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Kentish Pudding

There is something so intrinsically comforting about a homemade pie, especially one which encases it’s filling with a soft suet pastry which has absorbed all the delicious flavours from within.  This pudding takes four hours to steam (add an hour for prep and pre-assembly cooking) so it’s a perfect recipe to make on a lazy Sunday afternoon.  It really is worth the time waiting for the end result, the chicken remains incredibly succulent and happy childhood memories come flooding back when you take your first mouthful.

Ingredients

Filling:
750g Chicken Thighs, boned and skinned (can buy them ready prepared)
Salt & Pepper
50g Butter
1 Large Onion, finely chopped
100g Rindless Streaky Bacon, cut into 2cm pieces
250g Button Mushrooms, halved
3tbsp Flour
4tbsp White Wine (or a squidge more)
350ml Chicken Stock
2tbsp Chopped Parsley

Pastry:
275g Self Raising Flour
140g Beef Suet
1tsp salt

Also:
Pudding basin, foil and string.

Method
1.  Season the chicken and lightly flour.  Fry in 15g of the butter in batches just for a couple of minutes on each side, so that the chicken is sealed, but not browned.  Set aside.

2. Fry the onions and bacon until soft in the remaining butter.  Once soft add the mushrooms and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.

3.  Add the flour to the mixture, then slowly add the wine and chicken stock.  Bring to the boil, allowing the sauce to thicken.  Set aside to cool.

4.  Whilst the sauce is cooling make the pastry.  Add all the pastry ingredients into a bowl and combine with cold water.  Start by adding 100ml and continue to add a little extra if the pastry doesn’t come together.  The pastry should form a ball, but shouldn’t be sticky to the touch.

5.  Roll out the pastry into a large circle, large enough to line the pudding basin.  Now cut a quarter wedge out of the pastry – this will be used for the lid.  Grease the inside of the basin with butter, then line with the pastry.  Don’t worry if there are gaps, these can be patched up with the off cuts.

6.  Add the chicken and the parsley to the sauce.  Fill the lined pudding basin with the mixture.  Remould the lid and place on top.  Press the edges together and trim away the excess pastry.

7.  Cut a piece of foil big enough to cover the top of the basin.  Create a pleat in the centre of the foil and place loosely over the top.  Tie string around the top of the basin.  Create a handle out of string to aid getting the pudding out of the pan after steaming.

8.  Lower the pudding into a pan of gently simmering water.  The water should come about half way up the basin.  Cover the pan and steam for four hours, topping up the water as required.

9.  Serve straight from the basin with anything delicious.

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Ingredients
1kg Rhubarb
3 Pink Grapefruit
1kg Caster Sugar

Other
4-6 Sterilised Jam Jars with lids
Chilled Saucer – put it in the freezer

Method
1.  Wash and pat dry the rhubarb ~ cut into 2cm lengths and put into a maslin or other large pan.
2.  Peel the zest from the grapefruit with a potato peeler and chop finely ~ add to the rhubarb.
3.  Squeeze the juice from the grapfruit ~ add to the pan.
4.  Add the sugar to the pan and mix well.  Leave to mascerate for 20mins.
5.  Heat over a high heat until boiling, stirring regularly so that it doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pan.
6.  Continue to boil for approximately 20mins.  After this time test the jam for setting on a chilled saucer ~ leave for 2mins before pushing your finger through it ~ you’re looking for a slight wrinkling on the surface.  The jam is not a hard set jam so should be relatively runny, but not too much!
7.  Once it reaches the required setting point decant the jam into jars and seal immediately.

If making double quantities it may take longer than 20mins to reach setting point.  Continue to boil, testing incrementally after 5mins.

Positively a delicious jam.