Last week I took the afternoon off work to go shopping with Butters to Cheshire Oaks to spend money I don’t have. One of the main reasons I wanted to go was Butters had been told that there was a Le Crueset shop there. I love Le Crueset stuff but it is tres expensive, so I had a total geek boner about going to the factory outlet shop.
After about an hour of decision-making, I went for a large round casserole and a big mixing jug. With the casserole I knew exactly how I was going to christen it – with a Lancashire Hotpot. I’ve had hotpots before, but in the form of ready meals, which, if I remember, had tomato in it. Real Lancashire hotpot is very simple – one of those dishes involving lots of sliced potatoes and onions that seem to come in an amazing variety. It’s also rather like an Irish stew.
It looked nicer in real…
FYI: Lancashire Hotpots were traditionally made in large, deep dark glazed brown pots that were given to the baker to put in his oven whilst people went to work so they collect on their way back.
FYI2: Although hotpot usually contains potato, onion, lamb and kidneys, people have put in black pudding, sweetbreads, mushrooms and oysters. So if you have any of those to hand pop them in.
This is enough for 6 people:
Start off by thinly slicing a pound of onions and 2 pounds of peeled potatoes. Next trim any large bits of fat from best end of neck lamb chops; you’ll need between 8 and 12 depending upon thickness. When at the butches try to get about 6 lamb’s kidneys. Depending on your butcher, they may or may not be prepared – make sure the tough outer membrane has been peeled away, and slice in half lengthways and cut out their central tough, white centres. Layer up the potatoes, then onions, then meat and offal, seasoning as you go. Make sure you leave enough spuds so you can arrange them nicely on the top. Pour enough water to reach halfway up the pot and then brush the potatoes with some melted butter. Place the lid on the casserole and bake at 200-240ºC for 30 minutes, and then turn the oven down to 140ºC for about 2-2 ½ hours. Take the lid of for the final 30-45 minutes so that the top can crisp up. Serve with boiled or pickled red cabbage.
#115 Lancashire Hotpot – 6.5/10. Very nice and hearty grub that is simple yet effective. Not used to cooking with lamb, but am loving how simple this is. Also I’d forgotten how nice kidneys are – I’ve not had them in years. It’s definitely something I’d make again, but it would have to contain something more than just lamb. Plus it’s very cheap – the meat came to £6 at the butchers in the Arndale Centre. Bargain!