Lancashire hotpot

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There are many regional variations, but Lancashire hotpot is a dish made traditionally from lamb or mutton and onion, topped with sliced potatoes, left to bake in the oven all day in a heavy pot and on a low heat. Originating in the days of heavy industrialisation in Lancashire in the North West of England, it requires a minimum of effort to prepare. It is frequently found listed amongst the usual pub grub dishes in hostelries around Britain. The basic recipe consists of a mix of lamb and vegetables (carrot, turnip, potatoes, onions or leeks) covered with sliced potato. Sometimes lamb kidneys are included in the dish. Modern variants may use beef or bacon chops instead of lamb, or have a pastry topping. As much food can be added as will fit in the pot.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp sunflower oil

1 kg middle neck lamb chops, trimmed

3 lamb’s kidneys, trimmed and halved

1 kg potatoes, cut into 5 mm slices

500 g carrots, sliced

2 large onions, chopped

1 tsp caster sugar

salt and black pepper

1 bay leaf

1 rosemary sprig

a few parsley sprigs

600 – 700 ml lamb stock or water

chopped parsley for garnish

Lancashire hot pot

Preparation:

Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole, add the lamb in batches, and brown over a medium heat for 5 minutes,. Remove and set aside. Add the kidneys and cook for 3 – 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Add the potatoes, carrots and onions, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the casserole.

Make layers of lamb chops, kidneys, and vegetables in the casserole, adding sugar, and salt and pepper to taste, and putting the herbs in the middle. Top with a neat layer of potatoes. Pour in enough stock to come up to the potato layer. Cover tightly and cook in a preheated oven at 160°C for 2 hours or until the meat and vegetables are tender.

Remove the casserole lid, increase the oven temperature to 220°C, and cook for 20 – 30 minutes to brown the potato topping. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.