England is famous for its location-specific dishes. From Eccles cakes to Chelsea buns to Cornish pasties, it seems that everywhere in England has some sort of food associated with it, especially so when it comes to meat pies. Did you know that, according to the Guinness World Records, the most expensive meat pie in the world comes from Lancashire, England? Thankfully, the traditional way of making Lancashire hotpot, a specific type of potato-topped pie, is more affordable, and Tasting Table recipe developer Jennine Rye shares her fail-safe recipe for this hearty Northern English favorite.
The traditional meat for Lancashire hotpot is lamb, and while it may be a more expensive protein than chicken or beef, this dish uses lesser prized and often cheaper cuts of lamb. That's because the recipe calls for the meat to be stewed for a long time, which allows for the connective tissues in these tougher cuts of meat to break down, making the lamb mouthwateringly rich and tender. With its warming gravy and crispy potato lid, Lancashire hotpot — like many British comfort foods — will put the heat back in your bones on a long winter's night, and because it contains meat, potatoes and veg, it serves very nicely as an all-in-one meal. So why not put on your clogs and your flat cap and give this Lancashire hotpot a try?
Gather The Ingredients For This Hearty Lancashire Hotpot Recipe
To begin this recipe for hearty Lancashire hotpot, you will need to gather the ingredients. First, you want to source the lamb. There are a couple of lamb cuts you can choose for this recipe. Shoulder, thigh, or neck will all work nicely — just make sure the meat is nice and fatty with plenty of connective tissue. Thanks to the stewing process, these will add flavor and tenderness to the dish. To increase the rich, gamey flavor of the hotpot, you will also want lamb liver (or kidneys if you prefer).
You'll also need cooking oil, an onion, and some carrots. For the gravy, you'll want stock, fresh thyme, a bay leaf, and some Worcestershire sauce, as well as flour to thicken it. Lastly, you'll need potatoes for the top, as well as some butter to make them golden and crispy.
Brown The Lamb
The first step is to brown the lamb. Rather than adding the meat straight into the stock to cook, you'll want to fry the meat separately first. This is to allow a process called the Maillard reaction to take place, altering the proteins of the meat and helping to release the deliciously rich and caramelized umami flavors of the lamb, making the resulting dish super tasty.
This recipe also calls for lamb liver, which you'll brown the same way as the rest of the meat. An inexpensive, protein-rich, and powerfully flavored cut of meat, lamb liver is a wonderful ingredient addition in this dish. However, if you don't enjoy the flavor of liver or can't get ahold of any, feel free to just substitute this ingredient for a little more lamb stew meat.
Make The Stew
Next up, it's time to assemble the ingredients of the stew. Remove the lamb from the pan, then add in the veggies and sauté them for a few minutes. Once they take on some color, return the lamb to the pan and stir in the flour — this will serve to thicken the resulting stew. Add in the bay leaf and the fresh thyme before pouring in the stock and Worcestershire sauce. Give the ingredients in the pan a stir, then put the lid on the pan and leave the stew to simmer for roughly 20 minutes.
Top With Potatoes
While the stew is happily simmering away, it is time to turn your attention to the potatoes. Start by peeling them, then slice them into thin discs. You can use a knife for this, although a mandolin will make the job far quicker and give you a uniformity of thickness that would make a professional chef proud. Whichever method you choose, once the potatoes are sliced it's time to layer them on top of the lamb stew in an overlapping pattern to create a "lid." There are a variety of ways to do this; some swear by adding a layer of potatoes to the bottom of the cooking pot before putting the meat on top and adding a second layer of potatoes on top, or you may choose to stick to just one layer on the top.
Bake The Lancashire Hotpot
Brush the potato topping liberally with melted butter and then bake the hotpot in the oven for 1 ½ hours. The idea is to cook it slowly over a long period of time to allow the flavors time to infuse and the lamb to tenderize. In order to prevent the potatoes from browning too soon while everything cooks, keep the whole thing covered for the first hour. Then, remove the lid and cook for a further 30 minutes to let the potatoes get lovely and brown.
This hearty Lancashire hotpot can be served as a standalone meal, or you can make a simple side of peas or broccoli to add an element of freshness to this comforting English classic. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge, and use within 3 days.
Hearty Lancashire Hotpot Recipe
Prep Time: 10mCook Time: 2h 10mYield: 6 servingsIngredients
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 pounds lamb thigh, neck, or shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
½ cup cubed lamb liver
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 large onion, chopped into segments
2 large carrots, chopped into chunks
1 tablespoon flour
1 bay leaf
4 stalks fresh thyme, plus more if desired
2 cups chicken or lamb stock
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ pounds potatoes, peeled thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Heat up a large, deep skillet with a lid to medium-high heat and add the cooking oil.
Place the chopped lamb in the hot pan, season well with salt and pepper, and fry for 5-6 minutes until well browned. This may need to be done in batches. Remove the browned lamb and set aside.
Repeat this process with the lamb liver, setting aside once browned.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the chopped onion to the pan and sauté for 3-4 minutes.
Add the carrots to the pan, along with the browned lamb and lamb liver.
Mix in the flour, then stir in the bay leaf, fresh thyme, stock, and Worcestershire sauce. Allow the mixture to simmer, lid on, for 20 minutes.
Remove the lamb mixture from the heat source and carefully layer the thin slices of potato over the top, making sure to overlap them so the meat stew is completely covered.
Brush the potato topping with butter, sprinkle with a little more thyme if desired, and season well with salt and pepper.
Cook in the oven for 1 hour with the lid on, then remove the lid and cook for another 30 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through and beginning to turn golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and serve hot.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.