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21 Mar 2008

Lancashire Hot Pot

Lamb is a spring meat, to be sure, and if you use new carrots, new potatoes and new onions in this recipe, the whole dish is a delicious homage to the fresh first growth of the season. This is an old recipe from the 100% English [Howard] side of my family, passed down to me. It sounds a bit bland, but it holds rich depths of flavour. The browning of the ingredients in the butter is the trick there—a bit time consuming, but utterly essential. Don’t substitute vegetable oil!

This recipe comes without specific measurements, but, it doesn’t really need specific measurements. The old recipes are great this way, aren’t they? You can use pork instead of lamb as the seasons change from Spring to Autumn…

Lamb Chops – at least one each
Carrots – at least one per two chops – sliced in rings
Potatoes – one per chop, more or less – sliced thinly
Onions – at least one – chopped or sliced
Butter – small amount to brown and fry with
Paprika – to sprinkle on top
Salt and pepper to taste
Water

Brown chops in a pan. Place in a casserole dish. Brown onions, place on chops. Fry carrots, add to casserole dish. Add enough water to cover chops, not more than ½ way up casserole dish. Salt and pepper to taste. Arrange sliced potatoes on top. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 350 for 1½ hours with lid on, and ½ hour with lid off.

Recipe thanks to Juleigh Howard-Hobson

    3 comments to Lancashire Hot Pot

    • Birka

      I was so excited when I saw that someone had posted a recipe for Lancashire hotpot because it’s not often people outside Lancashire cook this. I’m a Lancashire lass and know this dish well and to be honest, I think that although it was passed down to you, there’s been quite a lot of adaptation to the recipe because it’s not traditional.

      First of all, it was a poor man’s dish and lamb chops were way too expensive and delicate for poor people to afford. It was typically made with mutton (which is why it traditionally needed a long time to cook), potatoes,carrots, onions and sometimes turnip and leek. It was all down to personal taste and what was in the pantry. Then there was a preference for a pastry crust on top (added and baked on after the mutton and other ingredients were tender) and it was served with red cabbage. Potato topping is also good but the best ones have crust ;).

      For extra flavour, they used to add oysters to the sauce because oysters used to be cheap enough in Lancashire that poor people could eat them regularly and they were a popular dish. They used to have oyster houses where they would go and eat oyster dishes.

      And there really wasn’t any paprika. I’m 29 and I can remember the first time paprika came into our supermarket as a kid!!! LOL.

    • Juleigh Howard Hobson

      Hello!

      Thank you so much for your observations. There are indeed an awful lot of variations with these old family recipes. Some Lancashire Hot Pot recipes include kidneys, as well as lamb, while others call for mutton. I ate a lovely version in Australia once, made with pork chops(ironic as Australian lamb is so plentiful).
      This old recipe, sprinkle of paprika and all, comes from my family and this is how they’ve always made it — I think it makes a splendid Lancashire Hot Pot and I do hope you try it.

    • Birka

      Thank you for your reply Juleigh. I’ve only just seen it. I’m afraid I’m going to have to be a purist here and say that if it isn’t made the real, old way, it’s not a real Lancashire hotpot. I’m a Lancashire native, I’m not budging on this :P.

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