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Rag Pudding

Introduction & method

Chances are, you've never heard of rag pudding, unless you're familiar with the area around Manchester, specifically Oldham. Rag pudding is a lot like steak and kidney pudding, except it's steamed in a cloth (or rag, hence the name) rather than a bowl or basin. Another popular filling for rag pudding is minced beef and onion.

Rag Pudding Recipe

Make the Filling

Trim your beef of any fat and sinew, and cut it into small dice, about 12mm (half an inch). Toss the dice in seasoned flour and sear in hot dripping until they are well browned. You may need to do this in batches. Peel and finely chop the onion. Put the beef into a large cooking pot or pressure cooker, along with the stock. Bring to the boil and remove any scum. Sauté the onion until golden brown, then add to the pot. If you're using a conventional stove-top pot, cover and simmer for 3½ hours. In a pressure cooker, cook under pressure for 20-30 minutes.

Toward the end of this time, chop the kidneys and remove the gristly core. Sauté them in hot fat until browned, and add to the beef. Add the bay leaves, pepper and herbs, and cook for a further 10 minutes. Make up a slurry of 1 tbsp flour and 1 tbsp water, and stir this into the pan to thicken the gravy. Check for seasoning, remove from heat and allow to cool.

Make the Suet Pastry and Assemble the Puddings

Mix the dry ingredients together. Add just enough water for it to come together as a stiff dough. Sprinkle flour on your worktop and rolling pin, and roll the pastry into a number of squares about 15cm (6 inches) on a side. Place a heap of filling on one half of the pastry, leaving a 2cm margin on the edges. Moisten the edges of the square with water, then fold the sides up and over the filling. Fold the rest of the pastry over the filling and press down the edges to seal them. Wrap each pudding in a square of muslin cloth (or old torn-up sheets). Sprinkle flour on each cloth before wrapping to stop it sticking.

Cook the Puddings

Bring plenty of water to the boil in a steamer. Pop the puddings into the upper racks, cover, and steam for one hour.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Rag Pudding on YouTube.


Ingredients & Info

 300 grams stewing beef
 150 grams lamb or ox kidney
 500 ml beef stock
 2 bay leaves
 half a tsp thyme
 half a tsp sage
  salt & pepper to taste
 250 grams self-raising flour
 pinch of salt
 125 grams suet
  water, as required

Beef dripping, lard or oil for sautéeing. Flour, salt and pepper for coating beef.

US Customary/Imperial

Makes 4 puddings
Prep time: 15 minutes.
Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes.
Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes.