Lancashire Hotpot

Betty Driver died last month. I’d love to know what made Betty’s hotpot so fantastic, but it seems the closest I can find to an “official” recipe is this one from the Coronation Street blog. Betty Driver herself was actually a vegetarian though, so she may have been more likely to enjoy this vegan recipe instead.

Neither of these will do for me though. Ideally, for true historical accuracy, I’d put oysters in mine – hotpot is proper pauper food, as most of my favourites are, and once upon a time oysters were not the luxury delicacy they are these days – they were plentiful and cheap. I also wouldn’t dice the meat… but hey.

This is how I make it….

Ingredients

Two nice big lamb leg steaks. The ones I prefer are really big, and have the bone in. Dice them.
Two lambs kidneys, core removed, diced
A small horseshoe of black pudding – I guess a bit bigger than a big fat fist
An onion, chopped
Two big potatoes, peeled, and sliced very thinly
Stock, Worcestershire sauce, oil, flour, bay leaves, thyme, pepper, butter.

Method

Right. Put the oven on (180 degrees C) and butter your oven dish. My dish is, what, ten inches wide, 5 inches tall? A bit bigger? Use about a third of your sliced potatoes to line the bottom of the dish. This is a layery dish. Please try to remember to season each layer as you go because I won’t tell you to. I just use freshly ground black pepper.

Olive oil in a saucepan – brown the lamb and the kidney. When you’re happy with the brownness, take all the meat out, leaving the remaining oil and meat juice in the pan. Put the onions in, and fry off until softened. When nicely softened, stir in a tablespoon (not too heaped) of flour. Before it starts burning, pour in the stock (about 3/4 of a pint, I use chicken or veg, but lamb would be more sensible) and add bay leaves & a bit of thyme. Glug in a good old glug of Worcestershire sauce. Give it a stir & leave it bubbling away.

Layer in the oven dish about half the browned meat, and half the sliced black pudding. When you think the onion stock mix has bubbled away enough, pour half of it on top. The next layer is another third of potatoes, then the rest of the meat, then the rest of the black pudding, then the last of the liquid, followed by the last of the potatoes. Dot with butter. Grind some pepper over it.

Cover the pan and bung in the oven for about half an hour (20 mins is ok, more is better). Then take the lid off and leave it for another 20 mins or more. Until the potatoes on top look like you want them to look, basically.

Then, eat!

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