Traditional British Food for a Chilly Day: Lamb Hotpot the Way My Mother Made It

Updated on September 18, 2018
Glenis Rix profile image

Glenis has been chief cook and bottlewasher in her home for over forty years. Nowadays she prefers to cook food which is quick and healthy

Lamb Hotpot

Lamb Hotpot
Lamb Hotpot | Source

Almost everyone who lives in England will know of the long-running soap opera Coronation Street and Betty the barmaid's famous hotpot, the recipe for which she would never reveal throughout her forty-plus years behind the bar. What Betty was serving to the customers in the Rovers Return was her version of Lancashire Hotpot, a traditional dish from North West England which is a regular in the culinary repertoire of many British housewives, usually served as a warming and comforting supper on a cold winter's day. I can still recall arriving home from school to find the mouth-watering aroma of hotpot drifting from the kitchen. It is a cheap nourishing meal and so easy to prepare. Here's how my Mum made it...

Cuts of Lamb Suitable for Lamb Hotpot

Fillet of neck of lamb, boned and cubed leg of lamb and 'stewing lamb' are all suitable cuts of meat for this recipe. Fillet of neck of lamb and leg of lamb are more expensive cuts than stewing lamb/neck of lamb.

Advantages of using the more expensive cuts:

  • They contain less fat than the cheaper cuts of meat and do not contain bones. Therefore, less preparation time is required.
  • They can be cooked a little more quickly.

My mother maintained that middle neck of lamb is the tastiest and most tender cut for this recipe. I agree - but it is quite fiddly to prepare if you want to produce a meal that hasn't got an excessive amount of fat in it.

  • Stewing lamb/neck of lamb is an economical cut of meat.
  • Scrag end of neck of lamb is even cheaper but it is very bony.
  • The downside of these cuts is that they that produce a lot of fat when cooked.
  • These cuts are sold in pieces which still contain bones. Some people think that the bones make the dish more flavoursome.
  • The meat should be slow-cooked until it falls easily off the bone.

Note - Traditional Lancashire Hotpot incorporates lamb's kidneys. My family dislikes them, so I leave them out.


British Cuts of Lamb

British Cuts of Lamb
British Cuts of Lamb | Source

Equipment for Cooking Lamb Hotpot

  • A non-stick frying pan
  • A casserole dish with a tight fitting lid. (I love the Le Creuset range of enameled iron casserole dishes because they can be used both on the hob and in the oven. The bonus is that they are aesthetically pleasing). They are, however, a little heavy, so if you are thinking of treating yourself I suggest that you buy the smallest that will meet your needs.

Basic Ingredients of Lamb Hotpot

Basic ingredients of lamb hotpot Leg of lamb, onions, carrots, stock, carrots, and potatoes
Basic ingredients of lamb hotpot Leg of lamb, onions, carrots, stock, carrots, and potatoes | Source

Cook Time For Lamb Hotpot Made With Leg of Lamb/Fillet of Neck of Lamb

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 2 hours 30 min
Ready in: 3 hours
Yields: Serves Four People

Ingredients for Four Servings of Lamb Hotpot

  • 650g/1.5 lb Potatoes, Sliced and placed in cold water
  • 2 Onions, Roughly chopped
  • 4-5 Carrots, Sliced
  • About 600g/1.25lb Leg of lamb, Diced
  • 2 Lamb Stock Cubes, dissolved in one pint of water
  • 2-3 heaped tbspn Gravy Granules
  • White pepper
  • Salt and Black Pepper

Instructions For Making Lamb Hotpot

  1. Peel and slice the potatoes (about 1.5 cm thickness). Keep them in cold water until required. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C/ 140 degrees fan/ gas mark 3
  2. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan then fry the onions over a moderate heat until the start to caramelize - about 5-6 minutes.Stir frequently to ensure that they don't brown or burn.
  3. Add the carrots to the pan and continue to fry for a few more minutes to release the sugars from the carrots. By now the onions should be a very light shade of gold.
  4. Place the onions, carrots and around half of the sliced potatoes in the casserole dish and then add the cubed lamb. Optional extras - a bay leaf, garlic, or herbs of your choice
  5. Put the lid on the dish and place it in the oven for approximately 1.5 hours
  6. Remove the dish from the oven. Overlap the remaining sliced potatoes on top of the meat mixture. Make sure that the meat mixture is completely covered by the potato layer.
  7. Sprinkle salt and white pepper to taste on the potato topping (I like to use pepper quite generously in this recipe)
  8. Put the lid on the casserole dish. Return the dish to the oven for around half an hour. Then remove the lid from the dish and continue to cook for a further 30 minutes, until the tops of the potatoes are lightly browned.
  9. Put the lid on the casserole dish. Return the dish to the oven for around half an hour. Then remove the lid from the dish and continue to cook for a further 30 minutes, until the tops of the potatoes are lightly browned.
5 stars from 1 rating of Lamb Hotpot

Using Economical Cuts of Lamb To Make Hotpot

When using cheaper cuts of lamb I prepare the hotpot in three stages in order to remove some of the fat from the dish. After stage one the stewed meat and onions are left to cool until the fat has solidified and can be skimmed off from the dish.

You will need a larger quantity of lamb to yield the same edible amount as the more expensive cuts.

Stage 1

Fry the onions and meat as described above. Place in the casserole dish and cook for approximately one and a half hours. Allow to cool and then place in the refrigerator for several hours, or overnight, until the fat has floated to the top of the dish and solidified. Skim the fat from the dish.

Stage 2

Add the carrots, half of the potatoes, any of the optional extras, and return the dish to the oven for one hour.

Stage 3

The meat should now fall from the bones, which can be removed from the dish.

Arrange the remaining sliced potatoes on the dish. Season and proceed as described above.

How To Prepare Stewing Lamb

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Stewing lamb has much more fat than leg of lamb. It is therefore a cheaper cut.I cut off the surplus fat from stewing lamb before cutting. 500g of lamb in these images yielded 475g of trimmed lambThe discarded fat from 500g of stewing lamb
Stewing lamb has much more fat than leg of lamb. It is therefore a cheaper cut.
Stewing lamb has much more fat than leg of lamb. It is therefore a cheaper cut. | Source
I cut off the surplus fat from stewing lamb before cutting. 500g of lamb in these images yielded 475g of trimmed lamb
I cut off the surplus fat from stewing lamb before cutting. 500g of lamb in these images yielded 475g of trimmed lamb | Source
The discarded fat from 500g of stewing lamb
The discarded fat from 500g of stewing lamb | Source

Have You Eaten Lamb Hotpot

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Questions & Answers

    © 2017 GlenR

    Comments

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    • Spanish Food profile image

      Lena Durante 

      12 months ago from San Francisco Bay Area

      So simple, yet so satisfying! With autumn just around the corner, this will definitely be on my to-make list.

      Thanks for another great recipe, Glenis!

    • Glenis Rix profile imageAUTHOR

      GlenR 

      13 months ago from UK

      I took one of the pics , using an iPad

    • ptosis profile image

      ptosis 

      13 months ago from Arizona

      Nice pictures. Did you take them yourself? Use any special lighting? What kind of camera did you use?

    • Glenis Rix profile imageAUTHOR

      GlenR 

      13 months ago from UK

      Jo, It's a variation on a traditional Lancashire Hotpot. You might find it on a pub menu occasionally, but I have doubts. I'm surprised that you feel there is a lack of diversity - I live in a small town and as well as pub grub we have Indian, Chinese, Italian, Vietnamese, and Nepalese food to choose from. And the more expensive restaurants too. Try looking on Trip Advisor for recommendations. Village pubs are usually a good choice, but you need a car to get to them.

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 

      13 months ago from Tennessee

      This sounds delicious. Would I be able to get this dish in a restaurant in England? I have not found much diversity in restaurant fare in the UK. Perhaps I've been eating in the wrong places.

    • Glenis Rix profile imageAUTHOR

      GlenR 

      13 months ago from UK

      Yes, Claire, it is expensive - unless you buy neck of lamb on the bone or scrag end.

    • Claire-louise profile image

      Claire Raymond 

      13 months ago from UK

      Sounds delicious, I love lamb, it is my favourite meat, I just wish it wasn't so expensive!

    • Glenis Rix profile imageAUTHOR

      GlenR 

      13 months ago from UK

      The cooking time will be longer if you use the cheaper, bony cuts for meat - neck or scrag end. I have sometimes cooked these for up to 2.5 hours - until the meat falls away from the bones. When the stew has cooled and you have skimmed off the fat you will then need to allow cooking time for the potato topping - around 40 minutes. Diced leg of lamb takes less time to cook, as does fillet of neck of lamb - they have no bones, much less fat, cook more quickly, and are therefore more expensive. You could perhaps shorten the time that it takes to cook the potatoes by pre-boiling them - which case you would put the dish back into the oven without the lid and cook for a short time until the tops of the potatoes are slightly browned.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      13 months ago from Brazil

      This sounds wonderful. I do have a question. For the cheaper cuts of meat like the neck, you said they produce a lot of fat. If I precook this like you say to remove the fat, how much shorter would my cooking time be? Is that lengthy cooking time more for the potatoes since the meat is cubed?

      Here in my part of Brazil, sometimes what they call 'sheep or lamb' meat is actually goat.

      I am always looking for new ways to make a one pot meal.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      13 months ago from Norfolk, England

      That sounds lovely Glenis. I miss Betty in Coronation Street. She was a great actress, and I loved her. =)

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