Leave room for this pudding. It’s an indulgent but inexpensive comfort food classic from McCrimmon & Reid’s Alan Haughie…
After working at The Savoy and top London restaurants for nearly a decade, Alan Haughie was always going to bring a touch of fine dining class to his food as Chef Proprietor of caterers McCrimmon & Reid. On leaving London, he developed his own style further while travelling in Europe, nurturing his ability to apply contemporary twists to classic dishes before coming back home to Hampshire, where he spent much of his childhood. He was then Head Chef at Hotel TerraVina in the New Forest before winning Michelin Pub of the Year 2014 during his time at The Greyhound on the Test. Setting up McCrimmon & Reid with his brother, David, they aim to bring the fine dining experience to outside catering, from weddings and private parties to large corporate events. They pride themselves on using great local producers including seafood from Coopers of Andover and Kingfisher in Brixton and free range local pigs from Greenfields Farm. Alan and his dedicated team are able to cater for all sizes of gatherings and can take on the responsibility of organising the event too, if required.
Making careful use of locally sourced ingredients, Alan has developed this classic dish just right for winter lunches. As he points out, “This recipe requires a little more patience than a conventional steak suet pudding, as oxtail has a lot of connective tissue that needs longer cooking time than a braising steak cut, but will give a much more indulgent end result…”
For the braised oxtail filling
2.5kg jointed oxtail – ask your butcher to do this for you
3 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
2 carrots, peeled and finely sliced
2 sticks celery, finely sliced
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
200g tomatoes, roughly chopped
200g piece of smoked bacon, roughly diced
1 litre reduced beef stock
1⁄2 tsp English mustard
250g cleaned wild mushrooms
4 tbsp vegetable oil
50g plain flour
1 onion, finely diced
1 star anise
1 tbsp tomato purée
1⁄2 bottle claret
Salt to taste
1⁄2 tsp black pepper
For the Suet pastry
200g self-raising flour
1⁄2 tsp salt
150ml iced water
Butter for greasing
Start by making the pastry (mix the flour with the salt and suet, add water until it is incorporated). Set aside. Season and flour the oxtail then brown in a hot pan. Remove the meat from the dish and set aside. Add the garlic, veg, bacon, star anise and thyme to the pan and cook for 5 mins. Add tomato purée, brown for 2 mins, then add the chopped tomato, brown for 5 mins.
Add the brandy to the pot and burn off the alcohol, add the claret and reduce by half. Add the beef stock and the oxtail back to the pan, along with mustard. Put the lid on, reduce the heat and simmer gently for two to three hours. Remove the oxtail and pull the meat from the bone. Reduce the liquor by three quarters by boiling rapidly, then strain through a fine sieve.
Sauté the wild mushrooms in a hot pan with a knob of butter, then mix through the oxtail meat along with a generous splash of the reduced sauce. Season to taste.
Roll out three quarters of the suet in a disc 4mm thick, then do the same with the smaller piece. Grease a 1.1 litre pudding basin with butter, then line with the pastry ensuring there are no gaps or holes. Pile the oxtail mixture into the dish until it’s four fifths full. Pop the lid on and seal it by crimping with some water. Wrap in greaseproof paper and steam for one hour.
Turn the pudding out on to a serving plate, and then pour the remaining strained liquor over it. Serve with roasted root vegetables and a fine burgundy.
McCrimmon & Reid
Unit 15, Focus 303, Focus Way,
Walworth Industrial Estate, Andover, Hampshire, SP10 5NY