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How to make Lancashire Hotpot.
I much prefer mutton rather than lamb for this recipe, but it is more difficult to get hold of these days, however, if you know a good butcher then he should be able to get you some. If not then lamb will do, but for goodness sake go to a proper butcher don’t buy the rubbish that supermarkets offer.
A tip for tastier onions is to drop them in a hot dry pan or wok and let them sweat with a little salt until they become transparent.
Season your oil before sealing the meat by frying your onions chopped very fine with the garlic and ginger in the oil until the onions are golden brown, don’t rush this, then put them aside.
Make a marinate for the lamb by mixing yogurt, fresh or dried mint, salt and garlic. Let it rest in the fridge for at least a couple of hours. Overnight is ideal, but what the heck.
Using the same pan raise the heat and cook the lamb in the seasoned oil until totally sealed.
For a real taste kicker add sliced black pudding remove the skin and line the bottom of your dish with the slices.
Mix the onions, garlic and ginger back into the meat and add a little water and bring to boil for a few minutes; now transfer to a stew pot or casserole dish and cover with a layer of sliced carrot, and the whole potatoes then boil ½ a pint of water pour over the top, add the lid pop in a preheated hot oven [gas mark7] 425ºf or 220ºc for about an hour.
Put your feet up and have a nice chilled something from the fridge until it’s time to remove the lid to brown the potatoes, this should take another 30 minutes or so. A simple dish that is really satisfying and well received.
Thoughts from the chef
I learned to cook back in the 60's camping with the boy scouts. Because I could cook a little bit I was always assigned as chef. I didn't mind because that meant I didn't have to do any washing up. My most popular dish was 'Twisters', a sticky dough made from self raising flour, lots of salt and water and milk. This was twisted around a branch, sometimes we cleaned them but not often, the sticks were stuck in the ground around the fire and baked until they were a deep golden colour; real comfort food.
Our scouter was a great guy and sometimes used to take his air-rifle with him to camp and we would go lamping for rabbits. Because my family had a greengrocers which sold game I was the only one who knew how to skin a rabbit. The lads all loved rabbit stew and we would sit around the camp fire late into the night and after our meal we would sing and perform. I loved it as the sparks floated up into the sky, like dreams they disappeared into the dark. I used to be pretty good at telling jokes which came in handy years later when I was touring as an entertainer.
Lancashire Hot Pot has a long history and is a very tradition meal in rural Lancashire. SO traditionally ale or mead would be drunk with it however, you might like to try a full bodied red with it something such as Rioja or a Chianti. A good strong brew of tea to finish is a good idea.