Richard Guest's Somerset County Cook Off recipe ...


  • Ingredients for the fillet steak

  • 4 top quality 200g beef fillets

  • 50ml vegetable oil

  • 50g butter

  • salt and pepper

  • Ingredients for the basic suet dough

  • 300g self-raising flour

  • 150g beef suet

  • salt and pepper

  • chopped parsley to taste

  • 1 egg

  • cold water (80ml or more)

  • Ingredients for braised oxtail

  • one large oxtail about 600g before trimming.

  • 20g rendered beef dripping

  • 100g sliced onions/shallots

  • 2 crushed cloves of garlic

  • 1 fresh or 2 dried bay leaves

  • beef stock to cover (about 500ml)

  • salt (about one level teaspoon) and pepper

  • Ingredients for the ox heart faggots

  • 1/2 ox heart – you may have to ask your butcher very nicely, otherwise you can always just buy a whole one.

  • 100g diced demi-sel pork or dry-cured streaky bacon

  • 100g chopped shallots

  • chopped parsley

  • 150g suet

  • teaspoon of salt and pepper

  • soaked caul fat – this is the stomach lining from the cow (you’ll have to get this from your butcher)

  • beef stock for poaching the faggots

  • Ingredients for onion and tongue gravy

  • 30ml rendered beef dripping

  • 200g roughly diced beef (fingers of rib beef, trimmings from around the ribs)

  • 2 chopped shallots

  • 200ml water

  • salt

  • 1 extra shallot for finishing

  • 30g diced tongue

  • 75g butter

  • Ingredients for the ceps

  • 100g of dried or even better, fresh ceps

  • 50ml cream

  • 25g butter

  • salt & pepper

  • Ingredients for the spinach

  • 150g fresh spinach

  • 50g butter

  • Ingredients for the carrots

  • 24 baby carrots

  • 100g butter

  • a small bunch of flat leaf parsley


  • Method for the suet dough:

  • 1.

    Put the flour and suet in the mixing bowl. Mix in the seasoning and parsley. Stir in the eggs and then the cold water, a little at a time. The amount of water will vary from batch to batch of flour.

  • 2.

    Mix, working it as little as possible until a softish, elastic dough is obtained.

  • 3.

    For storage purposes, divide the dough into three, roll out into sausages, wrap and refrigerate.

  • Method for braised oxtail:

  • 1.

    To prepare the tail, trim most of the surface fat and cut through the natural joints in the tail about every 4-5cm.

  • 2.

    Heat the dripping in a frying pan large enough to contain the oxtail in a single layer. When it’s nearly smoking, add the meat. Brown thoroughly on all sides. Don’t hurry or skimp this stage, because it’s critical to the final taste.

  • 3.

    When it’s almost ready, put in the onions and let them soften, then finally the garlic.

  • 4.

    Take the pan off the heat and then transfer the meat, onions and garlic to a clean pot.

  • 5.

    Discard the dripping in the frying pan. Deglaze with a cup of water, scrape any sediment from the bottom of the pan and add it to the meat.

  • 6.

    Cover the meat with stock. Boil, skim the excess fat accumulated on the surface and turn down to simmer. Add the bay leaf and seasoning.

  • 7.

    Cook until the meat comes away from the bone, topping up with stock if necessary – this should take about 3½ hours.

  • 8.

    Reduce stock to about 200ml. Check the seasoning.

  • Method for the puddings:

  • 1.

    Butter and flour the inside of the dariole. Put a circle of non-stick baking parchment in the bottom.

  • 2.

    Roll out the dough to about 3mm thick. Line the mould so that the dough overhangs the edges. Roll out the pastry for the lid.

  • 3.

    Fill the moulds with warm or hot oxtail. Fit the lid on it and crimp the edges to seal, using the coolest part of the hand.

  • 4.

    Cover with buttered foil. Place the puddings in a pan of boiling water and steam the pudding in a covered pan of water that reaches about half way up the moulds for 10-15 minutes and turn out.

  • 5.

    At the Castle, the puddings are steamed at the start of service. They keep hot without any problems.

  • Method for the ox heart faggots:

  • 1.

    Split the heart open. Trim any pieces of fat. Cut out the arteries and veins, which are gristly and chop the meat coarsely.

  • 2.

    If you have a mincer, set it to a medium. Otherwise, a blender or food processor will work just as well. Mince the ox heart, bacon, shallots, parsley, suet, salt and pepper. Mix well by hand.

  • 3.

    For each faggot, lay a piece of caul about 20cm square on the work surface. With the mixture, form a ball around the size of a golf ball and wrap it in caul. Make sure you only wrap it around the faggot once otherwise it can become too chewy. Chill until needed and poach them for 10 minutes in beef stock when needed.

  • Method for onion and tongue gravy:

  • 1.

    Heat the dripping until very hot. Add the meat in a single layer and fry until well-coloured. If the meat is of good quality it won’t sweat or stew.

  • 2.

    Add the shallots and continue cooking until they start to brown. Strain off all the fat. Deglaze with a little water and scrape any sediment, from the bottom of the pan.

  • 3.

    Add the rest of the water, boil, skim, season and set to one side of the range for no more than 20 minutes, to extract the flavour from the meat. It doesn’t need to cook out.

  • 4.

    Strain through a sieve into a clean pan without pressing or forcing the meat or shallots. The aim is to obtain a clean-flavoured jus.

  • 5.

    The remaining shallots should be cut into a very fine dice.

  • 6.

    To finish the gravy, whisk in cubed butter to emulsify it and add the raw shallots and tongue.

  • Method for the fillet steaks:

  • 1.

    Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4.

  • 2.

    Remove any moisture from the steaks by patting with some kitchen roll.

  • 3.

    Heat a pan until it is searingly hot and add the oil. When this is about to smoke, add the butter, followed by the steaks.

  • 4.

    Seal both sides of the steaks for about 1 minute on each side and season

  • 5.

    Remove the pan from the heat and transfer to the oven.

  • 6.

    For rare, the steaks will take around 4-6 minutes depending on their thickness

  • 7.

    Leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving

  • Method for the ceps:

  • 1.

    If you can only get the dried variety rehydrate in water and drain.

  • 2.

    Add the ceps to a pan with the butter.

  • 3.

    Once coloured, add the cream, season to taste and reduce a little until ready to serve.

  • Method for the spinach:

  • 1.

    Wash the spinach thoroughly.

  • 2.

    Heat the butter in a pan until melted and throw in the spinach.

  • 3.

    Cover with a lid and wilt for two to three minutes, no longer.

  • Method for the carrots:

  • 1.

    Blanche the carrots in boiling water for 1 minute, drain and set aside.

  • 2.

    Put the butter in a pan and melt.

  • 3.

    Add the baby carrots to the butter and leave to poach and soften to al dente for 3 minutes. You’re not adding colour so be careful not to burn the butter.

  • 4.

    When ready to serve, add the chopped parsley and lightly season to taste.

  • To Serve:

  • 1.

    To assemble, put one faggot on a bed of spinach on each plate.

  • 2.

    Turn out the pudding from its mould, lay several of the carrots on it with a few more to one side.

  • 3.

    Slice the fillet on a slant and arrange on the plate.

  • 4.

    Spoon some ceps to one side of it. Pour a cordon of sauce around the meat and the pudding.

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