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Groaty Dick

Pot Meals

(or Groarty, or Groaty Pudding) Beef and onion (or leek) stew made very (very) thick with the addition of groats (grains, usually oats, crushed and husks removed). In the Black Country it has a certain association with Bonfire Night. Known by this name at least since the 1860s, receipts, as with most everyday dishes from modest homes, are very rare.

Groaty Dick
Image: BBC

"In the black country, around Birmingham, they prepare a mixture of coarse oatmeal and mutton boiled together and flavoured with herbs. It is called. I believe Groaty pudding." - North Devon Gazette - Tuesday 07 November 1905

Original Receipt from Daily Mirror - Tuesday 09 April 1974

Mrs. Beatrup, mother of 2, from Halesowen, Worcs., tells us her version of `Groaty Dick' is a traditional Black Country recipe for Guy Fawkes night. She's been serving it up now every November 5th for 22 years of married life. Connie's recipe was handed down by her mother and grandmother before her. But `Groaty Dick' is too good to keep for one night in the year. 'My family love it for lunch, tea or supper, and my little boy of 4 eats till he nearly bursts', she says. `With two sons and a husband all with enormous appetites it's ideal when the housekeeping is running low!'

Groaty Dick
Approx. cost: 60p
Approx. preparation time: 15 minutes
Approx. cooking time: 3-4 hours
6 oz. pearl barley or groats
3-4 leeks (washed and sliced)
1 carrot (peeled and sliced)
1 parsnip (peeled and sliced)
2 sticks celery (roughly chopped)
1 teasp: lentils
1 1/2 lbs. scrag end lamb
Salt and pepper
Pinch celery salt
3-4 Red Oxo Cubes crumbled and dissolve, approx. 21-3 pints hut water

Put all Ingredients into a large casserole dish with a well-fitting lid. Enough Oxo stock to cover generously. Place in a cool oven (Gas No. 2 - 300F.) for 3-4 hours. Stir occasionally as Groaty Dick thickens, add add more stock if necessary. (Four good servings.)

Original Receipt in Marjorie Cashmore's 'A Feast of Memories: Black Country Food and Life at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century', published in 1986 by Westwood Press;

Groaty Pudding or Groaty Dick
0.5 lb groats
1 bay leaf (optional)
1.5 lbs shin of beef
1lb leeks Salt and Pepper
2 medium sized onions
Hot water to cover

Cut the beef into bite-size pieces, slice the leeks and onions. Place all the ingredients in a stew pot and bake slowly for at least three hours, longer if possible. Serve with crusty bread. A thicker version of this, with more groats and less meat, was all some families could afford. It was spread on bread so that each member could have something warm and filling.

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