Lancashire Hot Pot

One of the best-known traditional dishes of northern England, Lancashire Hot Pot has been made all over the country since the nineteenth century, although sometimes it bears little relation to the original dish. It has always been made with chops from the best end of the neck of mutton or lamb. If beef or pork is used it is not a Lancashire Hot Pot, no matter what the cook or menu may state.

The recipe that follows is very good. An oyster for each person was sometimes put under the potato layer, or sometimes, in their season, mushrooms. You will require a large, deep casserole with a lid (a hot pot) for this dish.

Ingredients

  • 8 lamb chops from the best end of neck
  • ¾ stick (90 g) butter
  • A bunch of herbs including parsley, thyme, a sprig of sage and a bay leaf
  • 8 medium onions, chopped
  • 8 carrots, peeled and sliced in rounds
  • 2 lb (1 kg) potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
  • cup (45 g) flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper

Method

Brown the chops on both sides in about two-thirds of the butter. Put the remaining butter in the bottom of the casserole in a lump, with the bunch of herbs resting on it. Stand the browned chops on their heads — that is, thick ends downwards — on the butter and herbs. The ends of the bones should stand just below the top of the pot. Brown the onions and carrots in the butter remaining in the frying-pan and pack among the chops.

Stir the flour into the fat remaining in, the frying-pan to make a roux. Stir in cups (9 dl) of water and bring to the boil. Season well, add the sugar and pour into the casserole — the liquid should come almost to the top of the chop bones.

Arrange the potato slices over the bone ends and resting on the other vegetables. The slices should overlap like roof slates. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Cover the casserole and put it in a medium oven, 350°F (180°C, Gas Mark 4), for 2 hrs. Raise the oven setting to 400°F (200°C, Gas Mark 6) and take the lid off the casserole for 15 minutes, so that the potatoes may brown.