Quorn Bacon Roll

The mind starts to 'boggle' when you read about The Quorn Bacon Roll Day. What on earth's a Quorn Bacon Roll? Some form of bacon butty? Even worse, a bacon roll made from that tasteless meat subsitute that, presumably in jest, someone named after the Capital of Hunting? It's none of these, it's glorious traditional savoury suet pudding with bacon, onion and herbs.

It's made in various parts of the country and is known as Berkshire Bacon Pudding, Bedfordshire Bacon Clanger and in Bishops Stortford its called Pork Plugger! I guess that in all pig producing areas there was something similar. The Quorn Bacon Roll tradition is kept alive by an annual competition, where else but in Quorn, to find the best Bacon Roll maker. My thanks to Terry Stirling for the recipe:

Ingredients

Pastry:
1lb Self-raising flour
8oz shredded suet
cold water to mix
5 heaped tablespoons chopped parsley
salt and pepper.

Filling:
8oz. unsmoked streaky back
8oz. cooked ham trimmings
8oz unsmoked bacon bits
3 onions (sliced)
6 garlic cloves (sliced)
2oz butter
1 large heaped tablespoon of fresh chopped sage
a small amount of beef stock
2 tablespoons of sunflower oil (this would have been dripping in the old days)
1 teaspoon of soft brown sugar and fresh sage to garnish.

Method:
Melt the butter and add the onions and garlic. Cook slowly over a gentle heat for 15 minutes until a caramel brown. Add the sugar to help it on its way. Remove the onions and garlic and add the oil in the same pan. Frizzle the bacon until golden brown, replace the onions and garlic and then add the chopped ham and sage. Season to taste with a little salt and freshly ground pepper.

Turn the mixture on to a plate and cool.

Now make your suet pastry by sieving the flour into a bowl and then adding the chopped parsley and seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the suet and enough cold water to mix to a firm dough - not too wet and not too dry. Knead briefly to get it into a ball then flour a surface and roll out into a rectangle about half an inch thick. Place on a larger rectangle of greaseproof paper and in turn on to a larger rectangle of foil.

Lay the bacon and ham close together across the length of the pastry. Top with the onion mixture and dribble a little of the stock over the top to keep it moist. Roll up and seal the ends. Now roll up the paper and foil, very loosely, to allow for expansion and seal the ends.

Heat up some water in a steamer. (If no steamer, fill a large saucepan a third full and pop in a colander making sure that the lid fits with the colander in!). Place the parcel in the steamer and steam for 1 and a half to two hours, making sure it does not boil dry.


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