- 2lb or 900g casserole steak cut into 3cm cubes
- 3 medium onions cut in half and sliced
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
- 1 head of celeriac, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
- 1 litre fine Scottish ale
- 450gr black pudding, cut into 2cm cubes
- Fresh thyme, parsley stalks, 2 bay leaves and the green of a leek tied into a bundle
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
- 450gr (or 1lb) self-raising flour
- 225gr or (half pound) suet
- 275ml (or half pint) cold water (approx)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
In a hot heavy frying pan, with 1 tablespoon of oil, start to brown the onions keeping them moving all the time. As they start to soften add the prepared carrots and celeriac. When the onions are looking translucent, put them into a large enamelled casserole dish. Put the frying pan back onto the heat and seal the meat adding more oil as you need it.(I use a spray can of oil which is brilliant for this) Cook the meat in small batches and place in the casserole dish with the vegetables. Deglaze the pan with some of the beer, scraping off all the bits and pour over the meat. Pour the rest of the beer over the meat and add the herb bundle, then heat gently and when it is bubbling, cover with the lid and place in the lower part of the top oven of an Aga or at 190c or Gas 5 for 1 hour.
Remove from the oven and stir well. At this point you can leave it to cool and finish the dish the following day – this will give it time for the flavours to develop more thoroughly. Alternatively, you can continue and replace the casserole in the oven for a further 45 minutes by which time the meat should be ready for the suet crust.
Place all the pastry ingredients in a mixing bowl except the water and blend well.
Make well in the centre and add the water gradually stirring using a round-bladed knife or spatula. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and knead lightly before rolling into a circle slightly larger than the casserole.
If you have let the casserole cool overnight, heat it gently, stirring occasionally. If you have not, then remove from the oven and check there is enough liquid, and if necessary add some hot water. Mix in the cubed black pudding. Place the suet pastry oven the meat and press in place. Replace the lid and put back into the oven for approximately 45 minutes. By this time the top should be crusty and slightly brown. Serve with bright green vegetables. This dish is forgiving and will wait in a warm place until you are ready for it.