This traditional recipe for a Classic Lancashire Hot Pot pairs tender chunks of stewed lamb with sweet carrots, a rich, thyme-infused gravy and tender, crispy potatoes for the ultimate British comfort dish.
- generous glug light oil
- 300g (10.5 oz) diced stewing lamb
- freshly ground salt and black pepper
- 1 onion
- 1/2 tbsp plain flour
- 400ml (14 oz) chicken or vegetable stock, made from 1/2 a stock cube
- 2 thyme sprigs
- 1 dried bay leaf
- generous shake Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 large carrots (approx. 165g / 5.5 oz)
- 350g (12 oz) fist sized potatoes
- large knob butter or olive oil spray
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees (355F). Heat the oil in a 2 litre shallow casserole dish or a non-stick frying pan over a medium high heat. Season the lamb well and gently brown in the pan. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the onion before adding it to the pan once the lamb has been browned. Add a generous few grinds of salt and reduce the heat to medium. Gently fry for about 10 minutes until the onion is soft and starting to colour; add a little more oil if it feels like the onion is sticking, or a splash of stock if the bottom of the pan looks like it might be about to burn, rather than just brown further.
- Stir in the flour and cook for a further minute before adding half the stock. Use the wooden spoon or spatula to scrape all the browned bits off the bottom of the pan into the sauce before stirring in the rest of the stock, the thyme, bay leaf, a generous shake of Worcestershire Sauce, the carrots, peeled and cut into chunks, and the browned lamb. Season well and bring to the boil. Then, add the lid and transfer to the oven for 30 minutes. Or, transfer the mixture to a baking dish and cover tightly with foil.
- Peel the potatoes and slice them thinly before setting them aside, and melt the butter, if using.
- Remove the lid from the casserole and fish out the thyme sprigs and the bay leaf. Stir, and then top with the potato slices in a spiral pattern before either brushing with the melted butter or spritzing with the oil spray. Season the potatoes with a little salt and much more pepper before returning to the oven, uncovered, for a final 40 minutes.
Melted butter gives the potatoes a better flavour but I find they crisp up better using the oil spray and it is much more convenient!