Steamed pudding is a British classic. The lamb belly element adds a richness to the dish and the shank gives it body.
Makes 1 pudding (serves 4-6)
1 lamb belly/breast (on the bone)
1 lamb shank
3 fresh lambs' kidneys
Enough water/stock to cover, approximately 1-2 litres
3 onions, sliced
1tsp fennel seeds
1tsp cumin seeds
100ml white wine
3 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
2 bay leaves (break the leaves to release more flavour)
1tbs mint, chopped
1tbs parsley, chopped
Maldon salt and black pepper
For the pastry 350g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
175g shredded suet
About 300ml cold water
50g soft unsalted butter for the basins
Get a frying pan hot on the stovetop with a little oil and colour the lamb belly/breast then the shank and then the kidneys. Once you're done colouring, deglaze the pan with a little water, stock or red wine and reserve with the meat.
Turn the oven to 100°C. Transfer the belly/breast and shank (but not the kidneys) and juices to a suitable, tight-fitting container. Pour in the water/stock. Cover with a cartouche (parchment or grease-proof paper) but no lid and leave to braise for 12-15 hours.
Lift the belly and shank out of the pot. While still warm, pick the meat off the bone in thick chunks. Drizzle some of the braising stock over the meat to keep it moist, then cool, cover with clingfilm and keep in the fridge until
needed along with the stock. Once chilled, skim any fat from the surface of the stock and reserve.
Heat some of the skimmed-off lamb fat in a pan, add the onions and cook to a deep brown. Add the spices and toast for a minute, then add the wine, Madeira, garlic, bay leaves and braising stock. Bring to the boil and reduce by a quarter.
Pour half of this into another pan and cook down to a sauce-like glaze to use as an extra jus. Cook the rest in the first pan until almost thick, then add the lamb.
Continue to cook this until the liquid is almost all evaporated but the meat is still moist. Discard thebay leaves and garlic, add the mint and parsley, and season to taste.
Add the browned kidneys to the meat filling, mix in, then set the meat mixture and jus aside.
To make the pastry, sift the flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt and gently stir in the suet. Add the water and bring together to form a soft dough. Wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
Butter a 2-pint (1.2 litre) pudding basin. Roll out the pastry on a floured worktop to make a 25cm round that's about 1cm thick. Cut out a quarter of this round to make the lid. Line the basin with the remaining pastry round and press down to fit. Roll out the reserved quarter to make a lid. Add the meat filling, then top with the lid, using water to stick the edges together.
Place a piece of baking parchment on top of a sheet of foil (both larger than the top of the pudding basin) and make a large pleat in the middle, folding both sheets together. Place this pleated cover foil-side up on top of the basin and secure it with string or a rubber band. Cut off any excess foil/paper that hangs below the string/band.
Steam the puddings for 1½ hours. Turn out to serve. Reheat the jus then pour over the pudding for extra richness.
Recipe taken from Low and Slow by Neil Rankin. Photography by Paul Winch-Furness
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