Beef, ale & parsnip pudding

Beef, ale & parsnip pudding

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(8 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 3 hrs, 30 mins

More effort

Serves 4
A traditional steak and ale pie with suet pastry. Make the filling the night before then steam the pudding the following morning for a delicious Sunday lunch

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal1072
  • fat62g
  • saturates28g
  • carbs86g
  • sugars15g
  • fibre7g
  • protein33g
  • salt1.5g
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  • 1 large onion, chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 100g smoked bacon lardons
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 500g lean stewing beef, cubed



    The classic choice of meat for a British Sunday roast. Beef is full of flavour, as…

  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 3 parsnips, cubed



    The fact that the parsnip is a member of the carrot family comes as no surprise – it looks…

  • 500ml brown ale
  • 300ml beef stock
  • 2 tbsp cranberry or redcurrant jelly
  • 4 thyme sprigs


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • greens, to serve (optional)

For the suet pastry

  • butter, for greasing



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 300g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 tsp English mustard powder
  • 140g shredded suet


  1. Heat a large pan and cook the onion and lardons together for 5 mins until golden. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the oil to the pan, dust the beef with the flour, then evenly brown over a high heat.

  2. Add the parsnips, ale, stock, jelly, thyme and lardon mixture to the pan. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 1½ hrs until the meat is tender.

  3. Generously butter a 1.5-litre pudding basin. To make the pastry, mix together the flour, mustard powder, suet and ½ tsp table salt. Add enough cold water, about 150ml, to make a soft dough. Remove one-quarter of the dough and set to one side. On a heavily floured surface, roll out the remaining dough to make a large round, big enough to line the basin.

  4. Carefully lay the pastry in the basin (aim to have 1cm of pastry overhanging the rim), then press the edges of the join together to seal. Roll out the remaining one-quarter into a circle big enough to cover the top.

  5. Pour off the cooking liquid from the filling into a small pan and set aside. Discard the thyme stalks. Spoon the filling into the lined basin and pour over 100ml of the cooking liquid. Fold over the overhanging pastry and brush with water. Place the lid on top, pressing firmly around the edges to seal.

  6. Butter a sheet of baking parchment, fold in a large pleat and lay, butter-side down, on top of the pudding. Cover with a pleated layer of foil and finally tie with string, making a loop for the handle so you can lift the pudding easily.

  7. Sit a small trivet or a large cookie cutter in the bottom of a deep saucepan that’s big enough to take the basin easily. Half-fill the pan with water and bring to the boil. Lower in the pudding, cover and simmer for 2 hrs, topping up with boiling water when necessary.

  8. Reheat the cooking liquid, bubbling it down a little so it reduces into a tasty gravy. Carefully lift out the pudding. Run a knife around the rim, then turn out and serve with gravy and greens, if you like.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Lisa Appleton's picture
Lisa Appleton
29th Sep, 2018
I love this! I followed the recipe with a few tweaks to keep it vegan. I used home made seitan instead of beef, home made vegan bacon, Guinness not ale as its heavier in flavour, vegetable stock and a big handful of nutritional yeast instead of fruit jelly as I dont have a sweet tooth and like the bitterness of the guiness as it is. I used vegetable suet in the pastry. I cooked the "meat" filling in a slow cooker the night before for about 4 hours and sauce was lovely and thick. Prepped pastry the night before too and left in fridge overnight. Assembled and steamed the next day and it was AMAZEBALLS! My only issue was portion size. No way does this feed 4 adults. 3 at a push if bulking the meal out with a load of sides. Had ours with mashed potato, carrots and runner beans. Im making it again tomorrow actually but using tofu, sweetcorn and mushrooms and apple cider gravy in place of beef stock/ale. Yum!
6th Feb, 2014
Liked the way the sweetness of the jelly took away some of the bitterness of the ale. It was a good dinner to make on a very wet February day - 5 hours of good smells from the kitchen. At over 1000 calories per portion it's not for everyday though!
27th Dec, 2012
Forgot to rate it. x
27th Dec, 2012
We all thoroughly enjoyed this pudding although my husband has asked for carrots next time. Will let you all know how it turns out. Yummy
18th Nov, 2012
This looks fab, but how long would you pressure cook it for please?
26th Sep, 2012
Wow, it was a while ago i made this now, but really amazing. Quite time consuming but well wirth it
Great Scott
26th Mar, 2017
I don't understand the bit about making a pleat in the parchment &a the foil?
goodfoodteam's picture
30th Mar, 2017
Thanks for your question. We have a video here showing you how to make a pleat: Hope that helps!
1st Oct, 2013
Does anyone know if I can make the pastry and basically assemble the whole thing the night before ? So that all that's left on the day is to steam it and make gravy ? Thanks
Lisa Appleton's picture
Lisa Appleton
29th Sep, 2018
this only really serves 2/3 people. Make 2 :) :)
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