Comfort food with an English accent: Lancashire Hotpot
This take on Lancashire hotpot – traditional English food at its most comforting – is made with lamb, onions and carrots topped with sliced potatoes and baked until fork tender.
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Serves 3 to 4 (see Kitchen Notes)
Terry Boyd is the author of Blue Kitchen, a Chicago-based food blog for home cooks. His simple, eclectic cooking focuses on fresh ingredients, big flavors and a cheerful willingness to borrow ideas and techniques from all over the world. A frequent contributor to the Chicago Sun-Times, his recipes have also appeared on the Bon Appétit and Saveur websites.
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2 large potatoes, Yukon Golds or russets
1 pound lamb stew, cut into bite-sized chunks
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 strips bacon cut crosswise into matchsticks
2 cups sliced onions, about 2 medium
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced on an angle
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 cup water
about 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
chopped Italian parsley for garnish
Special equipment: 3-quart lidded casserole (see Kitchen Notes)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Peel the potatoes and slice them into rounds, 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick. Place in a bowl of cold water and set aside. Season lamb with salt and pepper and brown in a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat, 6 to 8 minutes. Don’t crowd the lamb; brown in batches, if necessary. Using a slotted spoon, transfer lamb to a bowl.
Reduce heat to medium under skillet and add bacon, onions and carrots, tossing to combine and coat. Drizzle in a little more oil if needed, to keep onions from sticking or burning. Sauté, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or so, until onions are soft and just starting to brown. Add garlic and thyme to pan, stirring to combine, and sauté until just fragrant, about 45 seconds. Return lamb to pan, along with any accumulated juices, and stir to combine.
Transfer lamb mixture to casserole and add 1 cup of water. Tuck bay leaves into the mixture. Drain the potato rounds and arrange on top of the lamb, overlapping slightly. If you have more potato rounds than surface area to cover, tuck the less perfect rounds under the top layer. Carefully pour broth over potatoes until the liquid in the casserole is just below the potatoes. I used about 1 cup. Season potatoes with salt and pepper, cover the casserole and place on middle rack in oven.
Bake hotpot for 1 hour. Check to make sure the liquid hasn’t cooked away, then bake, covered, for another 15 minutes. Increase heat to 450 degrees F. and uncover casserole. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges of the potatoes begin to brown. Remove from oven and let rest uncovered for a few minutes (the liquid will be bubbling when it comes from the oven – let that calm down before serving).
To serve, spoon potato rounds into shallow bowls, pushing to one side of the bowls. Spoon lamb mixture next to potatoes, along with some of the pan juices. Devour.
Three servings? Four? This recipe will generously serve three on its own. Together, Marion and I ate a little more than half of it, and although we greedily wanted more, we couldn’t eat another bite. If you serve it with a salad and a rustic crusty bread, you should be able to get four servings out of it. Let your appetites be your guide.
Casserole dishes. These vary quite a bit in size and shape. For this recipe, an oval casserole that is reasonably deep is ideal. You don’t want the lamb mixture spread too thin over the bottom of a wide, shallow casserole, or it will dry out. A smallish Staub La Cocotte or Le Creuset French Oven would work as well.
Related post: Roast chicken with root vegetables
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