Hot Pot: as Cheap and Easy as You Like

Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 2 hours 30 min
Ready in: 3 hours
Yields: Serves three to four people

Hot Pot is a convenient, nutritious one pot meal that allows you to use ingredients you have at hand or whatever takes your fancy. Vary it as you like, and make it as cheap and easy as you like!

How much time and money you spend preparing a hot pot depends on the meat and vegetables you use. Ideal are red stewing meats of pork, beef or lamb (of which traditional Lancashire hot pot is made), or any cheap cut that tends to be tough—slow cooking gives a tender and succulent texture.

Use any vegetables you have at hand, or what's in season or going cheap.

I've used carrots, peas, green beans and celeriac (also called celery root or bulb).

For meat, I found some pork escalopes on offer at my local supermarket. They need a good hammering with a mallet if used for fried, breaded escalopes, but this isn't necessary if putting into a hot pot.

There are no strict rules on what to put in, but I've given a list of ingredients as a general guideline. Adjust freely according to taste—you might prefer more meat than vegetables, for example. Salt and pepper suffice as seasoning, but I've added fresh parsley and thyme that were left over from a meal I made a couple of days earlier. The garlic and Worcestershire sauce can be left out, but always include onion to enhance flavor.

This recipe cooks the ingredients in their natural juices, but I've given instructions at the end in case you'd like to cook in sauce.

The quantities given serve three to four people and fit into a 1.7 liter (3 pint) ovenproof dish.

Ingredients

  • 15g (1/2 oz) fat (lard or dripping)
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Approx. 300g (3/4 lb) mixed vegetables, sliced or chopped
  • 200g (1/2 lb) meat, cubed
  • Fresh herbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 5 medium potatoes, sliced

Instructions

1. Heat the fat in a deep pan over a medium flame.

2. Throw in the onion, garlic, vegetables, meat and herbs, and toss quickly until the meat is very lightly browned.

3. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add Worcestershire sauce.

Tossing meat and vegetables in fat.
Tossing meat and vegetables in fat.

4. Put the meat and vegetable mixture aside and peel and slice the potatoes.

Peeled and sliced potatoes.
Peeled and sliced potatoes.

5. Spread a layer of the meat and vegetable mixture over the bottom of an ovenproof dish and top with a layer of sliced potatoes. Keep layering, finishing off with potatoes. Sprinkle each potato layer with salt and pepper to taste.

Adding a layer of the meat and vegetable mixture.
Adding a layer of the meat and vegetable mixture.

6. Brush the top layer of potatoes with melted fat.

Brushing with melted fat.
Brushing with melted fat.

7. Cover the dish and place in a slow oven, 150 C (300 F, Gas Mark 2), for 2 hours and 20 minutes.

8. Remove the lid and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes so the potatoes are crisp. Alternatively, finish under the grill.

Cook uncovered for a further ten minutes so the potatoes are crisp.
Cook uncovered for a further ten minutes so the potatoes are crisp.

To Cook in Sauce

If you'd prefer a sauce rather than only the juices, do the following:

  • Add 15g (1/2 oz) flour after frying the ingredients in step 2.
  • Over a medium flame, keep stirring for about three minutes, then add 200ml (a little less than 1/2 pint) stock and continue to stir until it thickens. If using instant stock, omit salt in step 3 and only salt the top layer of potatoes.

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All images by Camlo De Ville

© 2015 Camlo De Ville

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Comments 4 comments

Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 14 months ago from Minnesota

Sounds delicious Camlo. Thanks for sharing this easy recipe that I could throw together for a great dinner.


camlo profile image

camlo 14 months ago from Cologne, Germany Author

Thank you, Minetonka Twin! Yes, although it takes a while to cook, it is very easy to prepare and, unless you memorize what you put in last time, never tastes the same twice.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 14 months ago from Minnesota

I've always been one of those cooks that likes to change things up. I have no problem with it never tasting the same. Thanks again for a great dinner idea.


camlo profile image

camlo 14 months ago from Cologne, Germany Author

I'm the same, Minnetonka Twin.

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    camlo profile image

    Camlo De Ville (camlo)254 Followers
    11 Articles

    Camlo began his career in the hospitality industry acquiring culinary skills in the kitchen, which he now puts to good use in home cookery.



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