Groaty pudding is a classic Black Country dish, a meat porridge often made and served for bonfire night. This is my late mother in laws recipe with a twist. I didn't have any groats so I used pearl barley if you use groats you have to soak them over night and double your cooking time. I also added orange and bay leaf as I think it goes well with beef. I cook this the day before I want to eat it, it strengthens the flavour and is easy to put in the microwave when you get back from the football, cold winter walks or from the pub.
Rinse and Soak your grains. If using pearl barley at least a couple of hours or you can do it over night. If using groats then over night.
Dice your vegetables and meat into bite size chunks. In a large pan add a teaspoon of oil. I use a metal casserole dish with a lid as my food is going to sit in the bottom oven of the Aga and I hate washing up.
Fry the beef until it's just coloured and then add your vegetables (and orange zest if using it). Fry until the onion softens then add your drained grains.
Add your herbs and seasonings, and finally the beef stock and orange juice (optional). If you are using a slow cooker then transfer the mixture into the pot and leave it to cook for several hours. I put my casserole dish in the bottom oven of the Aga and go to work or down the pub. But it will take at least 4 hours for the grains to soften and absorb the stock, and for the meat to fall apart. Check your seasoning and add more if needed. Serve warm in a bowl with a spoon and a smile. If you make it in advance to heat up, it tastes even better the next day.