This Berkshire recipe dates back to the Middle Ages, or even earlier, when an open fire was all that was available and food was either roasted or boiled in a great iron cauldron which would have several stone jars standing on a plank across its bottom. The steak would have been cooked in one of the jars while a pudding or a bag of dried peas might be tied to the handles and submerged to cook at the same time.
Steak is extremely good when cooked in this way as all the moisture and flavour are retained. A deep casserole is needed, preferably with a lid.
Cut the steak into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces, removing all skin and fat. Put the onions and celery into the casserole and put the steak on top of them. Sprinkle well with the salt and pepper. Stir the mushroom ketchup into the wine and then stir in the red-currant jelly, which need not dissolve completely. Pour this mixture all over the steak. Seal the casserole with a double layer of foil and then put the lid on top, or use a plate if it has no lid. Stand the casserole in a large, uncovered saucepan of boiling water (the water must come halfway up the sides of the casserole), and keep it boiling for 2½ hours on top of the stove. Alternatively, put it in a baking tin of boiling water in a 300°F (160°C, Gas Mark 2) oven for 3 hours. The water must be replenished from time to time.
To serve, spoon the meat and gravy on to a flat serving dish and garnish with parsley and lemon quarters. There will be a small quantity of particularly delicious gravy and the meat will be very tender.
©1980 The Estate of Elizabeth Ayrton