THIS is a dish that my Grandma cooked when I was little.

It was a strange sight of a sausage-shaped rag in a pan of boiling water but the end result, although it looked rather insipid, tasted divine.

A traditional Lancashire favourite, like many simple working class meals, it was an easy way of making a little bit of meat go a long way while filling up the hungry mill workers with lots of calories.

I'm just guessing here but it may also have been popular because it doesn't need many cooking utensils.

Pans, ovens and trays that poor people maybe didn't have, all you needed was a bit of rag and a pan to boil it in.

The dish was invented during the 19th century in Oldham, a former mill town, previously at the centre of England's cotton industry.

Rag puddings pre-date ceramic basins and so the cotton or muslin rag cloths common in Oldham were used in the dish's preparation.

Suet pastry is essential in several traditional dishes, including rag pudding, jam roly poly, spotted dick and suet Christmas pudding.

It is soft in contrast to the crispness of shortcrust pastry which makes it ideal for savoury and some sweet dishes. Suet consists of the fat around the heart and kidneys of cows and sheep which is why the pastry is very tasty.


4-6 people

500g mince beef or stewing steak

100g (ox kidney if you wish )

1 onion finely chopped

Beef stock

1/2 wine glass port

Dessert spoon cornflour



250g self raising flour

120g beef suet

Pinch of salt

Cold water to bind

Leave to rest in the fridge for 1/2 hour

50 cm square muslin



1. Put the onion, mince or stewing steak and kidney in a pan fry for a few minutes add stock and port. Cook for 1 hour slowly add the cornflour mixed with water then add to the meat to thicken slightly cook another 10 minutes. Allow to cool.

2. Place the flour, suet and salt in a bowl bind it with enough water to form a dough, rest for half hour in the fridge.

3. Roll out on a floured surface into a square shape place the meat mixture on one side and roll seal with egg yolk. Place onto the muslin and tie the ends up with string so you have a sausage shape. Place in a big pan of boiling water cook for one hour.

Serve hot with creamy mashed potatoes carrots,suede and extra gravy.