Lancashire hotpot is an easy yet fulfilling dish to make, a meal from one pot. Use a floury variety of potato, such as maris piper, which will absorb the juices from the lamb. Arranged in a layer on top, to create a beautiful browned lid, the potatoes make this look and feel like a complete meal. Some greens on the side are welcome, but not entirely necessary.
For my Lancashire hotpot I tend to buy lamb on the bone, using the bones to make the stock, but if you can’t face that step, you could you use bought stock and chunks of stewing lamb, or boneless chops.
This recipe originally appeared in The Observer Food Monthly. Photograph courtesy of Romas Foord/The Observer
For the hotpot:
1kg lamb or mutton shoulder (you’ll need more on the bone if you’re making stock)
salt and pepper
1tbsp olive oil
2 brown skinned onions, peeled and sliced
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
thyme a small bunch
700ml lamb stock (see below)
500g floury potatoes
For the lamb stock:
lamb bones, from the shoulder
thyme, a small bunch
1 bay leaf
6 black peppercorns
1 celery stick, halved
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 onion, peeled and halved
1.5 litres water
sea salt and black pepper
- To make the stock, cut the lamb off the bone (or ask your butcher) and put the bones into a large pot. Add the herbs and vegetables and cover with the water. Bring to the boil, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface. Simmer and cook for an hour (or two if possible) for maximum flavour. Strain the liquid, remove and discard the solids and return the liquid to the pan. Boil and reduce until you have about 700ml. Taste, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Cut the meat into matchbox sized chunks, and season well. Heat the oil in an ovenproof casserole that has a lid.
- Add the meat in batches, and brown it well all over then remove to a plate. Now add the onion, carrots, thyme and a pinch of salt and fry for at least 5 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and sweet. Return the lamb to the pan and cook with the vegetables for a couple of minutes, then add the stock. Taste again for seasoning at this point. It’s better to adjust the salt at this stage, before you cover it with the potato lid.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Peel and cut the potatoes into 1cm slices and lay them, overlapping, on top of the meat, season well and dot with the butter. Cover and cook for about 1½ hours, then remove the lid and continue cooking for 30 minutes to brown the top.