Celebrating British Food & Cooking
I believe Lancashire hotpot originated 200 years ago in the Northwest of England by workers in the cotton industry.
It remains as popular today as it ever was, and I know why. It’s real comfort food, just what you need when you come home from work after a long cold day.
A hotpot made with lamb or more probably mutton could be made up and left to slow cook on the stove for the duration of their shift in the cotton mill. Shifts in the mills were commonly 12 hours from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm so it was quite a long slow cook.
Rather like today, where beef and lamb are expensive, they would probably have bulked out the stew with cheaper ingredients including oysters. I prefer to use lambs’ kidneys. They add a rich mellow flavour and make the best gravy.
Unlike today, oysters are regarded as a luxury item with a price to match, back then, oysters were plentiful and cheap.
I don’t care about the price of oysters as I don’t like them. Give me a bowl of clams, steamed in their shells with a hunk of fresh bread anytime.
Anyway, back to the Lancashire hotpot. Make yourself one, I guarantee it will feed the family and keep a 200-year-old recipe alive! If you want fewer carbs, substitute sweet potato for the topping or for an even richer sauce, deglaze the pan with red wine after cooking the kidneys.
Just a quick word on carrots. This recipe doesn’t use them but many of the recipes for hotpot do.I prefer it without but if you want to add some sliced carrots then chuck them in the pan when you add the onions.
Other Recipes You Maybe Interested in …..
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 900 g diced lamb
- 4 lambs kidneys cored, skinned and chopped
- 3 onions halved and sliced
- 1 tbsp flour
- 600 ml hot lamb stock
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme leaves picked
- 850 g potatoes Maris Piper or King Edward, peeled and cut into 5mm-thick slices
- 30 g unsalted butter melted
- Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4.
- Heat half the oil in a large frying pan and brown the lamb in batches over a high heat. Remove and place in a large shallow casserole dish. Add the kidneys to the pan, quickly brown them, then add to the lamb.
- Heat the remaining oil in the pan, then fry the onions over a low heat for 10 minutes, until golden brown. Stir in the flour, then add the stock and Worcestershire sauce, and bring to the boil, stirring. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the bay leaf and thyme, then pour into the casserole dish over the lamb.
- Arrange the potato slices on top of the meat and brush with the melted butter. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook in the oven for 1 1⁄2 hours. Remove the lid and cook for a further 35 minutes, until the potatoes are golden and crisp.