Lancashire Hot Pot

Friday 17 July 2009

Lancashire hotpot is a culinary dish consisting essentially of meat, onion and potatoes left to bake in the oven all day in a heavy pot and on a low heat. Originating in the days of heavy industrialisation in Lancashire in the north west of England, it requires a minimum of effort to prepare. It is sometimes served at parties because, not only is it easy to prepare for a large number of people, it is also relatively inexpensive.

There are many regional variations, and it is frequently found listed amongst the usual pub grub dishes in various hostelries around Britain. The basic recipe consists of a mix made up of meat and vegetables (carrot, turnip, potatoes, onions or leek) which are then covered with a buttery thatch of sliced potato or pastry. (Don't you just love the idea of a "thatched" roof of potato covering the top?)The type of meat to be used in a true Lancashire hotpot is a matter of some controversy, with many being of the opinion that it should be lamb (with optional lamb kidneys) and some thinking it should be beef. As much food can be added as will fit in the pot.

Flavour can be enhanced with seasoning; salt and pepper would be the most traditional, and any other ingredients available in the kitchen. Some stock is usually added to cover the contents while it cooks to help keep them moist and aid in the tenderizing, although some recipes rely on a well sealed pot on a low heat to retain enough moisture within the meat, onion and potatoes.

The hot pot referred to is a brown pottery dish with straight sides used to cook casseroles in British cuisine. The basic recipe formerly included oysters at one point, when they used to be more affordable, but more often than not nowadays they are left out. (Good thing too because I am not overly fond of the little boogers, ooops I mean buggers!)

Can you believe that in all the seven and a half years I have been over here I had yet to experience this culinary delight until yesterday when I baked my very own hot pot for the first time???? Neither can I, but I can tell you this, it won't be another seven and a half years before I bake another one. It was absolutely delicious! I now know why people line up at the bar at the Rover's Return to sample this Lancashire piece of golden cuisine!

*Lancashire Hot Pot*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

I guess you could call this the English version of Irish stew. One pot cooking of the most delicious persuasion.

1 TBS olive oil
750g diced lamb
2 onions, peeled and sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunky pieces
1/2 medium swede (rutabaga) peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
500ml lamb stock
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
750g of potatoes, peeled and cut into thin slices
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 160*C/350*F. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the meat in batches and fry it until browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon to a large casserole dish (one with a lid) as it browns. Set aside.

Once all the meat it browned and removed from the skillet add the vegetables to the pan. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring them occasionally. Return the lamb to the skillet and pour over the stock. Add the Worchestershire sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix it all in well and then carefully pour the mixture back into the casserole dish. Tuck the two sprigs of thyme into the mixture, burying it.

Cover the top of the mixture with a layer of half of the sliced potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and then dot with butter. Finish layering with the remaining potatoes and adding a final dusting of salt and pepper and dot once again with some butter. Put the lid on.

Bake in the heated oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the lid and bake for a further hour until the meat is very tender and the "thatch" is nicely browned in places and tender as well. Serve hot spooned out onto hot plates along with seasonal green vegetables on the side and plenty of crusty bread and butter to mop up the delicious juices.


  1. Lancashire hotpot is soooo good! I made it for the first time last year.
    Yours looks lovely Marie!

  2. Wish i could have some of the hot pot dish now! I love the English cottage picture too! Your blog gives me a warm, fuzzy & cosy feeling :D

  3. Great grub for these icy cold nights Marie! My Mum used to do this with lamb shoulder chops & was delish. I can't believe you've waited so long to make one, most unlike you. And yes, we used to get CS years ago here on the telly Down Under & really enjoyed it. Haven't seen it for years though, so thanks for the memories.
    Millie ^_^

  4. Not only is Hotpot the most popular thing on the Rovers' menu, it's the ONLY thing! So it seems anyway; nobody seems to eat anything else. The amount of the stuff they seem to get through, I'm surprised poor old Betty has time for barmaiding!

    We are only now getting over the effects of me practising this dish in the late 90's. I cooked it for my final assessment but, wanting it to be right, poor Keith had to eat it rather often!

    I was always told you have to use best end neck of lamb but I can't imagine a more greasy and horrid cut. I prefer shoulder lamb, trimmed of fat and cut in big chhunks.

    love, Angie, xx

  5. Marie I love all your post, I learn a lot! really I love the pot too! and thanks by the recipe, is lovely, xoxoxoxo Gloria
    Love ya!!

  6. sorry have to comment on Coronation Street not the hot pot, i spent alot of time in cornwall with a 93 yr old woman and i got totally addicted to Coronation Street!!! im so jealous you can see it in canada and not here.
    best to you

  7. Wallace & Gromit are also fans of Lancashire Hot Pot! Along with a good dose of Wensleydale & crackers of course... Will have to try them all some day. BTW, I have a hot pot very similar to the beflowered/beleaved one you've got pictured. Sadly, it's not of much use for cooking, being only half an inch high ;)

  8. Glad I found this recipe. My mother was born and raised in England and was quite the fan of Cornation Street,( now I know where I get it from) and is no longer with us so I can't get the recipe from her. So glad I found you on line.

  9. I heard about Lancashire Hotpot from Wallace and Gromit. I was curious so I looked it up. I am glad I did. Thanks, Sharon


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