2.5kg jointed oxtail – ask your butcher to do this for you
3 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
2 carrots, peeled and finely sliced
2 sticks celery, finely sliced
1 onion, finely diced

1 star anise

4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tbsp tomato purée

200g tomatoes, roughly chopped
200g  piece of smoked bacon, roughly diced
1 litre reduced beef stock

100ml brandy
1⁄2 bottle claret
1⁄2 tsp English mustard
Salt to taste
1⁄2 tsp black pepper

250g cleaned wild mushrooms


For the Suet pastry
200g (8oz) self-raising flour
1⁄2 tsp salt

100g (4oz) suet
150ml (1⁄4 pint) iced water
Butter for greasing

Start by making the pastry. Mix the flour with the salt and suet, then add the water a little at a time until it is incorporated, kneading with clean dry hands. Now wrap in cling film and set aside in the fridge.

Heat up a large heavy bottomed pan and add the oil. Lightly season and flour the oxtail shaking off any excess, then brown it evenly on all sides. Remove the meat from the dish and set aside. Then add the chopped garlic, chopped vegetables, diced bacon star anise and thyme to the pan and cook for five minutes until caramelised. Drain off any excess fat, then add the tomato puree and brown for 2 minutes, then add the chopped tomato and brown for a further 5 minutes.

Add the brandy to the pot and burn off the alcohol, then add the claret and allow to reduce by half, before adding the beef stock and the oxtail back to the pan, along with the mustard and a good pinch of salt and pepper.

Put the lid on, reduce the heat and simmer gently for two to three hours until the oxtail can just be pulled from the bone. Remove the oxtail and pull the meat from the bone. Reduce the liquor by three quarters by boiling rapidly, then strain through a fine sieve.

Sautee the wild mushrooms in a hot pan with a knob of butter, then mix through the oxtail meat along with a generous splash of the reduced sauce. Season to taste.

Roll out three quarters of the suet in a disc 4mm thick, then do the same with the smaller piece. Grease a1.1 litre (2 pint) pudding basin with butter, then line with the pastry ensuring there are no gaps or holes. Pile the oxtail mixture into the dish until it’s four fifths full. Pop the lid on and seal it by crimping with some water. Wrap in greaseproof paper and steam for one hour.

Turn the pudding out on to a serving plate, and then pour the remaining strained liquor over it. Serve with roasted root vegetables and a fine burgundy.