serves 6-8, prep 45 mins, cook 4-4 ½ hours, plus standing
"This is a dish that was first made by Chris McGowan, my head chef at Lindsay House, and has become a big favourite. You can make the suet pastry the day before, wrap it in cling film and leave it in the fridge."
500g boneless lamb shoulder, diced
Olive oil, for cooking
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
4 celery sticks, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked
1 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp plain flour
190ml red wine
750ml chicken stock
Butter, for greasing
for the suet pastry
300g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tbsp baking powder
Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan140°C/ gas 3. First make the filling. Season
the lamb and brown it in a little olive oil in a large flameproof casserole. Add the vegetables, garlic and thyme and cook for 4-5 mins. Add the tomato puree and flour and stir well. Pour in the wine and let it bubble up and reduce by half. Cover with the chicken stock and 100ml water, put the lid on and transfer to the oven to braise for around 1'/z-2 hours until the lamb is tender. Check that the sauce is good and thick. If it isn't looking thick enough, remove the braised lamb with a slotted spoon and set aside. Boil the sauce over a high heat to reduce and thicken, then take off the heat, return the lamb to the casserole and leave to cool.
To make the pastry, sift the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Mix in the suet and gradually stir in 140ml chilled water or just enough water to make a soft, pliable dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it lightly. Break off three-quarters of the dough and roll it out to a circle, about 30-35cm in diameter. Gather up the remaining dough, roll out again, and cut out a second circle the same size as the circumference of the top of a 1.5-litre pudding basin. This will be the lid.
Grease the pudding basin with butter and lift the larger circle of dough into it, pressing it into the base and around the sides. Brush the edge with water. Spoon in the cooled lamb and vegetables with a slotted spoon, then pour over the sauce.
Lay the dough 'lid' over the top, seal and pinch the edges of the dough together, then cover with a buttered disc of baking paper. Wrap the entire pudding in foil, then place the basin on a steamer rack or an upturned saucer in a large saucepan and pour in enough boiling water to come three-quarters of the way up the basin. Cover the pan and steam for 2 hours, adding more boiling water when the level goes down.
Stand for 10 mins, then unwrap and invert onto a serving plate. Serve with mash and seasonal vegetables.
per serving (based on 8): 473kcals, 25.9g fat (12.5g saturated), 20.7g protein, 39g carbs, 3.6g sugar, 1.59 salt