Lamb Hotpot the Way My Mother Made It
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
My mother maintained that middle neck of lamb is the tastiest cut for this recipe. It's an economical cut of meat but the downside is that it produces a lot of fat when cooked. If using this cut I stew the meat for an hour or so and then allow it to cool before proceeding the next stage. The fat will rise to the top of the dish and can be skimmed off. Any bones in the meat will have become detached during the cooking process and can be removed before proceeding further.
Scrag end of neck of lamb is even cheaper but it is very bony.
Fillet of neck of lamb and boned and cubed leg of lamb are more expensive alternatives. They cook more quickly and at a slightly higher temperature and don't need to be pre-cooked. The recipe that follows used cubed leg of Welsh lamb.
Traditional Lancashire Hotpot incorporates lamb's kidneys. My family dislikes them, so I leave them out.
British Cuts of Lamb
Equipment for Cooking Lamb Hotpot
- A non-stick frying pan
- A casserole dish with a tight fitting lid. (I love the 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. Le Creuset
Basic Ingredients of Lamb Hotpot
Ingredients for Four Servings of Lamb Hotpot
- 650g/1.5 lb Potatoes, Sliced and placed in cold water
- 2 Onions, Chopped
- 6-8 Carrots, Sliced
- About 600g/1.25lb Leg of lamb, Diced
- 2 Lamb Stock Cubes, dissolved in water
- 2 tbspn Gravy Granules
- White pepper
- Salt and Black Pepper
- White Pepper
- 1 clove Garlic(optional)
Instructions For Making Lamb Hotpot
- Peel and slice the potatoes. Keep them in cold water until required. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/ 160 degrees fan/ gas mark 4/350 degrees F
- 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 burn.
- 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.
- Place the onions, carrots and around half of the sliced potatoes in the casserole dish and then add the cubed lamb. Add the chopped garlic (if using).
- Stir the gravy granules into the hot stock and then pour enough of the liquid into the casserole dish to just cover the ingredients. Stir well to mix the ingredients.
- Arrange the remaining potatoes in an attractive pattern on top of the meat mixture. Make sure that the meat mixture is completely covered by the potato layer.
- Sprinkle salt and white pepper to taste on the potato topping (I like to use pepper quite generously in this recipe)
- Put the lid on the casserole dish. Place in a pre-heated oven and cook for around one and a half hours. Remove the lid from the dish and continue to cook for a further 30 minutes, until the tops of the potatoes are lightly browned.
© 2017 Glenis Rix