I was born and raised in Lancashire (in fact, a bit of family history shows one branch of the family has been in the Preston area since the mid 1700s), so traditional Lancashire Hot Pot is something I was raised on and it always holds a soft spot in my heart. When I used to come home from University it was one of the first dishes my mum would make for me.
With that in mind, I decided to make one and settled on this recipe from James Martin. However, when it came time to actually cook it I realised it would take forever since it’s supposed to simmer for a few hours before you even add the potatoes. Therefore, still craving the taste of my homeland, I decided to wing it.
The other oddity with the recipe as printed on the BBC Food website was that the quantities looked wrong. Simmering something in 100ml of water for 2 hours seems like a recipe for disaster, so I adjusted quantities accordingly. The end list of ingredients was as follows:
- 450g diced lamb
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 beef stock cube
- 1 onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 stick of celery
- 1 tbsp chopped mint
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 500g potatoes
- A few small pieces of butter
I browned the meat in a casserole dish with a bit of olive oil, then added the tomato puree, followed by about 500ml of beef stock made up using a stock cube. I brought this to the boil and simmered, covered, for about 30 minutes before adding the chopped carrot, onion and celery. This was all left to simmer, covered, for another 10-15 minutes before adding the chopped mint and the cornflour which had been mixed with a little water. Finally, slices of potato were put on top and the whole thing went into the oven, spotted with butter on top, for about 30 minutes. The oven was at 180ºC but I cranked it up a bit at the end to try and make the potatoes crispy.
The end result was super tasty and delicious. Maybe not wholly authentic (I don’t recall my mum using celery!) but very nice indeed!