Dorset Jugged Steak

The Best of British Challenge* continues its jaunt around the UK and this month comes to a stop in the beautiful English county of Dorset. Now my sister lives in Dorset but I must admit that, aside from a traditional cream tea and a pretty decent portion of fish and chips, I have never noticed Dorset to have particular regional food specialities.

Luckily this month’s challenge host Karen from Lavender and Lovage stepped into the breach, detailing a whole host of traditional Dorset dishes for inspiration. A childish and rather puerile sense of humour meant I desperately wanted to make Piddle Bacon Cake or Dorset Knobs but sadly a search of the internet yielded recipes for neither. (Thankfully Google-ing Dorset Knobs did only generate articles on biscuits rather than anything more sinister.)

So instead I decided to go with the rather grand sounding Jugged Steak, a meal which conjures up images of medieval banquets and flagons of mead. Apparently, jugging is the process of long, slow cooking of meat or fish in a covered container such as a casserole or an earthenware jug. It’s one of those chuck it all in a pan, bung it in the oven and forget about it kind of dishes. A fact recognised by The Great British Kitchen who has this rather lovely anecdote to impart: “This traditional Dorset dish was often prepared to be eaten on days when the fair came to town as it is good-tempered enough to wait until the revellers came home.”

Unlike its slightly more famous cousin “jugged hare,” jugged steak isn’t thickened with blood for which I was thankful. Instead it is packed full of flavour from a hefty slug of port, some cloves, redcurrant jelly and some little sausage meat type dumplings which you chuck in towards the end of cooking. Just the thing after a heavy day of fair revelling.

I absolutely loved this stew. It creates the most delicious gravy and would be fabulous with some creamy mashed potato. I served mine with a side of Dorset Blue Vinney scones (OK, they didn’t exactly contain Blue Vinney but South African blue cheese in the spirit of). In hindsight, I wished I had put the scone mixture on top of the casserole in a kind of cobbler-esque affair. I reckon that would have made a good dish truly epic. Maybe if I get some time I’ll give that a whirl……

You can find the recipe I used for Jugged Steak on The Great British Kitchen website here.

*The Best of British Challenge is hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage and Fiona from The Face of New World Appliances.

5 comments

  1. What an amazing recipe, I know it will be amazing, as I have made the exact same recipe from the same site, and my sister, who also lives in Dorset, has made it too, and we am love it! I am on the hunt for the puddle cakes, I do have a very old regional cookbook that may contain them, so I will look…….like you, it ‘s my odd sense of humour! Thanks so much for embracing Dorset for best if British with such meaty gusto, lovely post, and great photos too! Karen

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