1. Beefsteak Pudding


Recipe from: Porters English Cookery Bible. Adapted from Lady Clark’s collection from her cook, Mrs Wellington. Slightly different from the usual beefsteak pudding as it contains ham.

Post-cooking note: Click here to see the results (with pics).


450g/1lb/4 cups plain (all-purpose) flour plus 2 tablespoons.
225g/8oz/1 cup shredded suet (shortening)
Salt and pepper
675g/1 ½ lb shin beef or stewing steak, diced
225g/8ox ham, diced
1-2 shallots
1/2 tablespoon mushroom ketchup
Beef stock

Stir together the flour, suet and a pinch of salt, and add enough cold water to form a soft but not sticky dough. Roll out two-third of the dough and line a greased pudding basin. Place 2 tablespoons flour on a plate and mix in salt and pepper to taste. Roll the diced meat in this, then place in the lined pudding basin. Sprinkle in the shallots and the ketchup. Pour in sufficient beef stock to come three-quarters of the way up the meat. Roll out the remaining pastry to make a lid and cover the meat, sealing the edges well.

Cover the basin with a lid (allowing for expansion during cooking) or greaseproof paper pleated in the middle, then a double thickness of foil pleated in the middle, and tie securely. Place in a large pan with enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the basin and cook for 4 1/2 hours, topping up with boiling water as needed. Remove the basin from the pan, allow to stand for a few minutes, then turn out on to a hot plate and serve.

Preliminary Thoughts

I’m going to need a pudding bowl for this, aren’t I? I don’t have a pudding bowl. Don’t they come in different sizes? What size do I need? Don’t have a rolling pin either. What on earth am I doing not having a rolling pin? I don’t even have greaseproof paper. I’m vastly under prepared.

Four and a half hours? I’m not going anywhere this afternoon then. And how does it mean “pleated in the middle”? That’s arts and crafts. I can’t do arts and crafts. Well, I’ll just have to cross that bridge when I come to it.


I went shopping. I accidentally bought a cookbook. Madhur Jaffrey’s Eastern Vegetarian Cooking.

Pudding bowls do come in different sizes. I bought the 7” one.

The Cooking

Time from Zero State to Bowl In Boiling Water = 45 minutes. Not bad at all. The kitchen is now a mess of flour and suet but I’m optimistic. The suet crust was slightly unnerving as I’ve never made it before and was plagued by doubt. But it rolled out well. There was too much of it – next time a smaller amount – maybe 400g flour, 200g suet.

Cheated and used a beef stock cube. I’ll be buggered if I’m going to make beef stock specially for the first time I make this.

Couldn’t find mushroom ketchup for love nor money, so I used Worcester sauce. They both add savoury notes.

The “pleating” was done as any normal person without a fear of such things would do it. By… pleating it.

The “tie securely” part was done with an elastic band. I have a notion it might perish with 4 ½ hours of steam, so I have string on standby. Always prepared, me.

Now to wait.


23 Responses to “1. Beefsteak Pudding”

  1. Iteki Says:

    That sounds lovely, might have to give it a try myself. While I have been much tempted by the concept of Steak & Kidney Pie I have been a bit worried about the kidney aspect. This seems like an excellent compromise.

    Will you be posting how it went, perhaps as a comment?
    I am especially curious about the rubber band.

  2. 101things Says:

    Yes, I left the kidney out because Mr B isn’t a fan (although I like them).

    I will post how it went, possibly even with photos.

  3. Stephanie Says:

    Mushroom ketchup? Wow, that’s a completely unknown condiment for me.

  4. Lili Says:

    Years ago my father-in-law made a beefsteak pudding a little differently. He made a dough out of flour,lard,slat,pepper & water. Rolled it out approx. 10 inches square and laid it on a piece of cheesecloth. Into it he placed cut up stew meat that was dredged in salted flour, sliced onions, and lg. diced potatoes. then he folded the dough over into a package and wrapped it in the cheese cloth and tied it together. He then placed the packages into boiling water and cooked for 5 hours. Removed and drained. We ate them with ketchup on top. It was delicious but I have yet to find the exact recipe. He told no one and took it to his grave. Wish I could find it. Love your websit.
    Thank you,Lili

  5. Mick Says:

    My grand mother used Calico to wrap the pudding, the pastry is my problem I’m looking for a dumpling pastry can anyone help

  6. Greg Walker Says:

    I have rediscovered savory puddings like this in the past year, and they have quickly become a cool weather favorite! My old dad always preferred beefsteak and kidney pies, but I really like the quality of the meat and the crust when it is allowed to steam for hours.

  7. Dan Treecraft Says:

    Well, I’ll be greased! I’m seeing – for the first time – recipes that come damned close to the one handed down to me by my father over forty years ago. He was taught it by his mother, who got it from her aunt, who’s mother was the wife of a butcher in Davenport, Iowa, I believe. SHE was tasked with figuring how to use whatever her meatmonger husband didn’t sell that day (week?) — so the story goes. One of my grandma’s cousins sent a version of the recipe into “Betty Crocker/Pillsbury”, for a recipe contest in about 1925, I think. I think she won a $25 prize for her effort. It was always a “not to be missed!”, BIG deal to get invited to Grandma Whipple’s house for dinner, on one of the two or three occasions a year when she went to the trouble to make “Beefsteak Pudding”. It took all day to make. My dad and his mom always made it with skirt steak, something Great Uncle George(?) often had left over from the day’s butcher-shop sales.

    Off and on over the past century, skirt steak seems to have had moments in the spotlight. A decade or two ago, I used to see it in the meat case – rolled, sliced into pinwheels, and sold as a fancy barbeque cut. That seems to have been a passing fad. Don’t see such these days, where I live, in Eastern Washington. It seems, now, that skirt steak usually just gets thrown into the “hamburger hopper”. I usually have to special order it from a butcher now. It is a splendid cut of meat, when well trimmed. In my experience, it’s invariably tender, and marvelously flavorful. It shouldn’t be particularly expensive.

    Here’s how I make it:

    * 1 beef skirt, well trimmed ( 2 1/2 to 3 pounds)
    * 2 medium/large red (or other “sweet” onions)
    * 1/2 cup of red wine (optional, nothing fancy)
    * 1/2 cup (whatever it takes) white flour to “bread” the meat
    * 1 cup (approximately) of water
    * 1 1/2 (approx.) teaspoons salt, to taste
    * 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, to taste
    * a 4-cup batch of biscuit dough (find a recipe you like – my grandma always used “Bisquick” – me – I’ve always made a scratch buttermilk biscuit dough, usually half white-half wheat)
    * a “pudding pot” – 3 qt, approx. (I’ve always used a metal bowl or pot of some sort – “Monkey see, monkey do!”). Glass or ceramic works fine, too.
    * a covered turkey roasting pan (used as a boiler/steamer)

    Start early. This usually takes me two hours or more just to get the thing all ready to cook. It then takes anywhere from 4 to 7 hours of cooking. Worth it, just for the way it makes the house smell! You could charge admission – just to smell it cooking.
    * Trim the skirt steak to remove whatever fat you deem excess, then dice it into one inch (or smaller) cubes, and set aside.
    * Peel and dice the onions, and set aside.
    * Mix up your biscuit dough batch, and set aside – covered.
    * Grease the “pudding bowl” with butter.
    * Roll out biscuit dough to about 1/3 inch thick. Use a bit less than 2/3rd of the dough to completely line the inside of the pudding bowl/pot (some trial & error here). Set aside balance.
    * Using 1/2 cup flour to start, “flour” the cubed meat in a plate or bowl, with salt and pepper included.
    * When you get about 1/4 of the meat floured, layer it into the lined pudding bowl.
    * Layer in about 1/4 of the diced onions – onto the meat in the bowl.
    * Flour another fourth of the meat and layer it into the bowl atop the onions.
    * Repeat this till all of meat and onions are layered in.
    * Go wash the gobbed-up flour off your hands!
    * Pour in the 1/2 cup of wine, then the 1 cup of water. Stop if/when you see the water within an inch of overflowing! This liquid will slowly insinuate itself with the flour and other ingredients, to make a thick gravy/pudding.
    * Add a bit more salt and/or pepper – if you think your taste dictates.
    * Use remaining portion of rolled out biscuit dough to cover the contents of the meat and onions in the pudding pot.
    * Pinch, pleat – do whatever you will – to seal the dough lining to the dough top. This can be as simple or fancy as you want. The rocket science portion of this is largely behind you. Relax a moment. Maybe you can finish off the balance of the bottle of wine you used.
    * Place the turkey roasting pan on the stove (a large canning kettle will also work fine for this).
    * Set your completed (unfired) masterpiece into the roasting pan, or kettle. Fill the bottom of the roasting pan to about 2 or 3 inches deep around the pudding pot. This will be the boiler/steamer in which the pudding will steam for the next several hours. If you’re using a pot or bowl with a substantially flat bottom, you may need to put some sort of small wire rack or other lift-spacer under the pudding pot to keep it from dancing around in the roasting pan.
    * Cover the larger pan/pot, above, and bring the water in it to a boil. Once it has come to a boil, turn the heat down to a good moderate simmer.
    * Check the pot every hour or so, to make sure you have plenty of water – you don’t want this thing to boil dry!
    * Cook thus for 4 to 7 hours. The biscuit portion will actually brown beautifully.
    * When done, set it on the table and get out of the way!
    Grandma always served hers with good dill pickles. The rest is up to you.

    Dan Treecraft

  8. Dan Treecraft Says:

    PS on the above:
    When I said to “fill the roasting pan/kettle to about 2 or 3 inches deep”, I neglected to say with what. Some of you might have guessed – with water. You would be the Psychics among the rest of us…. WATER. Yes.

    Also – since my father died – even before that, if he wasn’t around, eating my cooking – I’ve been inclined to throw in a few potatoes and carrots. Don’t know what sort of bastard that defines me as.

    Gosh – I’ve never even wondered – until this moment – what Grandma would have thought… about someone taking such liberties with her Third Generation Perfect Recipe. Such tampering, potato-wise, will probably invite adding a bit more salt. Duh.


  9. Dan Treecraft Says:


    Hey, wait ! !
    Maybe a teaspoon & a-half is a bit too much SALT for my recipe above.
    Trouble is – I seldom actually measure any ingredients when I cook. Each of the ingredients listed above, for my “Beefsteak Pudding” recipe version should actually read: “Some”.

    When I cook, about the only ingredients I ever actually measure are the eggs – like “one egg”, or “two eggs”, “three…”, etc.
    I’m going to go into the kitchen, now, and see just what one-&-a-half teaspoons of salt tastes like…………………….
    Hmm… Why not try it with only one teaspoon of salt?
    Maybe, it would be OK to use one-&-half teaspoons if you were going to toss in a pound or two of potatoes. Yeah, that.


  10. Dan Treecraft Says:

    Uh… I’m starting to worry… that the limelight is going to kill me – or that – at least – my running back into it will get me ex-communicated from this site.

    BUT! – just in case it doesn’t – I’ve been thinking about the amount of water I suggested using in what will, hence-forth, be referred to as “Grandma Whipple’s Beefsteak Pudding”….. Hell!… Put in maybe twice that much water. If it’ll fit into the pot without looking like it’s going to overflow, put in TWO CUPS of water. If you use wine, like I suggested, that would be a total of 2 & 1/2 cups of liquid. Yeah. Better. You wouldn’t want to eat a “pudding” with the same texture as a sackful of un-buttered, air-popped popcorn, would you? Not me.


  11. Kevin Browne Says:

    I know what goes best with beefsteak…WINE!

    I also know that there’s a new recipe contest going on where people get to show off how they pair wines and foods…

    Submit an original recipe with paired with the perfect wine for the opportunity to win a trip to L.A. and dinner at Fabio’s restaurant.

    (The cool Fabio…the top chef!!)

    Anyway, it’s a lot of fun to show off what you can do in the kitchen and how certain foods go so perfectly with certain wines.

    If you like, you can learn more about the Santa Margherita Great Taste Challenge and see if you and your readers are interested.

    Keep the beef recipes coming.



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